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Lauren has made his final transition

Such a long/short journey. After a year and a half in the nursing home, Lauren developed a bowel obstruction and was transferred to the hospital on Monday, June 22. Though we originally planned emergency surgery to correct the obstruction, he began to fail pretty rapidly and we decided to cancel the already highly risky surgery. I became convinced there would be a significant further loss of function even if he survived the surgery and his function was already pretty minimal. He was moved into a

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One Year Later: Reflections on Nursing Home Placement, etc.

I do believe today marks the day, one year ago, when Lauren fell in our bathroom once again and began the painful journey through yet one more hospitalization, acute rehab, skilled rehab, and ultimate nursing home placement. It was a second compression fracture in his back that made him unable to come home. He spent November in a skilled unit trying to help him be more mobile. It became clear to me that he was not making enough progress to bring him home safely. December and January were spent i

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Trying to take care of me

Lauren continues to reside in the nursing home. It breaks my heart but I have no other choice so I am trying to make the time as easy on both of us as possible. Of course, he wants to come home but doesn't realize that using a hoyer lift to get in and out of bed and spending most of the day in bed does not lead to home care. Months of physical therapy have gone down the drain because he can't help the aides get him in and out of bed. I really mean he cannot, cognitively, work to help them. He wa

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Ok, an Update

We are going through a transition and I am both re-energized and deeply burdened by it. As some of you might remember, Lauren took himself into the bathroom and tried to make a transfer on his own without the wheelchair brakes locked. He fell and was diagnosed with a compression fracture--the second fracture of this nature since his stroke. (In these fractures there is not actually a bone broken--the vertebra in the affected area of the back are compressed together leaving limited space between

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Looks like the time has come

I know I have been silent lately. I've been doing a lot of reflecting and thinking. A few caregivers here have seen improvements in the cognitive status of their loved ones and seen functional gains, some small and others significant. I've wondered if I was somehow holding Lauren back and not giving him the freedom to succeed. Meanwhile, some cognitive gains and continued hospitalizations for UTI's and assorted problems. One day I am in the kitchen reading the paper. Lauren is in the living room

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Home again

Lauren spent about 4-1/2 weeks in the nursing home getting skilled care. He came home on July 8. Medicare wouldn't continue to pay for his stay because he wasn't making enough progress. It was touch and go there for a while about whether I could bring him home at all. He required two to three people to transfer and he was not doing well in PT either. He always does so much better with me that I was unsure that what I was seeing at the nursing home would carry over to home. One day I asked if I c

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At a Crossroad

I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Lauren just continues to decline. He ended up in the hospital in early June. It was UTI and constipation. His strength and stability were getting really bad. My daughter from two hours away had to come and spend the weekend before he went into the hospital. It took two of us to transfer him. On June 6 he went back into the nursing home for skilled care, getting PT and OT. He has good days and bad days--mostly bad. He twists his back something awful when he stan

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So tired.

Things have been a bit rugged around here lately and I feel so exhausted. I seem to need a nap every day which is very unusual for me. I can't decide if it's the new med for depression or if depression itself is to blame. I actually do not feel depressed. I feel exhausted and weary. I was a lot more irritable with Lauren, which is why I went on the antidepressant to begin with. That part has really been helped by the medication. I talked to my doctor about the tiredness and she said it isn't a c

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Pansies, visitors, and Spring

One of my favorite times is early Spring when I can get the pansies out on my deck. We went to the nursery last week and picked out the pansies but then we had bad storm predictions with hail so I delayed putting them in the pots. Yesterday Lauren's sister and brother-in-law came over to give me some time away and I came home to potted pansies! Wonderful help that made me smile. Pansies always make me smile. They don't last into the hot summer around here but I enjoy them all through Spring. To

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Just another day in the life...

I haven't blogged in a while so thought I'd try to give an update. We are still in recovery mode from that lumbar compression fracture last October. The acute issue is resolved. He's no longer in pain and has returned to pre-fracture condition mostly. He's still getting some outpatient PT. This may be our last week and I'm okay with that. For the first time ever, I think we've reached a point where I can walk with him by myself and manage pulling the wheelchair behind without fear of him falling

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Respite week completed

I took Lauren back to the nursing home for a week so I could have a week of respite. He knows this nursing home from two stays for skilled nursing and they know him, of course. I stayed home for most of the week and went to my daughter's house for the weekend. She lives 2 1/2 hrs away and I hadn't even seen the house they moved into last fall. In order for me to get respite, it was important that I not spend the days visiting Lauren in the nursing home so I arranged visits from family and friend

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SNF, for now

Lauren has been in the skilled nursing home for 2 wks. He was in Acute Rehab in the hospital for 2 wks prior to that. He's gone from not even being able to bend at the waist or stand to walking with a hemi-walker about 12 ft. He's bending pretty freely now and transferring much better. There's still much room for improvement but progress is being made. He's approved by insurance until the 26th so there will be another evaluation then to see if he needs more time. I have received permission to br

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Transition ahead?

I've avoided writing anything for a couple of weeks because I simply didn't know what to write and have been more than a little overwhelmed with what is going on. Lauren's sister came for a few days to give me a holiday. She has done this before a couple of times and it is so appreciated. I always get private duty aides for every night she is with Lauren so she doesn't have to put him to bed and get him up in the morning. A couple of days before I was to return she called me and said she couldn'

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"New Normal"

They say when you learn to live with Stroke, you must find your "new normal". Most of us don't particularly like the aftermath of Stroke and we spend some time resisting the new life we must lead. The only thing I know about "new normal" is that you wave goodbye to it as you speed by on the roadway to wherever Stroke is taking you now.   Lauren had a grand mal seizure yesterday morning and is now back in the hospital getting regulated and dealing with a low blood pressure. The event itself was

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Thinking about catheter vs incontinence

I'm making my first attempt at blogging because I have some decisions to make and could use some input from those who have experienced what we are going through. My husband, Lauren, had a large right sided stroke in Dec of 2010. He has many deficits, is wheelchair level mostly, and requires full time care. He can walk with help of one person and a second to bring up the wheelchair when he tires. He is not strong enough to walk functionally, only to get him up and keep trying to increase his stre

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