Bill Looking At Fifty Year Old 8mm Film Of Our Dogs

Bill is doing well folks. He's still very weak and will never be the Bill he was before his two strokes in January but we're managing. 

He no longer has open, weeping wounds in his lower legs from his edema. He still has that edema but his condition has improved and not gotten worse, which is what we feared.

His hospice nurse visits us in person every other week and by phone on alternating weeks. She is very helpful unlike the health aid workers who, although they meant well, were more disruptive than helpful.

I think Bill's edema leg condition has been helped by his daily walking and me cleaning his legs and feet every morning with anti-bacterial soap. 

Bill still needs help showering and with his bathroom needs. He gets confused with the dressing and undressing but has improved. A lot of his problem has to do with this cognitive ability, which is noticeably deteriorated since his strokes, but he tries which I have to give him a lot of credit. God bless him. 

Because of his swallowing problem, I have to feed him pureed food. Yesterday it was pureed carrot ginger soup (very good my the way). Most days his diet consists of oatmeal twice a day, which he loves. He snacks on cheese balls, which I know isn't the best for him but he does enjoy them. He also loves chocolate milk which I make from chocolate syrup rather than buy the store bought chocolate milk. A treat at the end of the day is usually one of those pudding cups. 

Both of us have lost weight. I'm finally down to the 160 range (162 yesterday). For the longest time I was hovering about 175, which I'm not comfortable with. Most of my life, since I graduated from high school, I've weighed 160 lbs. I've gone as low as 145 lbs (which is much too low) and my highest weight was 204 (not good either). Funny thing about losing weight though, even though I have lost those extra pounds my body isn't looking any better. The weight that's left has shifted around. Not a good look. That's why you won't be seeing any current photos of me in a Speedo (God, can you imagine THAT photo?).

But enough about me. I shower Bill with love and attention all day which also seems to help stabilize his health. I am so glad he is home and not in some facility, where surely he wouldn't survive for very long. They would have him so drugged up that he would be in a zombie like state most of the time. Now I know why when I have visited friends and relatives in those facilities, why most of them were sitting in their chairs with heads drooped down on their chests. That's how the people who run those facilities control their patients who are agitated.

One problem though that is cropping up is Bill's speech. He's starting to slur a lot and at times I can't understand what he's saying. He doesn't realize he's slurring his speech. And I don't want to make him feel bad. A few years back, when we were visiting our friend Bob McC. at the assisted care facility where he was warehoused, Bill couldn't understand Bob. Bill told me he couldn't go back anymore and visit Bob because it was too upsetting for him to see Bob like that. Unfortunately, it seems that Bill is going down that same path. We'll manage though. Could be a lot worse. I always say to myself, at least Bill's not in pain.

Note on the video at the beginning of this blog. I recently digitized fifty year old 8mm films of our time when we lived in Center City Philadelphia and moved to the country in Downingtown, PA (a suburb of Philadelphia). I'm showing these videos to Bill while he's still here to enjoy them. Sad watching them but more proof that we've had a very good and long life. Hard to imagine these videos are fifty years old. I'll be posting more of them. 


VRCooper said…

Glad to see that Bill is up and about. Yes, he is not his former self but HE IS moving. That's the key.

Maybe consider a mini whiteboard to help in the communication. I don't know if Bill can write but that is an option to help keep the communication lines open. Just a word or two so that you can get the just of what he is saying. Just couch it in a way that you want to understand what his needs are and you want him to HELP YOU.

Be well and keep moving forward.

Travel said…
Loving care, makes a lot of difference in quality of life. At that point in life, eat anything he wants, if he can eat it, it is better then not eating.
Ron said…
Appreciate the suggestion of a whiteboard to communicate will Bill but his eyesight is so bad he couldn't read it. I'm getting used to repeating myself three, four and five times to communicate with him. I lean down and talk into his ear. Even then he doesn't understand me right away because of his cognitive problem but eventually he clicks in. One day at a time. Could be a lot worse.
Ron said…
Travel (David),
So right, at least he's eating. We just had another discussion about that a few minutes ago. I served him pureed carrot soup but he wants his oatmeal twice a day. Says it helps him with his bowel movements. Oatmeal it is.
Anonymous said…
HI Ron
Might I suggest that the Hospice nurse may have some contact with a Speech and Language Pathologist who could provide you with large print picture visuals for Bill---almost like hieroglyphics? Large 8 x 10 picture cues may help in communication because it takes out the need to hear but also because it is visual it allows him to use a different part of his brain to process the information. You may not need them at this point but if his hearing worsens it may help in the future. Sometimes people use them to help with the schedule of the day (time to eat, time to shower etc) and even portions of the routine (ex pants down, pants up etc).
I really loved watching Bill watch the old videos, it was vey sweet---and probably good for his brain!
Take care
"Tommy" said…

Bill and You are very blessed from what I have seen in the men of our age group and on to the later years....

I commend you for coping about every matter ... than impacts halls daily lives

Catrina said…
When my grandma had two strokes, her speech really suffered. She tried a speech pathologist who helped, but my Mom’s brilliant idea helped the most. She told Grandma that she thought her hearing was suffering so if Grandma would speak slowly and clearly maybe that would help Mom. Rather than having another issue to deal with, Grandma thought she was helping her daughter.
Ron said…
Maybe because of his strokes is why Bill is having trouble speaking. I can still understand him, it just takes more effort on my part. That in addition to having to repeat myself often because of his hearing loss (even with his hearing aids) and his cognitive that he doesn't understand what I'm saying at first. I'm adjusting. Just like this morning, another "bathroom" issue. He's not quite making it to the bathroom in time. My Mother had a similar problem the months before she died. I see a pattern here.
Thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said…
Glad things are stable. Enjoy memory lane. It improves the mood. You might ask the nurse if adding a little flavorless protein powder tot the oatmeal might be considered. Just a thought.

Ron said…
Traveling down Memory Lane always saddens Bill but there is also good. Ironically I don't think he ever saw these 8mm films before. We take the films and never watched them. I wonder how many people have done that? I've posted them all to YouTube. Those memories now will be there for the ages.
Ur-spo said…
You two are so fortunate to have each other.
Ron said…
That we are. And I know another couple who are fortunate to have each other, you and Someone.
nitewrit said…

Thanks for finding out about your cousin for me. Sad though. I am glad we talk almost every morning, while I still can.

Ron said…
You're doing well for your condition. I predict you'll outlive us all.

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