Feb. 7, 2016 By Jack Jodell.
Hello, everybody! It has been quite a long time since I posted regularly here. My former PC (a Dell) developed some problems which made it unusable, so I was forced to suspend this blog for far longer than I would have preferred. I grew very weary of trying to fix my computer over the phone – somehow, I always got a bad connection or had a terrible time trying to understand the voices I got on the other end of the line. Most were from India or the Philippines, and, while I am certain they were all well-qualified and were very helpful, I finally said “F— it” and decided to buy my first Apple. “Apple Care” is a marvelous network of LOCAL, unaccented English-speakers who really know their stuff and are easy to understand. As the now very delighted owner of a new Apple iMac, I can take great solace in the knowledge that these computers are almost immune to the plethora of viruses and malware which often plague so many pcs. Whereas my previous Dell pcs averaged a lifespan of only 4 years or so, the Apple users I have spoken with have gotten considerably greater longevity out of their units, so I have now ditched pcs for good and am looking forward to many years of uninterrupted service from this iMac.
Last fall, at about the same time my computer went on the fritz, my 93 year old father began to gradually grow weaker. He began to fall a lot and, one night, became very confused and delusional. He began to see people who weren’t there and hear things when no sound was evident. He had a particularly bad night where he was talking to nobody and carrying on crazy, nonsensical conversations. When morning came, he fell getting out of bed, so I decided to call for paramedics. They got him into a chair, and, since he was babbling incoherently, we decided to send him to the hospital. He had never manifested any signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, so we were alarmed at this sudden descent into fantasy.
At the hospital, they ran a full battery of tests on him. His blood pressure, lungs, blood oxygen, and heart all checked out fine, and a CAT scan revealed no signs of internal bleeding or stroke, although they suspected he may have had a series of very small strokes (called TIAs) which could account for his delusion and confusion. They kept him overnight and in the morning his mental state improved. Because he was so weak, was a fall risk, and had great difficulty walking, it was decided to move him to a nearby rehabilitation center for some physical, occupational, and mental therapy. So, on October 2, we moved him into that facility. There he stayed until October 31, when he was finally discharged. In the interim, I decided to move his bed into a different room – one adjacent to the bathroom. So, I emptied out his new bedroom (a room which had been used for many years for storage). I also arranged for it and the bathroom hallway as well as the nearby living room to be completely re-carpeted. It was a mammoth and exhausting undertaking to move around so much furniture and clothing, but in the end it was well worth it. When he came home, he was in a much better, more alert frame of mind, and was very happy to see the changes which had been wrought. We even got him a brand new, 60 inch Ultra High Definition Samsung TV, which he is enjoying right now as I write, In recent years, his vision has become a bit blurry and his hearing has gotten worse, so we made a conscious effort to upgrade his TV to the very best and affordable one we could get. In 1989, we had helped he and my now-deceased mother get a very good, top-of-the-line RCA 27 inch console model, which served faithfully without repair right up until we traded it in for his new 60 inch. We are glad that in his final remaining years he has something he can really enjoy.
Sad to say, we have seen a marked decline in his health over the past 3 years or so. He is still mentally sharp and can recall many things from his past, but he has grown noticeably weaker. For many years, he moonlighted doing interior and exterior painting, staining, and wallpapering, and was easily able to climb up and down ladders until his early 70s. Today, however, he has difficulty walking even with a walker, and continues to be a bit of a fall risk. He lives with myself and my younger brother, and we help him get through each day. We make sure he is always secured with a nylon gripping belt so we can walk with him and prevent a fall.
Each morning, I get him out of bed, feed him several sips of fruit juice, and then walk him to the bathroom, fastening and gripping the nylon grip-belt beforehand. There I remove his Depends diaper which I put him into the previous night before bed (he has been incontinent for several years now). I wait for him to piddle and/or poop. When he’s through, I clean up his frontside and his backside with a washcloth, and then dry him off with a towel. Then he stands before the bathroom sink and washes his face and combs his hair. Then, he shaves. After that, I guide him back to his room, where I and he begin dressing him. He is fairly good at getting dressed, and needs only a little guidance, particularly with getting sweaters and socks on. It does take him quite awhile, though. Once dressed, I walk him out to the kitchen, where I prepare and feed him fresh fruit, V8 vegetable juice, and hot coffee to go with either hot oatmeal or sausage or bacon with eggs. Because he is often rather shaky, sometimes I must spoon-feed him his breakfast or he’ll end up spilling a large portion of it. After breakfast, I give him his eyedrops and morning meds. The entire out-of-bed-through-breakfast process takes anywhere from 40-60 minutes.Then he’ll glance through the newspaper for a time and nap. I use this time to steal away and watch Amy Goodman, Stephanie Miller, and/or Thom Hartmann on Free Speech TV. Twice a week we have an outside home health care aide over to walk him back to the bathroom for a shower and shampoo. While they’re doing that, I will often take his soiled clothes and launder and dry them. About an hour after lunch, I spend about 40-50 minutes with him doing exercises like walking him around, having him go up and down 4 steps several times in succession, and so forth. This tends to tire him out, so he’ll often nap again. I will once more use this time to watch Free Speech TV. At supper time, I will either fix him something (Dinty Moore beef stew; Boston Market frozen, microwaveable dinners; and SeaPak shrimp scampi with jasmine rice are a few favorites), or sometimes we order chow mien, pasta salad, broasted chicken with potato skins, or pizza for delivery. And, of course, on average once a week or so, we’ll go out to eat. After supper, he usually likes to watch his TV (either Turner Classic Movies, old war documentaries, old westerns, or gangster shows are his mainstays), and, often before the news at 10 PM we will do another 15-20 minutes or so of exercises. After the news, he is usually pretty tired so we end up back in the bathroom, where either I or my brother get him toiletted, cleaned up again, re-diapered, and tucked into bed. This last process takes approximately 15-20 minutes, after which I have time to myself for TV or blogging. That has been my daily routine since last October, and I am looking forward to resuming getting my news and information from the internet again rather than having to rely solely on Free Speech TV, LINK TV, or the occasional foray into CNN. I am very anxious to once more begin offering commentary on current events and other topics at least once or twice a week, as well as getting caught up on my emails, so please visit here again early next week or thereabouts…
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