Archives for July 2011

My Dad is Home, Now for the Hard Part

For those who don’t follow me on Twitter (@davidbenj) or Facebook (facebook.com/davidbenj) you might not know what I’ve been up to the last few weeks. You may also be wondering why I haven’t updated my blog since Father’s Day. Here’s the story, and like my previous blog post it has to do with my dad.

On 30 June my dad fell and broke the fourth cervical vertebrae. He also sustained some wicked cuts on his forehead and the bridge of his nose. The doctors also thought he had a concussion. For the first 12 days, he was in the hospital, then he moved to a skilled nursing facility so he could do physical therapy. It has been difficult on all of us. Eliz, my mom, and I have spent many hours at the hospital and skilled nursing facility. At least one of us was with him from around 10.00am until 8.00pm. Some days a little more and a couple days a little less. Eliz has spent more time in the car, ferrying my mom to the hospital in the morning and taking her home at the end of the day. We’ve put about 1300 miles on the car since my dad entered the hospital, which is about 35% above what we normally average for a time period.

For the first week, my dad had a very restricting cervical collar and was unable to eat or drink. Even swallowing was extremely difficult. Once he received his current collar, he began eating and drinking again. Anything he eats has to be soft or pureed. Let me tell you, pureed lasagna is not pretty. Liquids have to be thickened. At the hospital and skilled nursing facility, this, of course, was all prepared for him.

My dad was discharged from the skilled nursing facility yesterday and all of us were happy, though my dad was a bit worried. “Who’s going to do all of the things the nurses did for me?” he asked. My mom told him she would. Eliz and I lend a hand too.

The toughest part is the food. Everything has to be pureed. Unfortunately, the normal food isn’t that great at Maris Grove, so my parents didn’t want to pay extra to have “special” food brought in for my dad. So my mom gives Eliz and I a list and we go to the market for her. I’m pretty sure I’d be living on fruit smoothies and protein drinks, because things like pureed chicken just aren’t appetizing to me. We also help my dad walk around the apartment, though with each passing day he is relying on us a little less. Today, he walked from the den to the kitchen, rinsed out a glass and then walked into the bedroom. He never called for my mom to help him. The physical therapist said he shouldn’t walk without having someone close by.

We only spent a couple of hours with my parents today after running to Fresh Market and Acme for them. My dad was in good shape today and seems to be getting stronger everyday. My mom is happy that he is home and doesn’t mind blending everything. Now I’m looking for a Super Bass-O-Matic 76…

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