Friday, July 27, 2007

Re: Dad

Sorry to hear this Scooter. I think you are right though - better now than earlier in life. Thank God my parents are in good health, though I can see the signs of aging in them. Memory loss, getting tired out more quickly, more frequent minor health issues. I rue the day, which hopefully isn't close, but certainly is getting closer, of having to deal with something major.
You and your family are in our thoughts....

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Dad

Finally, the diagnosis that explains the precipitous decline: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis a/k/a ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Neurologist says could be a matter of weeks to a maximum of about six months. I guess if one is going to contract this bad boy, better to do it at 82 than 45.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More on the Recycling Scam

I happened to be home at lunch today when the recycling guys came around to empty my City of Austin provided recycling bin. It had developed a pretty big crack in it due to our lovely Central Texas Sun.

The guys kindly replaced it with a new, apparently improved, recycling bin (it seems to be of a softer plastic, less likely to quickly crack in the heat).

But they just tossed the old bin onto my driveway. Is it not recyclable? What the heck am I supposed to do with it?

Saving Grace

Watched Saving Grace with Holly Hunter on TNT last night. It was a little intriguing. Set in OK City (when has that happened) and is centered around HH's character--a hard living cop who has lost her Catholic faith. She strikes a guy down while driving drunk (or did she?) and pleads, "Dear God, help me."

A very unlikely angel appears and thus begins her reanalysis of faith.

I'm interested because faith is so little explored on television. I'm also interested because the hard living is pretty explicitly shown.

I hope this will be a serious inquiry and not just salacious television. We'll see.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Just got back from home and have to report that Dad is not getting any better. I watched him go through a short session of physical therapy yesterday and his hips are just too weak. Even with the walker it is very hard for him to stand up straight and that makes walking exhausting. 20, maybe 25 steps was about as far as he could go. The knees and ankles seem ok but he needs his hips.

Speech is still very difficult for him but he can communicate much to my embarrassment, forcing me to translate to the physical therapist that the guy helping her with Dad, i.e., me, is an attorney. That was Dad bragging on me...made me blush.

The hardest part for me is that I still think of him as a 220 llb., 6'5" guy slinging his 5 year old son around like a sack lunch. Or, hoisting me onto his shoulders as if I were nothing more than a little rucksack. Those thoughts actually made me cry a couple of times on the road home.

I helped set up the television in his room yesterday and he was excited that the nursing facility has cable because he can watch the Weather Channel and Andy Griffith on TVLand (I guess one of the blessings of a failed memory is that every time one sees a Don Knotts/Barney Fife stunt, it is the first time one sees it). He was even more excited that his roommate was looking forward to watching AG, too. Pointing to his roommate (a prominent man in my hometown who donated to the city the land for its primary recreational center), somehow I figured out that Dad wanted me to ask the roommate about AG. The roommate replied that he'd be happy to watch AG with Dad and that made Dad quite happy.

The downside of all Dad's awareness: I almost wish he were not so aware of his situation. He did not seem depressed to me this weekend but Mom said he admitted to being so earlier in the week. He desperately wants to home (it was the first thing he mentioned this morning) but short of a miracle, I don't see that happening without full-time help for Mom. At the same time, he knows he can't get around and is aware of his other problems that Mom is not equipped to deal with.

Another plus: I've seen a lot of nursing facilities that go beyond the depressing to borderline criminal. This place, while not heaven, could be a great deal worse.

As for Mom, she sounded very strong and in control on Thursday and then terrible on Friday. She's better now but this is going to continue to be very rough. She's stronger than she thinks she is but I wish she knew that. She is really torn up about her guilty feelings for not wanting to visit him there but she is a champ when she is there. I tried to tell her to increase frequency and decrease length of visits. I think three half-hour visits are better than two two hour visits. But what do I know?