Posted by: wrmcnutt | November 18, 2009

Dad Update

It’s been a few days, and I thought it would be a good idea to sort of sum up Dad’s situation.

In case I haven’t mentioned it, Dad is out of the hospital now, and has moved back to the Holston Rehabilitation and Recovery Center.  It’s like a rest home, but short term.  His doctor feels that recovering enough to go home and continue to live independently is not an unreasonable goal.  He’s shooting for being able to go home in eight to ten weeks.  His lungs continue to recover, and now he’s off the supplemental oxygen.  He’s quick to get out of breath when he exerts himself, and when I say exert himself, I mean gets out of bed or walks across the room.  But that was expected, and we have hopes that it will improve.

My biggest concern currently is whether or not he will improve enough to live alone again.  We don’t have space to take him in at my house.  It’s just too tiny, and we both work.  If he can’t live alone at his house, living alone at our house is hardly an improvement.  Full time skilled nursing care in Knoxville TN runs about $4500.00 a month.  He doesn’t make that.  He makes about $3500 or so.  And a lot of that is committed to things already.  So there’s no way he can afford it.  He does not have long term care insurance.  His short term care insurance runs out in 79 days. I’m on pins and needles whether he’ll recover in time.

He won’t eat.  He lost the last of his upper teeth a few months before the surgery, and then, with the surgery, he lost a bunch of weight.  Now his upper plate doesn’t fit right, and he can’t chew.  They’ve put him on a soft diet, and he’s essentially refusing to eat it.  Imagine high-school cafeteria food that’s been pureed.  I don’t suppose I’d eat it either.  But he desperately needs to build up his strength and stamina, and that takes fuel.  Three bottles on Ensure, three pints of milk, and a cup of pudding are taking a very long time to do that.  When he was transferred back to  Holston, he told his nursing aide that he’d been waiting to get back to Holston to eat, because he liked the food better than the hospital food.

I wanted to hit him over the head with a cafeteria tray.

He’s out of hospital gowns and wearing sweatsuits, and walking fifty feet twice a day.  He can get out of bed by himself. (He’s still unsteady, so he needs a minder, but he’s now strong enough to do it without help.)  If he can work up enough strength, I might be able to take him out to his dentist and get a new plate fitted.

But he needs to be enough of a grown-up to eat the nasty food that will fuel his body to heal before we can get to that point.


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  1. Wheeeee! Isn’t it fun getting to be “the grown-up”?

    The offer still stands: let me know if there’s anything you think I can cook that he might be willing to eat (squash casserole, etc.) that would be filling and tasty and sufficiently caloric to put some meat on his bones …

  2. banana milkshakes?

  3. we will keep praying, try anything extra protein, like high protein ensure or boost. Have you explained to him that if he wants to live alone he HAS to eat?

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