Daddy-o! 


progress (and lack thereof) of my pop, battling glioblastoma multiforme IV, or brain cancer 

Informative sites:

Glioblastoma Multiforme IV

American Brain Tumor Association 

T.H.E. Brain Trust 

The Brain Tumor Center at Duke

new! pictures

Favorite quotes: 

12.02.06 "I have a drink for you, George."I can't, I have a lot of driving to do."

10.28.06 Cate was telling dad that Matt was taking a job as the chef garde manger in Florida, and dad asked, "Does the garde manger try to make stuff from the blobs of food he throws on the wall?" Cate, "I don't think it's in his job description." Dad, "Well, it should be."

10.27.06 "I'm doing beautiful, it's a beautiful day, and i'm going to take a walk with a beautiful woman."

10.27.06 "I'm alive, no thanks to your mother."

9.9.06 "Would you like your glasses?" Dad: "Why? So I can see the food I'm not going to eat?"

9.9.06 "Would you like to walk to the family room?"Dad: "I will as soon as you get theses obstacles out of my way (as dad kicks his walker out of his path)."

8.26.06 (After Cate tried serving dad some knock-off chocolate-chip cookies) Art's cookies they are not, but they'll do for now."

8.14.06 "I'm going to have to find Rush--so I know what to think about what is going on." (mom's note--curiously, rush's show just doesn't come in on the stereo anymore. it's only between the hours of noon and 3...)

8.13.06 "I may have lost my mind, but I haven't lost my common sense."

8.12.06 dad: "Bush should be bushed." cate: "what?" dad: "I just think he's a lousy president and doing a terrible job."

7.28.06 (when dad realized the pill he was taking was in fact working) Dad: I was going to write that stuff off for future use. Mom: Then what would you do? Dad: I don't know since I don't have  pen.

7.03.06 "Moving towards Marcia who is not a hippo" (dad performed this in a sing-songy voice, much to the delight of his 90-lb nurse)

6.20.06 "I'm married...I saw that look in your eye when you came over."  (Dad to hospital chaplain)

6.20.06 "You know what we used to say- you go to California to get your driver's license, then you get your vasectomy"

6.20.06 "I made a contribution to the women's group at the hospital"  Me: What did you contribute, Dad:"My body"

5.20.06 "It tastes so good I just want to puke on it."

5.20.06 "After the oatmeal we'll have to try some pee." 

5.19.06 (belated!) "Stop trying to seduce me!" (dad to his physical therapist) 

5.14.06 "We're eating all our bananas and penguins!" 

5.12.06 I'm doing great, but I have a really sore butt. I'm sorry, I don't know how else to say it. A great big, sore butt!"

5.1.06 "I should warn you, I'm naked under these clothes." 

4.23.06 "What are you doing with your pants open?" "Melting ice cream." "In your pants?" "Can you think of a better way?" 

4.23.06 "You mean we're going to a real restaurant, the kind where you go in and take off all your clothes?" (cate was telling pop they'd be coming to visit me at work) 

4.22.06 "Oh, we're watching the Three Stooges. Let's fill my brain with intelligence." 

4.18.06 (I walked into the kitchen to find a topless pop at the kitchen table) "Are you going to ask dad why he has his shirt off?" "It's to show I'm in charge. I'm the boss around here."

4.15.06 "I'm going to need some back-up water, Matt, so that I can defend myself in Hank's stories." 

4.14.06 "What I'd like to able to do in the morning, Claire, is move myself. So that you don't yell at me. I love you, Claire." 

4.12.06 (pop eating granola with sliced almonds) "That's not cereal--it's dried skin! No wonder they have a hard time selling it." 

4.11.06 "Why is all this pee coming from Cleveland?" 

4.08.06 (conversation with Dan) "Well right now I feel like I'm in an insane asylum." "Well, you're at home, so you're pretty close." Long look from pop, then, "I'll go along with that."

4.08.06 (overheard while pop was chattering away on the phone)  "We just got back from sinkle titty, er, tinkle city."

4.08.06 (same phone conversation) "Don't let that confuse you; I don't know where the f**k I'm going!"

4.08.06 breakfast, "Do you want some more orange juice?" "No, but I'll have some cow juice."

3.31.06 "I'm too late. Goddamn it!" *40-some-year old quote, but it's worth it

3.23.06 "Happy Birthday. You're pregnant."

3.22.06: "Why does it still smell like shit?" "Because there is shit everywhere."

been a fun morning, tell you what

 

you can email me, too. 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.17.07

RIP, pop!

12.28.06

Happy (belated) Christmas!

pop is getting more confused these days, and generally seems less aware of what's going on around him. he still knows who we are and seems to be in good spirits most of the time. he does complain more and more of pain, specifically in his hips and back. as a result, there are days where he can't get out of bed. but, usually we're able to move him at least once, usually into the wheelchair so we can move him around the house.

11.16.06

Preston and Nancy came to visit on Monday, and they brought some videos of their childhood--which pop loved watching. They watched them yesterday, and pop is still talking about them today. Good sign!

He's still having some up and down days, but all in all he's not much different. Over the weekend, he was pretty good on Saturday, eating well and moving around okay. We listened to some Ella Fitzgerald cds and pop was singing along, tapping his feet right along to beat. Was sweet. And then Sunday, it was like a different person altogether! He was agitated, slightly paranoid. But then he took a nap and was totally fine afterwards, albeit quite sleepy.

11.08.06

According to mom, pop has been rather impulsive today, standing up every time she gets him in a chair, etc. Out of exasperation, mom said, 'What am I going to do with you Mr. ...' and pop finished her thought, 'Mr. Peppy Pants.' So, that's a new, unofficial nickname...

11.06.06

Courtesy of Patrick, I've uploaded lots of new pop pics here

pop scribbling some thoughts....

11.06.06

Pop's been kind of weak today, but he's been communicating fine. Pat took him outside, because dad wanted to, 'go out in the dark...'

11.03.06

Pop seems to be doing much better today. He's actually improved steadily since earlier in the week. He's more chatty--laughing and talking about elections, etc. The doctor came by today, and thinks perhaps pop might have had a small seizure earlier in the week, which would explain some of his confusion and tiredness, and this subsequent improvement. He's had at least one that mom witnessed before, so it's not totally unlikely. He's on anti-seizure meds (has been since discovery of the tumor), but it's not out of the norm for him to experience them.

10.31.06

Over the weekend, Cate thought it might be fun to decorate Halloween cookies with dad. She spent hours getting everything ready, and when she placed pop at the end of the table to get working, dad just ate the cookies placed before him, as well as any cookie toppings. He quickly asked when they were going to be done. Ha!

Nothing much more eventful to add. Pop has had a couple sleepy days.

10.27.06

Hey, sorry for the long delay. Pop is about the same, though. He's a little less sharp than he had been in August, but he's still very much the old pop. Still has his jolly sense of humor! He isn't getting around very easily, although he is able to transfer from the bed to the wheelchair, wheelchair to the couch, etc., with assistance. Which is about the same as he was. Mom has been able to wheel him around the block for walks, so he was able to catch some of the fall color. He' s eating better, but sometimes, he just doesn't remember how to eat certain things--like he'll put his hand in a hot dish instead of using a fork, or something like that. So he's not one-hundred percent mentally. His memory can be good--like he'll remember to ask how the drive home was before i mention I made it back to Chciago safely. So he is aware of what's going on around him, more than he lets on sometimes. He's still pretty tired, and some days he'll do very little other than nap. But that's not every day. He's rather up and down, but sort of extreme ends of both--sometimes he's sharp as can be, and others he's speaking non-words, and just generally confused. But for the most part, he's in between the two...

So it's hard to really give a specific update these days. He's hanging in! Mom is doing really well, too, and hospice still comes to help out during the week, and as needed on weekends.

9.12.06

No news! Pop is doing great--his memory is still improving, and he's able to walk more than before. He's been to the grocery store, he's eating more, and his sense of humor is surfacing, as well. He spent Saturday watching the OSU football game, and watched the Giants play on Sunday, so even his old interests are coming back.

He found out I went home sick from work last week, and his first idea was to send me flowers! Was very sweet, and really cool that he associated being sick with needing flowers.

8.28.06

Pop is continuing to improve rapidly. He's been walking further and further, and yesterday, was able to go out to eat! He ate a few bites of hamburger at Chili's. He's feeling better, too--and told me today "Life is improving." He tells me his goal is to get outside more, and to just be able to leave the house as much as possible. So he's making himself walk every day, so that an outing like Chili's will be more common. 

His memory is still improvong as well. He remembers last weekend's party, and even remembers foods that were served--right down to a taste-test (see favorite quotes....). He watches a lot of TCM movies, and last week one was on with Franchot Tone. He told me 'it wasn't one of his better roles--he's not so good in the comedies.'  He couldn't remember the movie's name, but really, just to hear him critically analyzing a film made me stop and realize how far he's come.  

He's just generally getting better and better. And each week it seems he's accomplished something more that we really weren't expecting.

8.20.06

 Happy Anniversary!

sorry i added this so late!

8.15.06

Wow, well dad is like a whole new guy. His memory is the best it's been, probably since his surgery. He's moving around now, slowly. He can stand on his own, for short periods of time, and is walking with more purpose--by which I mean when he stands to go somewhere, he actually remembers where it is he wants to go. Even before his last fall, when he'd stand and start moving, half way through he would forget half way across the room what he was doing. So, it's much improved. He's still getting physical therapy, and was working on car transfers last week. He's still not quite up for car trips, because by the time he gets into the car, he's so wiped out from the effort of actually getting into the car. But it's still better than we thought he'd be.

Last week, mom had the movie channel on for him, and pop was able to repeat the basic plots of the films for my mom, and even recognized some of the actors. It was the TCM channel, and there was a movie with Franchot Tone on, and he recognized him. The next day, when asked what he did, he still remembered the movies. Big improvement for him.

He still gets the hiccups really bad. The only thing that seems to calm them at all is thorazine, which is unfortunate, because this makes him really slow and sleepy.

He's really looking forward to the anniversary party this weekend. With much reminding, pop now remembers that all his family is 'descending upon him' this weekend. He's even trying to memorize the list of guests, but since it's a bit lengthy, we forgive him for not reciting all the names. We almost have him remembering which anniversary it is he is celebrating. Sometimes he thinks 39, sometimes 23--but maybe he'll have 40 memorized by Saturday!

7.28.06

Pop had his first physical therapy session today since being home. He's got the same therapist he had after his shunt and after his last broken hip--and he gets along with her really well. He walked from the family room into the kitchen and around the island, with a few breaks along the way. Was a very big day for him, becuase that is more than he's walked in some time. He was very clear-headed today as well, more so than he has been. He was getting ready for his session today, asking what the date was and other things--so that he'd be ready when the therapist asked him. And he remembered the correct answers! The hospice nurse stopped by later. It was a new nurse today, and she is the one who will be his regular nurse from now on. She comes for a couple hours a day, 3 times a week, to give baths and help my mom with other things--like changing the sheets and things.

Dad also had an appointment with the osteopath yesterday. He appears to be healing quite well--actually better than average for most patients with my dad's condition--steroid induced osteoporosis. So that was good news. My dad still complains of pain, but that's pretty normal for in the healing process.

So all in all, dad is doing fine. He's looking forward to his anniversary next month. With only a some reminding...

7.25.06

Not a whole lot to report... Pop is fairing well, though. Hospice has been coming by very regularly, and so far all the people involved have been very sweet and nice. The husband of a co-worker of my mom's works with hospice, and he stopped by today and is having a device (the name escapes me) delivered which will help my mom get pop in and out of bed with much less strain, so that should be fantastic. The nurse was worried it would mean that pop would be less mobile, but really, it's just for those situations where pop is really unable to help us help him--especially when my mom needs to move my dad by herself. Sometimes it's really impossible to get him out of bed if he's in pain, or feeling sick--but it's also not ideal to just leave him in bed, either. So... it should really help.

Pop hasn't been able to move himself too much. He was complaining of lots of pain in his hip--so we're trying to get him to the doctor. We actually had an appointment with Dr Jablon, his osteopath, yesterday but it was rescheduled until this Thursday. Frustrating. But, hospice is arranging the transportation--sending an ambulance--so that's helpful. We're just hoping everything is healing well, etc.

7.20.06

So far, things are going well at home. Dad is very slowly regaining some strength. He walked around the island in the kitchen last night, albeit with rest breaks in between the full circuit. He was very clear on the phone when talking to Cate this morning, and told her about his evening and morning activities with total accuracy.

The hospice nurses have been coming by, and dad had a physical therapy assessment this morning, so we'll hear back soon about his schedule for that. He complained of lots of pain in his hip today, though, so mom is trying to schedule an appointment with the osteopath--the surgeon who performed his hip surgery--for sometime soon.

Hospice is helping to arrange transportation to the visits, which is a huge relief. We're still not on a set schedule with hospice coming by, but we're hoping to get that sorted very soon. Dad can get really anxious with lots of new people around, especially all at once, which leads to him feeling nauseated. But this only happens occasionaly--it's like some days are just really a bit much for him, whereas other days, with lots of human traffic around him, he's very jovial. I guess today was one of his more off days. But he took some pain pills and a nap, so I'm sure he'll be feeling better toward the evening.

7.17.06

Dad is coming home today. Actually, he should be en route about now with the help of an ambulance. We're with hospice now, which will give my mom a lot of extra, needed help. A hospital bed was delivered this a.m., and Dan drove up from Columbus to meet that, and move the other furniture around a bit so that all will fit okay. No permament daily schedule has been set yet, but that will all come together once all is settled at home.

Ahh, it's just such a relief having pop out of the nursing home. I think my mom is especially happy to have him back, as staying at the nursing home for the better part of 16 hours a day was just really getting to her. It's still lots of work at home, but at least we have the comfort of just being there finally. Pop has been in the hospital for over month--and even at that he was in 3 different hospitals, which is just so hard for him to adjust. We're hoping he's a little more relaxed on his own turf. Will update tonight or tomorrow, to let you know how it's going.

7.13.06

Pop has been working pretty hard these last couple of days, focusing specifially on car transfers and walking further. He seems pretty clear these days, at least when he isn't really exhausted.

As far as next steps, we have a few more options than we previously thought. Dad's HMO is sort of stopping payment for all therapies--including his nursing home stay--come monday. But, medicare will pick up the cost if we decide to stay put and keep working on dad's physical strength. Mom has also talked to hospice, who can help out a bit each day if we take him home.  He can also receive other types of care through them, like paliative radiation, which might be a great option for us. But, that is much further down the road as pop isn't strong enough just yet to resume that treatment. So. we have lots of big decisions to make these next few days.

7.10.06

We're doing all we can to get pop sprung from the nursing home as quickly as possible. Mom has been doing exercises with him in his room, and we're just trying to get his strength up enough so that we can have him home soon. He's doing well, but it takes him at least a week or so to adjust to new places, and we really don't want him where he is much longer. He's regressed a bit since leaving Flower, and he's still trying to learn the names of and get used to his new therapists. It's not the easiest adjustment for him.

Mom has been in meetings with the administration at the nursing home, to air some grievances about the (lack of) care pop has received since being there. We really feel like we have to be there almost 24-hours a day, just to make sure he's being properly looked after, which sort of defeats the purpose of having him in a skilled nursing home--esp if mom is doing the job of his assigned nurses.

Mom is going to contact hospice tomorrow, to see about getting some supplies and help, including therapy, at home. A hospital bed and someone to help mobilize the pop regularly are really all we need. We haven't decided our next step after pop is home--like if we'll continue radiation therapy and when. We really just have to see how he does in the next week or so. Hospice is a good choice, because pop can go back into treatment if that's what he wants. But we'll see. We haven't made any decisive descisions yet on the matter.

7.09.06

Well, a lot has happened since I last updated. Last weekend, dad started doing really really well with therapy. He was walking 25-75 feet a day, up to 2 or 3 times each try. He was doing fabulous, and then the insurance jerks decided he wasn't doing well enough to continue treatment at Flower Hospital, and declared they weren't going to pay any more. This was on July 4. So, after declaring dad wasn't welcome to stay any more, the insurance reps waited a few days to bother finding anywhere else for him to go. It was quite a nightmare, but on Wednesday evening, pop was moved to Arbors of Sylvania, a skilled nursing home. We really weren't crazy about having him there, but he was just a few days shy of really being ready to come home, so we opted for another week of intense therapy, so that transfering him at home (from the car to the house, in and out of bed, etc.) would be possible. He got there pretty late, and I don't think my mom was home until well after midnight, as she just wanted to ensure everything was in place for him, etc.

Thursday was a little more intense. Dad's nurse thought he had had a seizure, but this conclusion was jumped to without actually seeing dad have a seizure. Dad trembles a lot when he's falling asleep--he's done this since his brain surgery and it's a side effect of all kinds of drug combos and neurological issues. If you aren't used to his shakes, I think it's easy to panic and think something bad is happening. So dad was taken to St. V's, and CT scans and tests didn't really show anything; so, if he did have a seizure, it was very minor and didn't cause any additional damage or anything. He was taken back to the nursing home that night. Well morning--I think he got back around 4 a.m. So, another brutally exhausting day for the pop and mom. 

But now, pop is fine. He was doing a crossword puzzle with Cate this a.m., and he answered 6 correctly! Even some clues, like 'April forecast, 4-letters' Dad could still answer with almost correctness-'fair.' Not bad. He's doing okay in therapy--he seems to really get along with some of the therapists here, which is good. He was joking and laughing like his old self with them yesterday, so we're hoping this means he'll do well with them through the week--well enough that we can get him home. We aren't crazy with the nursing care he's gotten so far, really since he left St. V's after his surgery. But regardless, we just want dad home soon, and we're hoping that could be by Friday. That's our goal.

When he does get home, my mom is going to try and work out home therapy again, like he was receiving after his last hip surgery. We're going to try and have someone come to the house and help mom out--like with showers and things--as well. 

6.28.06

Dad is doing okay, but these last couple days have been kind of up and down. He seems really anxious with his therapists, despite telling us he feels really confident. Yesterday, while sitting up, he kept having the feeling he was falling. He leans to his left--without even thinking about it, and it's kind of throwing off his balance. It takes him a while to get going in therpay, to the point where half the session has passed before he really is feeling able to participate. He was feeling nauseous all day yesterday, but seemed better today with simple reminders from us that he had taken meds to cure his nausea. So, maybe it's neurological? But he was able to feed himself most of his lunch and breakfast, and didn't seem too confused until the later afternoon, after his day of therapy, which is pretty normal for him.  

Today he ate more, both breakfast and lunch all on his own, but was still a little lacking in therapy. We might need to move him to a slower-moving hospital, but we have several days to make that decision. For now, we'll keep him where he feels comfortable. Mom and I are going in the morning to take a peek at some skilled nursing facilities, just to see what they offer. Hate the idea of him having him in a whole new setting, though. We might even just bring him home if the current therapy is too much for him, as we can still get therapists to come to the house and work with him. But these are options we may or may not need, we just have to keep pushing pop in his current therapy to see if he starts moving a little more on his own.  

One really nice thing about Flower is its location. I don't think pop has slept this well since his brain surgery in January. At least that's what he tells us in the morning--maybe we should double-check this information with his night nurse. He's in his own room, in a hospital that's very much on it's own--in the suburbs, far from heavy traffic and set away from the main hospital. So very peaceful and quiet. He's kept in bed with a loose strap, so we don't have to worry about him being impulsive and trying to get up in the middle of the night on his own. He's good at calling the nurses when he needs them, and the night nurses seem really on top of things. We feel really comfortable with him there at night. Mom is usually up in his room for breakfast, and she, me and sometimes Patrick are there for lunch. It's only about 10 minutes from our house, so we can run errands and things while pop is napping, and be back quickly to hang out with him. Mom and I usually stay until early evening (leaving after Jeopardy!), taking dad for walks near the duck pond on the hospital campus. George Jr and Chance are up often, and Cate, Don and Dan are up all weekend. So, dad has plenty of company. We're all involved in therpay when we're there, which I think Dad enjoys. So, here's hoping he can keep up with all the work in these next few days!

6.26.06

pop is in rehabilitation now at Flower Hospital in Toledo. He made it through the surgery fine, and was moved to his current location last Thursday, so less than a week after surgery. He's really determined to get better, and his pain seems to be lessening every day. He's been getting physical and occupational therapies, even on the weekend, and he remarked that he feels very confident in their abilities to help him recover. His one physical therapist is named Tony, and he's not much younger than dad and has a sense of humor similar to pop's, and they get along well together--making little jokes and things. Nice that pop keeping his wit and smile are also a part of rehab.

He still has up and down days. He called today (with help dialing) and the nurses said he's quite confused today. Mom is up there now, and I'm about to head up and sit with him for the afternoon. Despite having a couple days of confusion, he still seems better cognitively than he did after his last surgery. His memory is still improving, and he's still able to follow conversations and tell stories. Sometimes we can guess where he's filling in information he doesn't quite remember, but other times he's right on, reporting events as they actually happened, even remembering quotes properly. It's great.

Sorry again I'm so delayed in keeping this site up-to-date. Feel free to email me if I go too many days without posting--it's definitely not intentional!

6.16.06

you know how the other day i said dad was doing great? well, he's not so great today. he fell on wednesday evening and unfortunately broke his right hip. he's in the hospital now, and he's scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning, with the same surgeon that fixed his left hip in april. he's in good spirits, and he remembers falling this time, which is a slight improvement from his last hospital stay.

will update again in the next day or so. hate to follow up my last update with such glum news, but there you have it.

we really aren't sure where this puts pop in terms of the tumor treatment, but we'll deal with that after this latest setback is settled. sigh.   

6.14.06

dad is doing great. his memory, mobility and conversations are all much improved. he's started back on chemotherapy and radiation, just this past monday. we're hoping the side effects will be better controlled than before, especially with the shunt and feeding tube. his spirit is a little up and down--he's more aware of his illness now than he's been for the past few months, and that understandably upsets him. he's taking an anti-depressant for that, so we're hoping that helps. but for the most part, he is very much his old self again. we'd love to take him to see the toledo mudhens soon--we'll see how he reacts to the treatment.  

pop went to his regular physician early last week, and the doctor chided him on not having a book with him. 'you're always reading something interesting!' was the doc's quote, which dad has repeated a few times, so i've bought him a couple radio shows on cd--which might help keep him entertained. we've provided him with some before, but he hasn't responded to them. his concentration isn't the greatest just yet, so novels tend to put him to sleep. we have some comedy shows, which pop declared 'a little too before my time.' but we are trying to keep him entertained. he seems to like anything not-too political, but not-too brainless. documentaries seem the best option, if they aren't too upsetting.

he's been getting up on his own, in the morning and the middle of the night, much to our horror! but, he is remembering to use his walker, and as long as he has that, we can't really complaing. all our nagging has worn off. i'm sure this helps him feel more independent again, so we're all for it. and we're also just happy that he's so eager to be on his feet, moving as much as possible, as this can only be a positive thing in terms of his recovering from the radiation and chemo effects.

6.07.06 (sorry it took so long to post this!)

things are going well. dad is resuming radiation treatment and chemotherapy starting monday. we've been visiting various doctors for the last week, getting opinions and scans and all kinds of necessary things to get to this decision. dad is doing well enough to make these decisions on his own! fantastic progress.

5.29.06

Pop had a really good, busy week. He's been walking a lot more, remembering things longer, eating better, etc. He had physical therapy 3 times last week, and occupational twice. He'll have more this week, and we'll add some speech therapy this week as well. We have an appointment with Dr Healy, his neurosurgeon, on Wednesday. We're anxious to get him back into radiation and chemotherapy, and we'll know more about our next steps soon. 

Dan and I took dad to the park on Saturday, and it went okay for the most part. It's been ridiculously hot here for the last few days, so we only kept him outside for about 20 minutes. We were all ready to get back into air conditioning. He was eating okay, though--lots of fresh peaches and yogurt and cottage cheese--his favorites. He kept talking about the fruit and cottage cheese, just telling me that that is one of his favorite lunch meals. Which is true--was nice that he remembered this habit of his. 

He slept a lot yesterday, and today seemed pretty shaky and less active than he'd been for most of last week. We've been keeping him hydrated, though, and I'm hoping he starts feeling a little better by tomorrow.  

5.23.06

Dad is doing great. On Sunday, the weather was so nice Cate and I took him to the park for a spin in his chair. We walked for about an hour, and dad really seemed to like getting away from the house for a change. He's been getting physical and speech therapy, and doing well in both. His memory is getting better and better, but it's not the most accurate just yet.  But it's a whole lot better than it's been.  

We're hoping to take him to the park and other places he used to like going to more often, now that the weather is better and his endurance is improving. He has been listening more to old radio shows on cd, but sometimes complains that even those are a little before his time. So, keeping him occupied is a little challenging. His interests change so quickly it's hard to keep up. For some reason, the only television shows that keep his interest are those on BBC America! All the auction and fashion shows, and old 80s sit-coms keep him laughing in the afternoons. Funny.  Wonder what it is about the british accent that keeps him focused!

5.19.06

Dad is slowly re-adjusting to living at home again. He's receiving therapy here--physical, occupational and speech. The physical therapist is here now. Pop is getting much stronger, and his endurance is definitely improving. He's able to walk farther and farther each day, and I've caught him doing some of his leg and arm exercises on his own. So, he remembers from the hospital what he should be doing, which is a good sign. 

He has been remembering things for longer periods of time. When he initially fell, he couldn't remember 30 minutes later why he was in pain, but this last week or so, he's able to remember events from the night before. It's not the clearest memory, but he does remember basic outlines and outcomes of situations.  

He sometimes admts he's feeling nervous and afraid, and I think that's pretty understandable. With his memory getting better, I think he's remembering that he can't remember things that have happened to him. Today he remembered that he has a brain tumor, and that might be the first time I've heard him mention that without being prompted. So we're being as gentle as possible, trying to ease him back into reality. It's frustrating for him, surely, but he's really giving it his all.

5.16.06

Pop is home! We brought pop back from St Charles this afternoon. It took him just a little while to realize where he was, but once he did, he was quite happy. 

He had a busy morning with therapy, so by this afternoon, he was really tired. Rather unevenful after we got him in the house. We ate dinner--we haven't been able to cook at home in over 2 weeks! Pop was in bed not long after. I think the rest of us will follow suit very soon. But it's nice to have dad back in the house. We've hated having him in the hospital for so long!

5.14.06

We walked into the unit today, and pop was sitting at the nurses station, and all the nurses were in hysterics. Pop's wit is obviously still kicking, even if he can't seem to remember any jokes he's made. Was funny to see. He was calling his nurse a nag, and told her, 'you harp worse than any wife ever could.' She was laughing. Pop doesn't have any therapy on Sundays, so he's been restless all morning, and a litlte bored. He kept trying to get out of bed, and out of the hospital, and was annoyed and irritable when we wouldn't let him. He eventually fell asleep. 

Yesterday was really good. His memory seemed to be getting better--we hated to say goodnight when we did. He was remembering conversations hours later, which was such a nice change. He was even repeating conversations almost word for word. 

He's been walking much better since Friday. Can stand and move himself pretty well, and his endurance is improving. He was able to walk down the hall, and now he can make it to the bathroom, if he has a bit of warning. So we're really hoping his progress will push him out of the door this week. We'll know more tomorrow.   

5.12.06

Pop is doing much better today than he has all week. He was in good spirits this morning, and even made lots of sense. Was making jokes, just being his old self. These last couple of days it's been difficult to get him to do much of anything, so it's great that he's so improved. Matt and I were at the hospital this morning to help work on car transfers--getting pop from the wheelchair to the car. Dad did great. It was really cold and rainy, so we were all really happy pop got eveything perfect on the first go! He had speech therapy and occupational therpay, all by 10 a.m., so it's pretty non-stop at St Charles for him. He's having lunch now, and I'm about to head back up with some coffee for Matt. 

We're hoping to have pop home again Tuesday--at least that's the tentative plan. Although today is a good day, he still has days where it's difficult to get him to move at all, so we're hoping he keeps up the good work.  

5.09.06

Dad is still at St Charles, receiving physical, speech and occupational therapies--each a couple times a day. He's doing okay, but he's really worn out. He hasn't been sleeping too well at night, so I think he has his days and nights a little confused. 

Mom kept him awake for most of the day today in between sessions--taking him outside for walks and such. He still needs a wheelchair to move substantial distances, but he is able to stand. He isn't complaining too much of any pain in his hip or back, so that's a great sign. 

He is speaking--all the time--but it's hard to figure out what he's trying to say. He isn't speaking gibberish at all, but his utterances don't really make sense all the time. Just have to kind of smile and nod a lot after a while, because it's really tiring, trying to figure out what he's trying to communicate after a few hours. But by that point pop is usually falling asleep. When he is more awake, or after a little nap, he seems a lot more clear. So perhaps visiting just before bedtime isn't the best idea. 

5.04.06 - evening

Pop has been moved to St Charles, a rehabilitation hospital here in Toledo. This is where pop spent about a week post-craniotomy last February. I think he'll do okay. He had some physical therapy today, and actually walked about 30 feet in his first session, and 50 in his second. He definitely has the will to get better, and that's really all anyone can ask for right now. He ate a little food at St Vincents, the hospital he's been at, so that's good--less we have to pour into the feeding tube. Cate is staying with him tonight, so mom was able to come home and sleep in her own bed for the first time in a week. Maybe she'll get some much-needed shut-eye? Let's hope! I completely forgot to write down dad's phone number in his new room! Will send an email with that tomorrow. 

5.04.06 -morning

Pop is doing much better, considering the new circumstances. He's fidgety in the hospital, pulling on lines and things, but that's okay--not a big problem. Yesterday he was sounding more coherent, making actual words as opposed to gibberish. He didn't make total sense, but you could kind of guess at what he was trying to say. 

He had a feeding tube put in yesterday, and the filter (to break up potential blood clots) the day before. Mom has been staying in the hospital with him since he was admitted, so he's been in extra-fine care. The feeding tube sounds scarier than it is. We need pop to heal, and he isn't eating much at all on his own. The neurosurgeon believes this is more a neurological problem than pop just simply not eating--he just doesn't associate food with satiating hunger. It's temporary, and he can still take things by mouth. We just need to ensure he's getting substantial amounts of nutrients and calories and all for the immediate future.  But of course, he's trying to yank that tube out, as well! 

We've been given the approval by St Charles Rehab hospital to move pop today, we're just waiting on a time and clearance with the medical insurance. Shouldn't be a problem. Will update again this evening--sorry for the delay in posting!

5.01.06

Dad is still a little out of it from the surgery and meds he has been on since yesterday. His pain seems better today, but he's still not out of the woods. He had a bone scan today, which showed some 'hot spots' in his back, which we thought were leftover images from his back surgery from 15+ years ago, but no. Pop has a compression fracture in his back! One of his vertebrae sort of collapsed, which could be an additional break from his fall Friday, or maybe something earlier in the week. Hard to say, really. He did have a back x-ray when he fell over Easter weekend, and that showed nothing broken in his back, so it must have been very recent. Regardless, he'll be fitted with a back brace tomorrow. Just not the greatest news, obviously, with his already broken hip. His bones are very, very weak, from his radiation & chemotherpay, plus the steroid he is on for brain swelling causes bones to become more brittle--plus age and other things--pop is just very fragile right now. 

He still needs to have his Greenfield filter implanted, which will most likely happen tomorrow, in the early afternoon. Pop also isn't eating at all, so that may requrie a feeding tube. But, he's hanging in, and so are we. We're all pretty upset from the recent back break news, and mom took it quite hard. She's still staying in the hospital with pop each night, but she has been able to come home for a few hours since Friday--although we'd all like her to get away for longer, I think she feels better with dad, for the most part. Even though she's nothing but stressed!

4.30.06

Pop's surgery went as well as it could today. The procedure itself only took a few hours, and after 2 or so hours in recovery, he was back in his room. He was very confused and agitated after waking up, so mom spent a little over an hour with him while he was in recovery, to calm him down. He was in lots of pain, and for most of the afternoon, didn't sleep well at all--was twitching and waking every 40 minutes or so moaning, so the morphine wasn't really working. I forget the name of what he's on now, but it worked very well. He slept for a good 2 hours without rousing, and was still sleeping when Dan and I left, a half hour or so ago. 

Tomorrow, pop has a few more procedures to undergo. He'll have a Greenfield filter inserted--which mom says isn't that invasive--only requires a local anesthetic--to prevent blod clots. Dad's at high risk for developing them--basically from every thing he has--atrial fib, brain tumor and the recovery from hip surgery--so it's good to get this done sooner rather than later. He can't take any anti-coagulants becuase he's at high risk for bleeding in his brain as a result of the tumor and the surgery last January. He'll also have a bone scan, and pace maker interrogation--just a check-up on the 'ol ticker to make sure nothing was altered suring surgery today. So, it'll be a busy one for him. And, he is supposed to be at least getting out of bed tomorrow--either just moved to a chair or acutally taking a few steps--to start the healing process. Can't be left lying faround or too long.

As far as a release date goes for pop, that's still very much undecided. We really have to wait and see how things go in the next couple days. After the hospital, he'll most likely head to a rehab hospital for at least a week, getting intensive physical therpay a few times a day. But this is all still very uncertain.  

Sorry we haven't really been phoning anyone to tell you all this news in person--we're only just home from the hospital now after being there around 7 this morning, so our abilities at holding a phone conversation are quite diminished. But, feel free to give a call tomorrow. Mom intends on phoning soon, too, but she's been with pop in the hospital since Friday night! She managed a quick shower over the weekend, but really, she hasn't left his side in days. I'll post his room phone number again tomorrow, when it's safe to call and not wake the folks--neither has really slept, so I'm hoping they have a better night tonight. Mom really needs it--she's been going on almost no sleep for a few days now. Maybe the nurse will slip her whatever miracle drug he gave dad--haha.

4.29.06

Pop is going to have surgery tomorrow, and we're still waiting to find out what time. They'd like to do it early, as in 7 or 8 a.m., but we don't really know for sure. We were hoping to avoid really invasive surgery, but I don't think we'll be able to. Basically, pop broke the top of his femur, right where it joins the hip. So the top of the femus is going to be replaced with a  prosthetic--anchored into the bone with 3 screws. It should only take a few hours.

We're not totally sure what the recovery is going to be like--possibly he'll be in a rehab center--the same one he was in after his craniotomy--but this isjust speculation. 

Dad was quite aler this morning, he even answered a couple quesitons in the crossword puzzle! We're going to head back to the hosptial to see him, but feel free to give a call (we all have our cell phones) if you have any questions or want to reach my mom. She's taking this pretty hard, so any support you can offer is appreciated!

4.28.06

Well, I wish I had better news. Pop had quite a fall this morning, around 4.30. Dad has fallen a few times in the last couple weeks, without much consequence, but his morning, pop woke a couple people up with his thud. Not a good sound. Mom didn't go to work, and we gave pop a few hours, but he was still in 'shooting' pain, so we called 9-1-1. He's been in the hospital since 10 this a.m. We found out around 2 or so that he managed to break his left hip! Really, the last thing we expected/needed to hear right now. Was one of those situations where you turn your back for no more than a minute, and he managed to fall and do damage. Poor man. Mom is with pop in the hospital--he has his own, private room ( I swear, mom finally making 22 years of employemnt finally means she has some kind of sway with the hospital!). 

Sorry this post isn't the most informative or relieving--we don't even have a day for his surgery, or what exactly will happen. I know out loud, we've opted for the least invasive procudure which will give him the most stability, so that he's at least comfy after this whole ordeal, but we really just have to wait and see. He's really in the best care, so we'll just build on that. Our hope now is to resume treatment--chemo and radiation--which he was responding to before his hydrocephalus, as soon as he is able. But we need him physically well before we can jump right back in. 

4.26.06

Mom was able to go to the brain tumor support group tonight, and it was really good for her. She talked to lots of brain tumor survivors and a few other caregivers, and they helped her quite a bit. She's planning on bringing pop for the next meeting, in a month or so. 

Pop was very tired, so I stayed home with him, and we had a relaxed evening, sipping on homemade fruit smoothies and fighting over which pills pop thought he needed to take. Haha, it wasn't that bad! Sort of a regular litlte discussion dad likes to have these days. 

Dad had a busy morning with mom, driving around Toledo looking for a bed, stopping at the post office, making a trip to the Wendy's drive-thru, and I think the excursion just wore him down. He's a little more alert this evening than he was this afternoon. He's been eating regularly now, almost to the point where we don't worry about it too much anymore. His weight seems to be more stable than it was a few weeks ago, when he was just constatnly losing pounds. 

 So I'm sitting on the couch with pop, and I just showed him this site, and he's so touched he has a few tears in his eyes. He's really happy and touched to know so many people are thinking about him and wishing him well, and he feels bad that he hasn't been able to phone his friends and family himself to talk about his tumor and things. And I'm gonna sign off now and give him a big hug. 

4.25.06

Dad did really well, for the most part, today. When I walked in from work this afternoon, dad was standing unaided, unloading the dishwasher with mom. He was able to take out quite a few things and set them on the counter before he started feeling really weak and had to sit down. But, he then made the 30 steps or so into the family room, without even holding my hand. I haven't seen him walk or stand on his own since I've been home, so I was quite impressed. He tried sorting some silverware a little later on, and did okay. Later, while we were sitting on the couch, dad was reading off some words that were shown on the television. I was surprised, because his vision is so bad in his left eye--he usually doesn't even look up at the television if it is on--so just the fact that he could read quickly moving text was really something. He seemed very clear-headed until just before bed, which is a feat for him. He even lied down on his right side without much of a struggle, which I know probably means nothing to you, but this is was fabulous. He lies on his left every night, and that's just not good for his hip. So, definite improvement. 

Mom, dad and I are going to attempt a trip to Cleveland tomorrow, for a brain tumor support group meeting at the Cleveland Clinic. We're hoping to get a bit more out of this group than the general cancer support group we met up with last week in Toledo. Cancer support groups specific to brain tumors are hard to find in Toledo, becuase brain tumors aren't the most common cancer, and they don't have some of the positive survival rates other cancers have, unfortunately. So, one has to travel a bit to find people in the same situation, but we're hoping it's a good experience.  

4.24.06

Pop, Cate and Don came into the restaurant I'm working at yesterday. All went pretty well--no real problems getting him in and out of the car. He liked the food, was able to use the restroom--all big steps for dad. It was fun to wait on him. Apparently, I'm just an okay server. Haha. 

 It was hard getting him to sleep last night. Mom was quite exhausted from working all weekend, and pop was pretty agitated from being forced to sleep on his right side. He has this bad habit of only sleeping on his left side, which if we don't correct, will lead to pressure sores. But trying to explain this to dad at night, when he's more tired and more confused than normal is tough. Just have to basically hold him in place until he forgets he wants to get out of bed and falls asleep. Can take quite a bit of time. 

 He seems good this morning. We were able to shower him with no problems, something we haven't been able to do in the last several weeks. We usually give him a sponge bath each day, but I'm sure the shower makes him feel not only cleaner, but also more healthy and less like an invalid. 

4.23.06 images removed--at mom's request. what a bore! kiddin'.

4.22.06

Dad's doing okay. He's eating much better, and he's speaking a lot more--but he makse a lot more sense earlier in the day. He had physical and occupational therapies yesterday, and the occupational therapist only stayed for 20 minutes! Maybe the next appointment will be more productive. Pop is getting around so well he might not qualify for home PT anymore, which is good--but just getting ino the car wears him down quite a bit, so we'll just have to wait and see what the reccomendation is next week. 

 Will write again soon--with pop so active there is less time to sit down and do a proper update! We really can't leave him on his own at all, becuase when we do, even for a minute, he usually tries to stand and walk--only he isn't always aware of where he is, or where he is going. He doesn't always fall, but he's been found a few times on the floor in front of the couch; his depth perception isn't the greatest. 

4.19.06

Pop had a doctor's appointment today, and oddly, afterward, he seemed extremely coherent. We'll be able to resume chemotherapy and radiation treatments again--yay! So we'll start those possibly next week. Dad's physical strength is good--he just needs more endurance. He's (for the most part) better at getting in and out of cars, walking to the kitchen, etc. We don't really use the wheelchair in the house much anymore, which is fantastic. Last night, pop was moving himself around the kichen table, and at one point, decided to crawl onto the table to sleep. He didn't get too far with his plan, but geez.. Not two weeks ago I highly doubted he would really walk again, let alone maneuver himself in position to climb on the table. So even though it's exhausting keeping up with him, it's so wonderful to have him active again. Even if you have to watch him every mintue... at least we keep telling ourselves this!

He's still kind of up and down mentally, but like I said, he seems more on today than he's been in a few days. He was speaking today, and most of what he said made perfect sense, give or take just a few words. According to his speech therapist, he just really needs more help with vocab--regaining all the words he used to know, etc. 

He's sort eating more, but his appetite really hasn't increased too dramatically. We're still trying to shove in every quality calorie we can, and thanks to some acquisitions from Cate, the dietician, we're doing a little better. So, all in all, we're seeing lots of improvement in pop these days. IOn the surface it seems slow, but when you think how recent his surgery was, it's really quite a speedy recovery.  

4.18.06

Dad's had some problems these past few days. He's talking more, but nothing really makes sense or follows any conversation that's around him. When he does walk, he's great--able to move with a walker. But it's like his brain just can't make any connections lately. You'll say, "stand up, dad." And after 5 minutes of repeating this, he's angry with you because he thinks he's already standing, or insert any other action besides standing. It isn't really getting any better. We still have the appointment with his neurosurgeon Wednesday, so we're hoping he might be able to shed some light. He's still scheduled for physical, speech and occupational therapies, but we don't have a set schedule just yet. He responded pretty well to those last week, though. 

matt and pop: 

apple crumble coma 

4.17.06

We had quite an eventful weekend. Pop was pretty tired all day Saturday and slept for most of the afternoon. He woke up from a nap around 4.30, and said he didn't have to use the commode, but that he was hungry. Dad hasn't been eating much at all, so when he declares he is hungry, we try and feed him as quickly as possible. So Matt made him a sandwich, and within the 60 or seconds we were not watching him, he fell! We heard it, and it sounded like quite a hard fall. We think he hit his head and back, but there was no obvious signs of trauma. Regardless, we took him to the emergency room--via ambulance, as we couldn't get him off the floor-- to double-check all was okay, and all is fine. A little scrape on his head and a little bruise on his back. But stress all around. Dad was on a backboard, in a collar, and just not at all pleased to be so immobile. He was pretty clear at first, he knew which hospital we were at, but by the end of the 4-hour visit, he thought we were in Greece. Hmm. And he didn't remember falling, at all. So, maybe that's for the best. 

He's been more tired this weekend than he was during the week, but that could be for any number of reasons. We have an appointment with the neurosurgeon this week, so we'll find out more Wednesday.  

4.14.06 

Dad has had a couple busy days of physical therapy and occupational therapy. He did well for the most part. He's still working at building up enough strength to stay interested in hours of intense therapy for most of the afternoons. More than one session a day is very rough on him. He's pretty tired today, and more confused than he's been, but he is doing quite well, considering his schedule. Not a huge update, sorry!  

4.12.06

Speech therapy is coming by the house today, and physical therapy will be by tomorrow. We also have an appointment with pop's neurologist in the a.m. So, we're keeping the old man busy...

Dad is more agreeable in the morning these days. He's really grouchy in the evening, and by bedtime, he's like the most curious 66-year-old you ever met, questioning everything. Only his questions don't make much sense, so he becomes agitated with no answers, and we get frustrated not understanding that there was a question to begin with, etc. So, lots of deep breaths and long sighs abound in the house right now. But, on the plus side, we have a whole slew of new favorite quotes that have yet to be posted! Dad is at least making words, and I haven't heard much gibberish at all in the last few days, which is great. And, with therapy, his speech should start coming around again, soon.   

4.10.06

Physical therappy came to the house today. Dad will be receiving that 3 times a week, as well as more speech and occupational therpay. We're hoping the therapy at the house is temporary, and that pop will be able to go back to outpatient status after he's a little more steady on his feet. He's tired today, and still confused. Slowly, I think he's starting to realize exactly what's been happening the last few months. We're not sure what he remembers, to be honest. Even though it's frustrating for him, it's good he's aware that he is confused, if that makes any sense. He's able to hang on to single thought for greater periods of time than before, something I haven't witnessed since I got back home in February. When people--especially us kids--call, he recognizes voices right away, and he remembers all of our faces. It's really these little, seemingly insignificant things that are really quite encouraging.  

4.09.06

Dad is a little more cloudy today than yesterday, but that could be because he's a little tired. He is a little confused and concerned as to why he is so sleepy, but he forgets he just had surgery a few days ago. So... short-term memory isn't fully there, still. Dad's strength is pretty low and he will have physical therapy, starting tomorrow, and the therapists will be coming to the house, which is fantastic. It's so much of an effort to get him to the doctor's office, that by the time he is there, he doesn't have the energy to participate in the sessions. So, this will be so much better. We hope! 

Not much else to report--been an uneventful Sunday. We like these days... It's surprising, but it's a bit strange getting used to pop being pop again! Last night at dinner, dad was joining in the conversations so naturally we kind of stared at each other, open mouthed, for most of the meal. It was so good to have him more like his old self, but in the last few weeks, i think we sort of resigned ourselves to the idea that he might never be this with it, ever again. So, it was just a brilliant change, and we've never been happier to be so, so wrong in our assumptions. We're all so stunned and pleased with his 24-hour, almost complete turnaround.  

4.08.06

 Pop got back from the hospital last night around 8 p.m. The surgery went went very well, no surprises. After surgery on Thursday, he was fidgety and irritated and confused--we were so pleased! The day before (Wednesday) he was basically catatonic, hardly responding to any stimulus. So movement was very welcomed. 

This morning, he was able to shave himself, drink his juice, feed himself a bit--all things he hasn't been able to do for a few weeks now. He was conversing appropriately--not saying gibberish and interacting normally at the table. He's still weak, still using the wheelchair , but he's much more agreeable and he's able to help us help him, so to speak. As pop says, 'were fighting our way back to civilization.' Yep, you read right, pop is speaking! 

We're about to eat dinner--most of the family is in town, plus a few significant others. Celena (Patrick's girlfriend)'s mom made a huge pan of meatloaf, Matt has made a lot of veggies and potatoes, and Celena's grandma sent an apple pie... so we'll all be in food comas soon.  Sorry for the delay inposting--we've been off the computer, speaking with pop a lot lately--it's a nice delay.

4.05.06

Well, some somewhat good news, for a change! We took pop in for a visit with his neurosurgeon, Dr. Healy, who performed the initial craniotomy. We had some CAT scans done (pop can't get an MRI, the better scan for his condition, due to his pacemaker), and as we sat in the office, really expecting the worst, we got the better. It starts out sounding bad, but hang in there, it's really relieving news...

Dad has substantial CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) in his ventricals--as mom eloquently puts it 'they should look like a butterfly, but his look like swollen sausages'. This causes a condition called hydrocephalus, which is a fixable condition. So, tomorrow he is having surgery to have a vemtriculoparitoneal shunt placed (runs from his stomach to the brain) to drain the excess fluid. The procedure doesn't take too long, either, and this should help his mental functions, orientation, coordination, strength--all that. 

The even better news: is his tumor shows no significant growth, and the swelling he had before is pretty much gone. Yay! This was such great news to hear. 

Dad still isn't totally in the clear of course, but this should really help improve his state. We're hoping to resume treatment after he's fully recovered from his procedure tomorrow, but we'll have to look at everything one day at a time.

Currently, pop is in the neuro-intensive care unit. Mom's co-workers are stopping in periodically to check on him throughout the night. We know he's in good hands. We had intended on him having an outpatient surgery, where he'd recover in the hospital for a few days, but as the day wore on today in the hospital, pop just grew ridiculously weaker and his energy was so low, the outpatient admissions office preferred that we leave him overnight. He's not even speaking at this point, from all the fluid, so I think that's the best decision. We hated to leave him, but we didn't want to risk breaking a hip or something equally horrible trying to move him from car to house to bed and back again early in the a.m. 

So.... here's hoping! Will post the results and things tomorrow in the evening.  

4.03.06 

Mom, Hank and I just put pop to bed an hour or so ago. Dad was rather tired and seemed grouchy, but that temprement was short-lived. Hank was saying goodnight, and Dad had tears in his eyes. It was of course sad, but also encouraging, to realize how truly aware of his environment pop is. He's still very in tune with what's around him, and he's absorbing everything, even if it isn't obvious to us all the time.  

Anyway, we were all sad to see Hank go. He certainly kept our spirits up all weekend.

4.02.06

smile! i guess pop thinks sticking out his tongue is kinda like smiling. i didn't realize what a common image his tongue is on this page. eh. boom boom. 

 

Hank, Pat, Mom hiding and The Fabulous Pop! 

4.02.06

Pop seems a little more with it, mentally. He's a little more stable on his feet, and he's able to lift himself up, or at least assist us in trying to lift him up--which isn't to say that he's doing great, but he doesn't seem to be getting weaker, which is the big issue. He kept his head up for all of dinner tonight, something I haven't witnessed in a few days. He tried feeding himself, and needed a bit of salt to give the napkin he chewed up some flavor, but still. Just the effort and his willingness to feed himself were encouraging. His hiccups seem to be recurring, and he complained of headaches a lot today. He really felt pretty lousy and slept a great deal this afternoon, but that's not exactly unusual. He really improved quite a bit in the evening, like I said, at dinner. It was cold and rainy here inToledo today, so we're hoping for a bit of sun tomorrow, so we can take pop to the park--get him out of the house for a bit. So here's hoping for that.

3.31.06 

 So, we're still undecided on exactly which route will take. Sleep on it over the weekend. I think we're inclined to delay treatment for another week, possibly two, to see if pop regains any strength. But, we're still not sure. Hospice is coming tomorrow, to see if wecan work out some kind of care scheme--get someone else in to help lift dad, especially during the week, as it's pretty difficult for mom and I to handle on our own.

Otherwise, pop is doing about the same. Seems slightly out of it, and he's sleeping a lot. Cate bought pop a few boxes of old-time comedy radio shows to listen to, and he's got those on now. We're hoping tomorrow is a nice day, and we can take him to the park. 

Hank is here, and it's been really great having him. He's keeping all of our spirits up, and he's relating all kinds of pop stories we were never told... Always good to have more dirt on the parents. Mwa hahahaha. Matt is making some manicotti now, so we'll have a big feast for dinner tonight.  

3.30.06

I think we're going to meet with the neurologist tomorrow, a family conference of sorts, to determine the next steps we'll take in regards to pop's treatment. Sort of nervous about what the outcome will be, as most of dad's cancer specialists haven't been too positive about the current status o' pop.  

3.29.06

Well, what a difference a couple days can make. Pop seemed very vacant and out of it Monday and Tuesday, but sort regained a bit of interest by mid-afternoon Tuesday. It comes and goes... Monday Matt came home and dad just stared blankly at Matt, even though Matt was literally right in pop's face. I think he forgot who mom was, too. Tuesday started the same, and after a trip to the doctor's office, he slowly seemed to come around, albeit slightly. Mom and I had a typical battle of wills trying to get dad into the doctor's appointment. The doctor saw this, apparently, and had one of the nursess help us get him back into the car when we left. He did much better. He was also rather agreeable getting into the house  when we got home. It's so hit or miss with his these days. 

His friend Hank is coming to visit for a long weekend, which should be great. Hank is about the only voice on the phone my dad consistently recognizes. So, I think it will do pop a lot o' good to have an old, familiar face and voice around for several days. 

3.25.06

Dad seems slightly more coherent these past couple of days. Yesterday he remarked that it was "the best i've felt in a long time." So we're hoping that was really the case, and he wasn't just confused and playing along. He did remember names yesterday with little-to-no effort, which hasn't happened in a long time. Cate was buying a New York Times, and told my dad of such, and pop remembered the price (almost)--was a dollar off but had the change right--which I was quite impressed by. Dan took dad for a walk in the backyard, dad in the wheelchair, and when dad was coming back inside, he was able to walk from the back door to the couch in the family room--only assisted by dan holding his hands. Much, much improved from earlier in the week, when he wasn't able to stand on his own. He still has trouble finding the right words in conversation, and sometimes you can follow his train of thought, and sometimes not, but he doesn't seem as frustrated. He's also eating again, which is a huge, happy development. So, we'll see how today pans out.  

3.22.06

Dad is sleeping now, and mom is taking a much-needed nap. Think we're going to bring the 'rents bed downstairs, as dad has trouble making the trek upstairs. After last night and this morning's debacle, the air mattress is out of the question. My dad has lost a lot of muscle mass and strength in his legs. Some of this is a result of his radiation and chemo treatments, and some is due to steroid myopathy--muscle weakness caused by steroids. He's also so weak that he can't assist those trying to help him stand, walk, etc., so it's like dead weight. Too heavy for mom and I on our own, I'm afraid. My back will attest to that. So yeah, bed will be brought downstairs today or tomorrow. Mom is surprisingly excited about the prospect of her new bed/sitting room. We'll see how it goes.

My dad's brother and sister-in-law will be arriving on Friday, which will be fantasic for Dad. All the kids will be in town at some point on the weekend, too, so it'll be nice to have lots of familiar faces around.  

3.22.06

Just got the page up. Still very new at this, so be patient.

older updates:

3.17.06 by Dan

Dad is doing well, there hasn’t been a lot of change for the past couple of weeks. The treatments are really sapping his energy, so he’s very tired most of the time. And think of how disoriented you are when you’re tired – so he alternates from confusion to a certain degree of clarity, but this can change from one minute to the next. 

 The nice thing is when he’s confused, he’s generally pretty patient. So it’s not like we’re dealing with an angry confused dad. And he generally has awareness that he is confused, so if he seems out of it, we can just tell him what’s going on around him and that reassures him.

 His daily radiation treatments will continue until the end of the month…after that point, he should start feeling better.
Thank you all for your calls and cards…it really boosts everyone’s spirits at home!

2.24.06

Just wanted to tell you all that I'm back from the UK. I arrived late Monday night, and I'm currently living with the folks, trying to help them as much as I can.

My dad is doing okay. He has started his treatment regime, taking an oral dose of chemo just before bed, and radiation treatments each afternoon. This program will last for 6-7 weeks. His stomach was quite upset the first night of treatment, but his doctor has given him meds for that and he's been doing better during the night.

The chemo and radiation caused a lot more swelling in his brain, though, so the last couple of days have been difficult. He was having a lot of trouble concentrating and his mobility was almost non-existent, but just last night and today, his cloudiness seems to be lifting a bit--most likely due to the doctor increasing his steroid consumption. He's still seeing physical, occupational and speech therapists during the week, but his energy levels are down, so they've decreased the frequency and length of the visits.

We're attempting a trip to Columbus tomorrow, his birthday, to see his favorite band the Wolfe Tones. Cate and Don are driving down from Cleveland, Matt doesn't have to work, and we're all coming from Toledo, so here's hoping it's a successful venture for all! 

2.13.06 by Dan

Hey all, just a brief update

 Mom and I took him to the Oncologist on Friday, they have a treatment program of chemo and radiation therapy. Mom wanted to wait until we had a second opinion to proceed. Luckily, the Cleveland Clinic called that same morning to schedule an appointment with them.

An appointment was set up for this am at 10. Cate, mom and dad are there now. I’ll let you know what is decided, I imagine his treatment regimen will be set up over the next few days. 

Dad came home from St. Charles on Saturday afternoon. He slept very well that night in his own bed. He gets around pretty well, but he needs a little guidance here and there. His vision has improved considerably, he was reading off road signs on the Friday trip to the doctor almost as soon as I could. His left side peripheral vision has not improved though – we’re hoping that changes. He’s pretty clear mentally, but he has a hard time concentrating – trying a crossword puzzle is still a little out of reach.

 I’ll probably give another update early next week once we find out what is decided for his treatment.

2.06.06 by Dan

Hey all, I saw dad this weekend. He’s been moved to St. Charles, a rehabilitation facility in Toledo.

He has improved quite a bit over the past few days. He’s coherent about 80% of the time, with moments of confusion. But if he gets confused over something, you can give him a hint or two and he’s able to reason it through on his own. It’s mostly short term memory stuff – forgetting he just ate, or just went for a walk.

One of the standard treatments after brain surgery is to prescribe dilantin, an anti-seizure medication. And one of the more common side effects from that is mental confusion. So at this point it’s hard to tell if his confusion is still from the surgery or from the dilantin.
Shaunn has been prescribed this in the past when he’s been in the hospital – and the confusion he’s experienced is a lot like what George is currently having. 

I’m not sure how long they’ll prescribe that for him. But I think we can expect the confusion to continue until they wean him off it. That’s my expert medical opinion, which is backed up by my total lack of medical training.

He’s well enough to complain about the lack of coordination between his various rehab treatments – they run him all over the hospital during the day. He said that the daily schedule they have for him is more of a suggestion than a timetable of events.

He’ll probably be there for at least another 1-2 weeks before returning home.

2.02.06 by Dan

Well, I have some more information today on my dad, so I figured this is a good time for an update. 

He was doing quite well the day after surgery, but over the next few days, the normal side effects of the surgery set in. He became pretty confused and had a hard time relating to his surroundings. (example – last saturday, Patrick, Don, Shaunn and myself went to visit him. He had difficulty for a few seconds realizing who we were, then he seemed to remember. For the rest of the visit, he kept leaning over to fumble with the leg of his chair. Mom finally asked what he was doing, and he said he was trying to keep his beer bottle from getting knocked over. Maybe he saw all of us and assumed he was home.) 

The confusion is expected, and is due to swelling which sets in after the procedure. He’s starting to get better, and he is able to talk more clearly and remember things that have happened since the surgery, such as conversations he’s had. Essentially, his brain grew accustomed to the tumor, and learned to work around it. Now that most of it has been removed, his brain has to re-learn some of the pathways that were lost. But he’s still George, which is the best thing - he’s just a little slow on recalling things. This is where therapy comes in, which is the next phase. He’s being moved to a facility in Toledo that specializes in physical/occupational/speech therapy. He’s supposed to be taken there today. How long he will be there is not known yet, I guess they need to see how he progresses.  

For the cancer treatment itself, chemo and radiation therapy will both probably be needed. He may be treated either in Toledo or at the Cleveland Clinic, depending on what treatment options are available at each place. That will be decided once we meet with the oncologist in the next week or two. 

Mom is holding up, but she’s been going non-stop since last week. She’s giving updates as she gets them, but new information has been slow since the weekend. We’re going to start relieving her in shifts. She’s been pretty stressed, but (off the record) she’s realizing she can’t go it alone. She needs support and encouragement now, as this has all been a lot to take in.