Posted by: wrmcnutt | October 28, 2009

Dad Update


The news remains “not good.”  Dad was transferred from the Transitional Care Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital to the Holston Health & Rehabilitation Center, affiliated at St. Mary’s.  Essentially, his insurance would only pay for fifteen days at the TCU, the actuarial tables stating that his condition, if it had not improved by that point, could no longer be considered “transitional,” but instead, well, something else.  So they moved him to the Short Term wing of HH&RC.  I hasten to say that he expressed a strong preference for HH&RC.  They helped him recover after his stroke, and he was very pleased with the service there, so he was not in the least upset with being moved there.

Under his current insurance, he has a maximum of one hundred days at this facility.  Which means he’ll get kicked out by Christmas if he doesn’t recover.  Merry Christmas.  The facility is bright, efficient, and well-staffed as far as I can tell.  Everyone is friendly and appear competent. (How would I know?)  There remains the potential for him to recover, but I have deep concerns.

He continues to lose weight.  It’s become my primary worry.  He complained of a sore throat after the surgery.  I assumed that it was irritation from the breathing apparatus he was hooked up to while he was unconscious.  He bounced back from that process very quickly though, and with the attitude that he was going to eat every bite that they put in front of him.  That’s gone by the wayside.  He’s still trying, but he picks at his food.  If he’s getting 300 calories a meal, I’ll be surprised.  He says that on top of having no appetite, everything tastes bad, and feels nasty on his palate.

To complicate things, he’s lost so much weight that his upper plate does not fit any more, and he can’t keep them in to eat normal food.  Accordingly, he can only eat pureed stuff.  And that’s not very appealing.  He’s got bad acid reflux, and if he tries to eat anything with any seasoning, it sets it off.

I thought “skin and bones” was just an expression, but Dad’s really beginning to resemble those concentration camp survivor photos that you see from the end of World War II.  If he weighs more than 105, I’ll be amazed. (This isn’t quite as catastrophic as it may appear to someone who doesn’t know him.  At his heaviest, dad may have been 155.  In recent years, he’s been weighing in about 120.  But it does mean that he’s got NO reserves.)

He also twitches in his sleep.

I’m going to see his doctor tomorrow and find out what there is to know.

But I have a bad feeling.

UPDATE: Dad has been evacuated from Holston to the emergency room.  He’s become confused and uncommunicative.

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