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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Life At The Nursing Home

My father-in-law, Pawpaw to his grandchildren, is doing much better at the nursing home. Now that the methadone is out of his system, he has many more lucid moments which sometimes stretch into hours. The first few days at the nursing home, he was in a continual hallucination or daydream where he thought he was building a house with his friend Dossie. He was having a terrible time getting a wall up and wanted us to help him lift that wall for several days. Eventually, he knew he was at the nursing home, and that "his helpers" were nurses and aids.

He had some stubborn moments with them when he refused to get dressed, or undressed, when asked because he didn't want to be told what to do. Today, he confided to Hubby that little boys were stealing his hearing aids, and sometimes they came in and took them right out of his ears while he was sleeping. Then he said that the little boys came in the next morning and tried to get money for the hearing aids but he wouldn't give them any. He was quite proud of getting his hearing aids back without succumbing to their extortion.

For awhile, he thought physical therapy was where he went to school, but now it's his job. Which it is, in a way. He was glad to have a break from it today, and admitted that he often loses track of days. He was having an especially lucid day today and had a frank conversation with Hubby saying he can't follow a baseball game anymore or most things on tv. He tires quickly but today they played dominoes for an hour before he began getting tired.

Hubby wanted to check Pawpaw's supply of ice cream bars in the community refrigerator/freezer and found another man in the room, making a sandwich. The man struck up a conversation and asked if Hubby's father was there. When Hubby answered yes, the man asked if Pawpaw had gone fishing with them. Hubby smiled patiently and assumed the man wasn't quite there. But then the man went on to say that the director of recreation scheduled several fishing trips every year and the next one is Friday. So it wasn't an imaginary trip after all.

Pawpaw is doing much better with physical therapy and the therapist told mother-in-law (Deedee to her grandchildren) that he should be able to get out of bed and dress himself by the time he leaves there. So they are expecting him to move back home or into an assisted living center. Deedee is in a tizzy about that. She doesn't think she can handle him by herself, but she doesn't want to be the one to make the decision for him to stay at the nursing home. She hasn't wanted to make any decisions since he first had the stroke, so that's no big surprise, but it's my opinion that she wants to be able to put the blame on someone else when Pawpaw hears that he is staying at the nursing home or going to an assisted living center. Another option she can't seem to grasp is that they could have home health care.

In case you are wondering why I didn't go to the nursing home also, it's because the shingles is back. I felt tingling on both sides of my face Thursday; it was worse Friday, so I went back to the doctor. I started a new course of antiviral medication and once again the doctor said that we caught it early and it shouldn't progress. It hasn't gotten much worse today, but there are a couple of bumps forming and the tingling has continued on the right side (where it was before) but has stopped on my left side.

So there's your update kids. Come visit Pawpaw when you can.



  1. So glad to hear FIL is doing so much better! Also glad to hear you're doing better. (Sorry the shingles are back but happy you figured it out early enough to keep them in check :-) Thanks so much for the update and keep moving forward...


  2. I found your blog through a comment on Funky Junk. I am glad you are sharing your nursing home experiences. We placed my mother in a facility when we found out she and my brother living with her had been keeping her deteriorating health from the rest of the family. (Oh of course there is more to the story) The positive side is now I am allowed to visit her. The worst side is she would be so much better if she had gotten help sooner.
    It has been 60 days now and she does not ask daily "when am I going home."
    I appreciate your sharing your experience.


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