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onward into Fall [Sep. 28th, 2016|11:10 pm]
Good news from New Jersey. Dad is able to stand up (for a couple seconds) and move with much more ease. His home health nurse just re-certified him for sixty more days of home care, which includes the physical therapy and occupational therapy that have helped so much. He's on course to walk again, and I hope it does happen.

On Sunday, I visited a small organic farm that's just over a mile away from my dad's house. I walked home with some eggplant, and about six different types of tomatoes- everything is delicious! I wish I'd gone earlier. The farmer encouraged me to come back and pick anything I'd like to have. Last night, I diced and roasted one of the eggplant with a few tomatoes, pureed it with a little bit of sugar, then baked the sauce on fresh pizza dough. My dad loved it, and asked for a second helping (his first request for seconds since I've been here). This morning, I walked to the Italian bakery about two miles from home and got fresh rolls for tomato sandwiches. Also good! It sure is nice to enjoy free fresh food.
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The weather is cooling a little [Sep. 19th, 2016|02:28 am]
Dad let me push his wheelchair outside for a few blocks, so I could mail a letter (my change of address form to register me for the November election). He's brightening up a bit. There's so much to be mindful about- good nutrition, protein supplements, staying hydrated with lots of water, upper body exercises, leg exercises, stretching, his medication, his moods... it's tough to keep on top of everything.

If I had $20,000 (or more) to spare, I'd hire daily nursing care for him, get myself tickets to see Diane Lane in the current Broadway adaption of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchid", and take some trips to the beach before the weather gets cold. New shoes, too. Alas, it's not to be.

It's amazing how many people I know in NJ who plan to vote for Donald Trump. It's generally a 50/50 mix of long-time Republicans who vote their party ticket regardless of the candidate, and people whose hatred for Hillary Clinton burns with the heat of a thousand suns. Occasionally, I meet a person who is hoping Trump brings on armageddon, forcing whoever survives to start over and hopefully do better.
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News from New Jersey [Sep. 18th, 2016|12:56 am]
Tonight, my dad told me, "I want to thank you. You saved my life. I almost died." It was nice to get that acknowledgement, because it's been a long slow recovery process.

He is building his strength slowly. Tonight, he and I sat together and watched the 1942 film adaption of "The Jungle Book". Dad stayed awake for the whole movie, and commented on the action. Then, we watched an episode of "Sanford and Son" (I related to the son's struggles with his ornery dad), and an episode of "Night Court" that had dad laughing out loud. It's good to have these fun moments with him. In the past few months, I have sometimes been reluctant to send updates to our relatives because I don't think anyone wants to hear, "He's about the same. Kind of hanging in there, and sometimes miserable." It's nicer to have some good news to report.
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Farewell, August [Aug. 31st, 2016|09:42 pm]
[Current Mood |exhausted]

My biggest challenge lately has been trying to figure out how everyone can get enough sleep. Leg cramps have been waking my dad up and making him howl with pain. We tried one new medication that had too many awful side effects, and after we finish easing him off it, we have another prescription on board to try.

I've been taking little breaks- going for walks, and occasionally catching a movie. I reconnected with an old friend from grade school, and we meet up every few weeks. Although Facebook has shifted its ads to show me all kinds of happenings in NYC, I'm not in a position to swan into the city for very long. I did nip in to have the Swatch store in Times Square change the battery of my watch for me. I also bought some comic books, ate some street food & enjoyed the bus ride back and forth. $7 each way.

Dad's recovery is very slow and we all get discouraged. One of his oldest friends came by for a visit with his wife, and she whispered to me, "I don't see a light at the end of this tunnel. What are you going to do?" I'm planning to stick it out here in the short term. Dad's therapists think he will regain more strength and mobility if he continues to exercise. The better I can get him, the more options he'll have in the future. He may need to move into a nursing home, but if he can walk in there, or at least sit up and pull himself to his wheelchair, more places will be willing to accept him and he won't spend his days waiting for someone else to get him out of bed.
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Wishes [Aug. 14th, 2016|09:45 pm]
I wish this month was easier. My Dad is often (though not always) miserable and resistant to being helped. He needs constant attention, and is afraid to be left alone.

I wish it was a little cooler, too. I appreciate a hot summer, but there's currently an excessive heat warning in New Jersey. It's miserable outside.

I wish I had more of a long-term, big picture, plan for everything.
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Yesterday everything went wrong. [Jul. 28th, 2016|10:41 am]
Crazy day yesterday.

A nurse came to evaluate Dad for home health care, and became so sick the agency had to send someone to drive her to the emergency room. At one point, she was vomiting uncontrollably until she blacked out with her head on our dining room table. A few moments later, she lifted her head, looked me in the eye and said, "I feel like I'm dying."

There was a big mix-up with Dad's medication, and I ended up walking to & from a place about 2 miles from home in 95F heat to get his medication, only to be told it wasn't there. Got sunburned.

Dad hated what I cooked him for dinner, and he's still dangerously thin, so I cracked up and we got into a yelling argument.

Then, Dad was restless and moaning "Help me" all night last night. All. Night. Ugh.
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Endless Summer (not in a good way) [Jul. 24th, 2016|09:02 am]
Ugh. I met one of my stepmother's friends and she chirped out, "Now, you're back! No more Canada!" That was when I realized that my stepmother might think I'm going to spend the rest of my life living with her and my Dad to take care of him. Yikes!

One of the women who works at my Dad's rehab told me, "You're so lucky you don't have to work" and I sure am fortunate to be able to take a few months off work, but it's a trade off. I'm sacrificing some of my own plans (or at least keeping them on ice). I wish there was some kind of crystal ball that would let me anticipate what kind of care my Dad will need in the future.
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Final week of rehab [Jul. 20th, 2016|10:52 pm]
Overheard at the rehab:
Woman #1: Did you know they put me here?
Woman #2: Yes. That's why I came here.

I am so tired of that place!
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July news [Jul. 17th, 2016|09:45 pm]
Dad is still in rehab, but will come home July 26th. He's still not walking well, and I'll need to stick around until he settles into a routine. Our big task in the coming week is to practice getting him in and out of the car, so we know we can do it when he comes home. I'm pretty much at the rehab from 8am to 8pm (the only allowed visiting hours), and he really needs to have someone around pushing him to stay awake and do things.

Most of the people in this place don't have any visitors, and it breaks my heart. The place is short-staffed, to save money for the mother corporation, and the nurses and nurse assistants just can't spend enough time with every patient. 3 times in the last seven days, I've heard about someone falling out of bed and being found hours later. Ugh! There are some lovely people there, but I'll be glad to be rid of the place.
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This place [Jul. 6th, 2016|08:28 pm]
A 25-year-old man was murdered about a block away from my dad's house this week. According to a neighbour we know, the house had been trouble for many years, and the police are usually called there at least once a week. She says, "The neighbourhood is changing! But, we're not going anywhere."

I don't know if I could live in New Jersey permanently. There's just not that much to do here. I do realize that part of the problem is that I'm spending almost all my time at Dad's convalescence home, but it's not a friendly place. I'm remembering all the times I got scolded for saying hello to people on the street as a kid, because that's just not done here. People don't make eye contact or say hello to each other.
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