Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gold Stars for My Dad

My mom and I had a conference at the nursing home on Monday. I've never been to one of these before; we get together with all of the different people who work with him, in various capacities, and they give us an update on how he's doing. The occupational therapist started. She talked about how my dad could do things like dress himself, brush his teeth, and other daily activities, but that he needed a lot of prompting, and that he has problems with being very distracted as well.

The physical therapist has been working with him every day, and believes he is getting stronger physical, but his mental decline has contributed to physical problems sometimes. He has strength and flexibility, but between some of the Parkinsons symptoms and dementia, he doesn't always remember the sequences in which he should do things. It was pretty much the same all around the board; the general consensus was that my mom could take him home, if she wanted to, but that he would need constant supervision.

Before his first hospitalization, in late August, he was dressing himself, and doing most things for himself, even though it took a lot of time. That has changed.

Then, the dietician and others spoke. They said he has adjusted well to living there. He doesn't ask when he will go home. He sleeps well at night. He works hard at his physical therapy. He's pleasant and social; he doesn't spend much time in his room. They enjoy working with him; he tells jokes and speaks in various brogues. He likes music and watching TV and gets along well with his roommate. He has lots of gold stars for good behavior.

My mom told me that the last time she had him home, he tried to show her that he could do things himself so that he could live at home. That was one of the times he fell.

He seemed glad to see me, and remembered my name. We talked for a little while, and then he needed to go to physical therapy.

One of the aides is a man from Sierra Leone. He says he hasn't seen his family in ten years.

His name is Emmanuel.


PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I've sometimes found the assessments about my mom with the therapists a bit optimistic. They don't know the home situations and they don't know much about the caretaker situation. 24/7 would be a big thing for your mom, so her health and strength and support has to be considered. Can paid people come in to help? Have you contacted Lutheran Social Services? They have some people that give advice and line up volunteers.

My mom knew that she couldn't be in her home again due to the layout, and she knew that she didn't have someone to be there with her, so we didn't have to fight on that issue. But I did have to tell the hospital therapists, right after her stroke, "Please quit saying, 'when you go home...'." It just wasn't realistic.

Jennifer said...

Oh, Diane. These are hard consultations.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

Emmanuel... mmmmm... God is with your dad. your mom. and you too my friend.

Rev SS said...


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Lauralew said...

Emmanuel--wow. What a promise to your father.