Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Nights alright for Fightin...get a little action here

Suzanne and I are with Dad tonight at HH. Dad was dressed in Khakis and an oxford shirt. He looked great and dressed for the occasion. I took Suzanne to Mama Z's in Tontitown to fill her in on the situation so she would be ready for what she was going to see. Dad seems to have great fears at night....almost every night he thinks he is going to die. He has expressed that every day I have seen him since Wednesday.
He and Suzanne looked at photos from old times and Suzanne gave Dad a foot massage. Dad was in good mood all week.
I will have her author the next blog so you get her impressions and thoughts from the trip.

I have been relaying all your thoughts, cards, prayers to Dad as they have been coming in. Thanks for the positive energy.


Kind Words

John was the only person in the world who would willingly take me to the airport.
Remember, he lived here. I feel like we are related to tell the
truth! I do say prayers for him, and will continue. You are great children to take such good care of him. Tell him hello for me (and Susie who lived across the hall from where he recently
lived in Evergreen). Yes, John didn't care if I called him early in
the morning when my planes were delayed...And, he was first and
foremost (and is) a GENTLEMAN, who really loved his mother. He used to
talk about her, and mail her things as I watched!

Love to John,
JoAnne Braley, and my little dog, Baby

Thursday, April 29, 2010

GMC HS Class of 53

Here is a note from Bill Curry-------

Yes, your blog address now works, and has been forwarded to the GMC H.S. class of '53 which is a tight group.

Your father was a special member of our class and we treasure him. We lived next door to each other in M'ville when your grandfather and my father worked at the M'ville State Hospital (aka GA Insane Asylum) back in the early '50's.

So Steve, you and and your uncle Pat and George are not alone - call or e-mail when the class of '53 can help -


Classmate Bill - for the GMC H.S. Class of '53

The Good The Bad The Ugly

Good.....Dad was eating and looking ok today and was getting excellent care. After meeting with the doctor he agreed to keep Dad in the HH facility until next Tuesday. We will review at that time the next move (if any) is needed. The social worker told us that she did not believe he would have to move, but we are planning for worse case scenario.

The Bad......We weighed Dad. He now weighs 115. If you recall, he weighed 121 when we entered him into the facility on Saturday. This is the main reason he is getting to stay in HH at this point. He is losing 1 pound per day.

The Ugly....We are probably going to see a decline over time after the visits from Suzanne and Stuart. He is excited for the company, but still there will be a downturn after they leave. Also, if Dad is staying in HH and it is not being covered by Medicare, the daily cost to us is $180. This could become a reality very quickly. This will have to be a discussion that we have early next week. I also requested for Stuart to bring the car title up this weekend in case we need to sell the vehicle before he passes away. It is not good for it to sit idle and Dad will never drive again. It depends on his mood.....not so sure its a good item to discuss this weekend due to the finality.

Dad has a patch on his neck that is helping to dry out his mouth. This will relieve him of all the coughing and congestion he has been dealing with every day after mealtime. He is struggling to eat and his shirt probably gets more food than his stomach. Its a real sad state of affairs on the nutrition side of the house.

On the sunny side of the house......Melissa and I are taking the dogs up to his room tonight for some pet therapy. I am trying to see Dad as much as possible since I have to leave on a business trip this Sunday.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Visited Dad today after receiving phone call from him. He had not picked up the phone in a weeks time, so this was a shocker. He was calling concerning a question about his Sprint Bill. It was hard to understand him on the phone, so Melissa went to HH at lunch. Dad was sitting up in the barcolounger chair (this is the first time he has been out of bed since he left our house on Saturday). He also had a visit from a minister at his request today.
We completed the paperwork to release Dad from his apartment by May 28. There was a waiting list at Evergreen, so we are happy that his unit will go to someone in need.
We are having a family meeting tomorrow with his physician. More details on that tomorrow.

The plan is to take Dad's walker up to HH and get him back to walking and being more mobile. Pray for him to have the strength.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Evening

Melissa and I are here at HH tonight. Dad is in good spirits. We are watching a movie called "Hard Knox" starring Robert Conrad, the infamous guy with the battery on his shoulder. Dad is now taking steriods and some kind of swish and swallow (Pink Magic) medicine. This is to increase his appetite and ease his swallowing.
Right now he is bedbound other than assistance to the bathroom or shower. He is also having his dressing changed every day.
Dad is also taking periodic morphine pills. Dad always says that is what they give people who are dying...not sure if he is being funny or not.
We are not sure on Dad's release from this site.....we are going to have a family consult with Dr. Pacl. We want to try to keep Dad at HH till after Suzanne's visit. This would give him some regularity and would not disrupt his care.
That is all the news for today.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Monday

Went to go see Dad this morning at HH. He was sleeping peacefully when I arrived. The nurse, Roger (not Fokker), came in when I was in the room and took Dad's vitals. The orderly came in soon after with breakfast. Of course, Dad was not happy with the meal (cream of wheat). Instead, we arranged for eggs to be subsituted. I put some cheese on top and salt and pepper and we had a happy customer. He also likes his coffee, so I took care of that part. Dad was able to walk to the bathroom and back unattended, so that was a positive.
He had some memory issues last evening. He did not remember seeing Melissa and he also had a moment that he still thought the dogs were in his room (he could only be so lucky). I don't know if this is from lack of nourishment, blood flow restriction or something worse. The regular doctor was going to make his rounds today. This should allow us to get more complete information.
I helped dress Dad and I can only describe it as what you would see in WW II concentration camp photos. There is nothing left in regards to muscle tone. He is very simply skin and bone. I have also seen a return of something on the side of his neck (left hand side). Will get more details as we know of these situations.
Its been extremely emotional lately and very tough to witness his demise. Please pray for us to continue to show strength to Dad. He is a safe and caring place. If he is released soon I am going to set him up back in the home. We will secure nursing assistance to cover the periods that we are not there.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday night

Went to see your dad tonight. He was very sleepy so I only stayed until about 8pm. I did get a chance to visit with the nurses aide Debra who was also on duty last night. She noticed that John wasn't as spunky as he was Saturday night. John normally enjoys joking with the staff but this has gotten harder since his voice isn't cooperating. The medical director for hospice will be making rounds tomorrow morning. Steven and I will contact him to see what he suggests. Once we get more information we will pass it on.

Suzanne, your dad got the card yesterday afternoon. I read it to him and he was very touched. He has the pictures of Brooke and the card at the hospice home. Also the family pictures that we had in his room at our house we took for his room at hospice.


Uncle George's photo

As luck would have it, I actually have an original copy of this photo. I scanned it and added the caption from the newspaper below. I think Dad looks quite dapper and agree this is a great photo. Thank you Uncle George for sharing.

LIEUTENANT JOHN W ROGERS a former resident of Milledgeville, Ga., currently legal officer of the 3rd Brigade at Fort Ord, Calif., was presented his sliver bars recently by 3rd Brigade Commander, Col. J.A. Cook upon being promoted to the rank of first lieutenant. The newly promoted officer is the son of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rogers of Milledge Ave., Milledgeville, Ga.

The photo was taken around 1959


Melissa and I went to see Dad at HH. He was up and looked a bit better. He was just about to eat....and the nurse brought the forbidden food.....pureed meal #1. He waved it away. Luckily Melissa had packed Tomato soup.....of course we added cheese to the top (one of the items we never forget from our childhood,,,,Dad adding toppings to soup a la Dean's dandy dinner). He struggles badly after eating anything.....coughs and coughs and coughs. It sounds like someone with pneumonia. After he ate we watched the movie "The Sniper"....he was extremely happy to see it and had been asking me to play it since last night. We then snuck the dogs into the room so Dad could feed them carrots. It was like a zoo in the room for a brief period. Don't know who had a better time-the dogs or dad?
Dad went to sleep after the movie and the hounds and I left around 4:30. We plan to return for dinner.
I think if he continues to progress and we can get him up walking he can return to the casa. To be seen.


Teach Mom and Brian how to post their pictures......we wanna see em.

Brian needs a picture


I see you have joined the blog. How about a handsome photo of yourself so we can see your mug?

Hospice House-Circle of Life

We transported Dad to Hospice House last night via EMS. I had never been there before, but was blown away by the facility. Picture a very nice hotel and that would be close. I will try to get a picture or two of the place. Or, for those of you that are web savvy......try is in the one that is listed at Har-Ber Meadows in Springdale, Arkansas.
The goal of hospice is to provide comfort and manage and eliminate any pain Dad is experiencing. We do not expect Dad to be at this facility more than a few days. Our hope is that we are able to get him back to the house before Suzanne's visit next weekend. One shocker-Dad was weighed last night.....121 lbs.
We watched a movie last night with Dad..."Gods and Generals". He liked it due to the many towns in Virginia that are referenced in the early portion of the film...towns like Harpers Ferry and Fredericksburg.
Dad is going to Hospice House for a tune-up. We are trying to get him to the point that he can walk on his own and handle day to day living. He was very emotional when we first discussed moving him to HH. He begged us not to leave him there. I promised not to leave him there. I just hope he helps me to deliver on that promise. There is a tremendous weight of guilt felt when your Dad is crying and begging you not to abandon him.
We will be taking the two dogs up to HH today and hopefully he can see them in the parking lot .... he has grown attached to Izzy. Cyrus can stay Dad says, there are good cats and he is not one of them. He likes to get in stare-downs with Dad to intimidate him.........I just say he is mean.
Thanks for the comments, e-mails and cards / mail. Now is the time to really express how you feel. None of us know how long he has to live and we need to make sure we leave nothing undone.
Bobbie......we talked at length about those two shadow boxes you had made for Dad. If we could have those sent up here it would mean a lot. I am referring to the one with the military awards and the other that have work references from Union Carbide, the cufflinks from Mexico etc. It would also be nice to have his Baby book and the Scrapbook that Elise made him.
Doyle.....he talked about you all last night. You have really made an impression on his life.....more than you even know.
We have Dad's phone here at the house. He does not have it with him at the facility. If he starts communicating better we can get him to start returning some calls....I am sure everyone wants to talk to a live person. We will take the phone up today and play the voice mails. Hopefully they will boost his energy level.
Thanks.....more later today.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Bad day turns Worse

We are admitting Dad to Hospice House tonight. He is unsafe right now. We have adverted several potential falls. He is also very sick to his stomach. Stuart and is time to address the apartment issue. Dad will not be returning to Dallas to his apartment. Please contact Diane at Evergreen on Monday. We will be faxing a DR's letter on Monday to release Dad of his obligation .....we will still have to pay for May.
This could be a temporary situation at Hospice House. Time will tell. Bobbie is currently taking care of Dad's mail. It was being held at the Post Office. If you want to send it up here to 40 W Prospect Fayetteville, AR 72701 we would greatly appreciate it. At least this way we can take care of any bills that need to be addressed.

Very bad day

Please do not call Dad's phone.......there have been 8 missed calls today alone....the phone is sitting in the kitchen and Dad is 50 ft away downstairs. He is having a very bad day. Stomach is upset and he looks the worst I have ever seen him.

He is not doing well. Communicate via the blog or e-mail. DO NOT CALL. We will let you know if the situation changes. I know you want to talk to him, but that is just not going to happen anytime soon.

Anybody out there?

Sometimes I wonder if this blog is read.......we have been doing this for a week and we have three comments by the Larke's and the rest by this a waste of time and effort? If so, let us know via the blog or e-mail and we will pick another form of communication.

If you haven't figured it out yet, Dad ignores 99% of the phone calls to his cell hurts to talk and he can't effectively that tool is frustrating. The more you call it, the more frustrated he becomes.

As his caregivers we are more than happy to relay messages to Dad. Its easiest to do it from notes on email or the Blog. Otherwise, the calls and care are consuming every waking minute we have.

Raindrops Keep Falling on our heads

Its a gloomy Saturday here in the Ozarks. Much needed rain has fallen all night and into the morning. Its 10am and no Dad in site. He is sleeping in I suppose. We don't get to see him in the mornings due to work schedules, so I suppose it must be like this more than not.
It has been very disturbing to see Dad this way. He is very little other than skin and bones. Any kind of fall is going to be traumatic. He is difficult to understand. Everything he says has to be repeated at least once, if not multiple times. He struggles taking pills, drinking fluids, and eating. Half of what goes down comes back up. He complains about throat pain, but has not relied on too many pain pills in the past two days.
We are trying to resist the urge to wait on Dad hand and foot. He will allow you to be at his beckon call if you are nearby. Foods are prepared for one bite. He likes the idea of the food, but cannot eat it when it is prepared. Ensure is the only food item he can seem to get down his throat, but half of the calories come back up.
This is really no way to live. He has become a prisoner of the house. He cannot enjoy the things he loves...eating, driving, having freedoms.
All in all, the multiple surgeries have left Dad's body broken and empty. The lack of nutrition over the past 1.5 years has not aided in fighting disease or recovery. How long does he have? We really don't know, but based on what the past week has shown, it won't be pretty if we can't improve his weight.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hospice information visit

The social worker from Circle of Life Hospice came out today to meet with your dad,Steven and I. He wanted to think about it at this point. Hospice would be the best decision based on his medical need at this time. They can address his physical and emotional needs.

His nutrition status is the biggest issue at this point, not the cancer. Dr. Randy Shinn, the geriatrician here, feels that if John can drink 3 ensures a day that would be the best thing to improve his nutrition. A feeding tube at this point is not an option. We meet again with Dr Shinn on Monday and then will go to wound care after that. Most likely he will sign on with hospice Tuesday.

John has been in a good mood while he has been here. He is frustrated that it is hard for him to talk and eat. He is not been answering phone calls because of this. We are hoping that everyone will have an idea about how things are going by referring to the blog. John is really looking forward to Suzanne coming next weekend. We are too. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

More News Later Today

We are meeting with hospice at 3pm today (Friday)......more details after the meeting.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Update from Dr visit and other items of interest

Dad seems to be comfortable. He is actually using the cane to get around the house, including up and down the stairs. Dad started Remeron last night. This is an appetite stimulant and an anti-depressant. It can also promote restful sleep. We are taking him back to the wound care center today at 1pm. The plan is to meet with Hospice on Friday at 3pm to discuss palliative care management, etc. The follow-up appointment with Dr Shinn is scheduled for next Monday at 1pm. The feeding tube issue is going to be a topic of conversation. This is a very difficult conversation right now (worse than the walker/cane item). Dad's answer is to go to hospital to get an IV. That is not a good plan.
Suzanne is exploring the potential of coming to see Dad the weekend of May 1-2. To be decided later I am sure. She has booked flights.
Dad eats soups and small dabs of other items, but is struggling with swallowing and pain associated with any type of nutrition.
Dad is in a decent mood. He is fairly conversational and his mind is clear. He did go outside yesterday for the first time on the rooftop garden. Small steps!

The skys erupted

Probably overdramatic....but, Dad got his first bath last night in a very long time. He had a pretty good day. Spent a good portion of the day on the computer and also watched the movie "Precious". I don't think he liked it very much, but at least it was some form of entertainment. Today (Wednesday) we go to wound care at 1pm.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

We're Back....unfortunately.

Dad arrived safely in Arkansas yesterday (Saturday). As I type, Dad is laying down in the living room sleeping on the couch. He has spent 50% of today sleeping. He does not eat much, but we have been monitering his Ensure and regular diet since he arrived. He struggles keeping food down and does not do well swallowing his pain pills. We have the heat on the entire bottom floor of the house and he wears jackets and afghans constantly. With less than 10% body fat, it is a fact of life---he is cold all the time. He has not been outside in over 24 hours because of the cold (Its probably 60-70 degrees).
Dad is going to see Dr. Randy Shinn tomorrow. Melissa changed the bandages today and the wound looked good, but much more concave than I had remembered. It is pink instead of the black scab I witnessed last time.
We have not heard the anger and sarcasm yet. He has been even tempered and fairly pleasant. He seems very disturbed that over 300k was spent for so little. But, there is no doubt he knows his limitations.
The biggest watch-out right now is trips and falls. He refuses to use the aid of a walker or a cane. Very frustrating.
More tomorrow after the visit with Dr Randy.

Welcome Back!