Finding a Nursing Home

2010 April - May

Created by Tom on 08/05/2010
. Friday, April 30, 2010 Friends, Karen is in good spirits, thinking and talking clearly now that she is more rested and hydrated. I'm staying over in the hospital tonight in order to be here to talk with the doctor when she comes by at an undetermined time in the morning. Les and I looked at nursing homes today and found what seems to be a very good one (seemingly verified by one of the hospital nurse aides who used to work for them) in Southwest Eugene, so Karen should be there in a few days. There is a bus stop right in front of it with buses nearly every hour even on Sundays, so that should work fine for me. Karen is rehydrated from IV and eating liquids and blended foods but not pooping so her bowel blockage may have closed up again (she won't have IV in the nursing home). She wants to have some rehab to strengthen her legs and arms, which this nursing home offers, and she can go back into hospice there whenever she wants to without changing rooms. The place is in a more wealthy part of town, a hilly wooded area, and the room she will have is private with a great woodsy view (sometimes there are even deer going by). The building's decor is quite aesthetic compared to the other places we visited, very clean, seemingly good competent, open people. If things are as they seem, these folks will take care of Karen's basic daily needs (food, bathing, turning, etc.) that so overwhelmed Les and me. Given the likely absence of much nutrition (due to the blockage) I expect she will go on hospice within a week, but she may push it further with her new will to live. We shall see. At least the major stresses seem to have lifted for now. I expect to spend 2-4 hours a day most days with her and to start rebuilding the rest of my life and going over her stuff so I can deal with it well when she dies. But I also know that, as much as it looks like we've made a breakthrough, I don't know what will happen next. As usual… Thanks to all who have supported me/us in any way during these trying times. Love, Tom PS (sent to only one friend): Sunday, May 2, 2010: I stayed overnight at the hospital on Friday night in order to be able to talk with Karen's oncologist in the morning. Twice in the middle of the night Karen, drugged on sleep meds, tried to go to the bathroom herself to pee, dragging all her IV and stomach tubing with her, setting off alarms and bringing multiple nurses running. It is hard to see her becoming incompetent, a confused old woman. On Saturday morning her oncologist said she probably has 7-10 days left once she's off of IV (which happened that day). I spent the last 24 hours mostly in bed at home, reading a book that has nothing obvious to do with any of this, feeling numb and thoroughly uninspired.