Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Serious Note

All hilarity aside, Dad did not seem good physically today. He admitted to being tired. His breathing sounded labored and a little wheezy. His color wasn't good, sort of ashen around the face.

I know Dad is not getting good sleep at night, still getting up every hour or so. Bill wants to ask the nurse what to do about that, but Mom is dead set against sleeping pills. She thinks they make Dad say crazy things. (As if he is so consistently lucid otherwise!) Maybe she will be open to a trial run with sleeping pills while Bill is still there. Sleep would be good. For all concerned.

Tales from Sunnyside Rest Home

Subtitle: Life in the Loony Bin

I'm teasing Mom that she is running Sunnyside Rest Home. Today Ev and I went over in the afternoon while Bill went to the dentist for a lost filling. What a hoot!

Aunt Helen could not hold on to my name or who I was today. She has latched on to the idea that I remind her of her daughter Barbie. This idea recurs to her quite regularly. Here is the conversation:

Aunt Helen: You know, you remind me of someone in our family. You remind me so much of my daughter Barbie!

Gwen: That's what I hear.

Aunt Helen: Oh, you have heard that before?

Gwen: Yes.

Aunt Helen: Who has told you that?

Gwen: You have!

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Dad has found an interesting new way to deal with life. While I was there today, I stepped down the hall to make a phone call. When I came back to the den, Dad had unbuttoned his hawaiian shirt. Still sitting in his chair with his therapy belt on, but with his shirt pulled back to either side. What in the world?

Gwen: Hey, Pops, what are you doing?

Dad: I wanted to unbutton my shirt.

Gwen: (feeling forehead) Are you hot?

Dad: No, I just wanted to unbutton my shirt.

Gwen: Do you normally do that?

Dad: Yes, I do every night.

Short silence. I remember the fresh pot of coffee in the kitchen.

Gwen: Would you like some coffee?

Dad: Yes.

Gwen: I'll bring you some coffee if you button your shirt.

So Dad pulled his shirt together and buttoned the middle button. I brought him a fresh hot cup of coffee. The next time I looked over, he had unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it to either side again. So now my dad is an exhibitionist. I should have taken a picture. I will if he keeps it up.

I'm not even going to ask what's next. I don't want to know. Just another day at Sunnyside.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Blog Pool

Well, Aunt Helen is here, safely ensconced at Mom and Dad's, with Brother Bill attending. Should be a very interesting visit. I would describe Aunt Helen's memory at this point as a sieve. She wondered "Didn't we have someone else with us?" when Nate and Ev sat behind Mom and Aunt Helen in the Suburban on the way home. She wonders where Mom is when she goes into the kitchen. Out of sight, out of mind, literally.

I was wondering if we should start a blog pool on how long this visit will last. Cousin M flew in with Aunt Helen, talked with us at the airport, then hightailed it out of there. Aunt Helen doesn't have a return flight. Cousin M recommended a few days; Mom wants three weeks. Any predictions?

I know Mom was not prepared for this drastic change in her beloved sister. She knows Aunt Helen is 95. She knows she has had a stroke in the last year. She knows she has a brain tumor. But still on the way to the airport yesterday, Mom kept insisting Aunt Helen would want to go shopping. And would want to walk distances.

Mom: "Unless she has changed, my sister will want to walk."

Gwen: "I think she has changed, Mom. She had a stroke. She has a brain tumor."

Mom: (Silence.)

Last night in the kitchen, Mom confessed: I can tell Aunt Helen has changed.

I do hope Mom can enjoy what will almost certainly be her last visit with her sister. It is what it is. On the way home from the airport yesterday, Mom was pointing out the crepe myrtles, about the only thing blooming in our summer heat. She was remembering how the wildflowers were blooming for Aunt Helen's previous visit. Aunt Helen sweetly replied:

"My dear sister, it is so nice just to be here with you. That's the main thing, really."

Yes, yes it is.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I'm much too tired to write anything. I'll let this picture from the airport do the talking.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Karis would like to note that she is not my partner in crime. ;)

Hello, Goodbye

Brother Bill is on his way. He should arrive this evening. He is taking over from Loren for the next two weeks. I'll take Loren to the airport tomorrow. I know he needs to go home, but I don't want him to leave. I will miss my Bwudda. I am so thankful for my two big brothers and their dedication to our parents.

Aunt Helen is also on her way. We will pick her up at the airport Sunday afternoon. Mom is thrilled. The kids and I went over this morning to help a little with getting the house ready. The girls dusted and vacuumed. Nate mowed and blew. I threw away very out of date items from Dad's medicine cabinet and tried to scrub mildew from the woodwork. Mom does not have a lot of clutter and keeps the living areas clean, but the back part of the house is slipping. Gayle suggested we start cleaning for Mom weekly. I think we could slip that in under the I-don't-need-help-I-am-capable radar if we go when Nate mows and just stay for a couple of hours.

Dad is some stronger and settled at home, but he is still wobbly. And so hunched over. I don't think I've ever seen him look like a little old man the way he does now. I realize he is too big to fit comfortably in a hospital bed, but he still looks frail. He is doing okay, but hanging by a thread. I really think his hold on independence is tenuous. Dad is still getting up every hour or so in the night. Needing help every time, like a new baby. Except that "caring for children is about celebration and growth. ...Caring for our parents is about grief and loss. ...We start living moment to moment with them, struggling with our own conflicting feelings, trying to be grateful for whatever abilities they still have today, hoping they can continue to manage tomorrow." (Eleanor Cade) Amen.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Review

I've come across a really good book, Taking Care of Parents Who Didn't Take Care of You by Eleanor Cade. The subtitle is Making Peace with Aging Parents. It is not so much a how-to book, more of a philosophy book. I read it with a colored pencil in hand and could fill a journal with the quotes I've highlighted.

Let me explain that my parents were not abusive or physically neglectful. CPS would never knock on our door and see unfit parenting. (Well, maybe that time I was allowed to ride the bus from Tulsa to Oklahoma City by myself sometime before the age of 9, but I guess things were different in the '70s.) My parents generously provided their children with food, clothing, shelter, education, transportation and more.

I do however feel that our family certainly had its fair share of dysfunction. And still has to this day. Thus the relevance of this book. I especially like this bit from the introduction:

"Taking Care of Parents Who Didn't Take Care of You...is about letting go of the past and coming to terms with the present. It's about grieving over what we didn't get and learning to appreciate what we did get. It's about acceptance and making peace. It's about discovering that it's possible to do what has to be done -- and to find healing in the process.

Taking care of our parents is an opportunity. We have the chance to break the cycle of our childhood experience, to let go of whatever neglect and inattention we suffered, and to begin a new era in our family's history. We can discover a gentleness within ourselves as we come to terms with old issues and choose a new role, one of compassion, caring, and love."

More quotes and commentary to come. Must go now to the pool to celebrate Swim a Lap Day. Yes, really.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From Mom's Pen to God's Ear

I was unable to swipe Grandma's prayer for Karis today, so I enlisted Ev's help. She copied it on the sly after lunch, covering her treachery with a book when Gma asked her to step and fetch. Oh, we are a slippery bunch.

I guess this prayer was composed when Mom was preparing for Dad to come home from the hospital.

Thank you father for strength to clean, to get down on the ceramic floor to clean the shower to dust to cook a brisket! Thank you! to drive to rehab, that P_____ is recovering -- to look forward to Church tomorrow to clean the rubber cups on the shower chair. To deliver the mail to P_____ to talk with Helen on the telephone

Thank you for letting the handle fall off the roaster when it did so I was not boiled in brisket juice! Your timing is ineffable! thank you

Thank you father for life and family! for provision

"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls" - Aesop

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sisterly Love

Aunt Helen has been sending cards and calling Mom almost daily. I swiped this exceptionally sweet one; it was too good not to share.

The card itself says:

comes with
guarantee --
God loves you.

And there's
no better reason
to hope
than that.

Then Aunt Helen wrote in her distinctive handwriting:

My dear sister, I feel so fortunate to have you as my sister. I always have -- even since childhood. Now as I think back to our childhood on the upper McDowell I cannot think of any disagreements, arguments or problems we may have had.

On the other hand my memory slips every now and then -- but, I like it that way. It adds a little zest.

I think of you often.

Your sister, Helen

A side note: Karis was initially shocked that I swiped G'ma's card without permission. (I assured her I would return it!) Then after a minute, Karis asked if I would also swipe a prayer that G'ma had written and left out in the kitchen. Now I have a partner in crime.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Guess Who's Coming To Sunday Dinner

Aunt Helen!

Dear Cousin M is flying up to get Aunt Helen packed, then will fly down with her and stay overnight to get her settled at Mom and Dad's. Cousin M will then fly back home and wait for the call to come and get Aunt Helen. Brother Bill will be staying with the folks starting Friday.

Many, many thanks to Bill and Cousin M for making Mom's fondest wish a reality.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blueberries for...Grandma

My mom is a serious blueberry picker. She has always outpicked all of us, every time we go. I just figured blueberry picking was out this year, what with the heat, Mom's energy level, Dad's condition, etc.


Sister Ruth returned from her visit at the folks' yesterday with plans to go blueberry picking with Mom this morning. She, Luke, and Nate left the house today around 7:30, armed with water bottles and enthusiasm. Later in the morning, I called Ruth's cell phone after I worked with a student, thinking I would pick Nate up from Grandma's house while I was in town. It was 10:45. Surely they were back from berry picking.


They were still at the blueberry farm. Then they went back to Mom and Dad's house. The next time I talked to Ruth, she told me the boys were exhausted; she (Ruth) was dirty, sweaty and tired; and Mom was fixing everybody lunch. Quintessential Mom. I saw Ruth's car coming down the road to our house when I was taking the girls to basketball camp at 1:00.

I would ask Ruth how many pounds Mom picked, but she's asleep.

Postscript: Ruth says 11 pounds. Go Grandma.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Iron Hand, Tender Heart

When we were growing up, Loren and I referred to our dad as The Iron Hand. His word was law, no discussion allowed. Our family meetings consisted of Dad telling the rest of us how life was going to be. He and I had one of those meetings this past week. It went something like this.

Dad: Gwen, I wanted to tell you, and I've told Mom this too, that I am praying for complete healing for Mom.

Gwen: Okay.

Dad: God does things like that.

Gwen: Yes, He does.

Dad: And I want you to pray that way too.

Gwen: Okay.

End of conversation.

Isn't it amazing how when you walk through the door of your childhood home, you are suddenly a kid again? In my real life, I'm a 45yo woman, a wife, a mother, an educational therapist, complete with a college degree. My dad is an 88yo man who hands me his teeth after lunch. But, there in the living room of my childhood home, we went right back into our roles of 30 years ago. Dad used his imperious Iron Hand voice. I meekly replied with noncommittal mutterings. Why do we do that?

Despite the ridiculously dysfunctional delivery of his message, Dad's tender heart is clear. He doesn't want to lose Mom. And he's asking God to do something about it. Pretty sweet.


Dad had a big day Monday. Home health came out to do an evaluation and re-instate Dad into their system. They will send a nurse out two more times this week, twice next week, then back to once/week after that. A very chatty physical therapist also came out to evaluate Dad. He will be coming twice a week and has an idea for bracing Dad's floppy left foot. We don't know why it is floppy. It wasn't before this hospital stint; now it is. Makes walking a little tricky.

Now for the surprise. My sister Ruth is here! She and her younger boy drove down yesterday. They arrived just in time to join us for our new nightly tradition, watching re-runs of Whose Line Is It Anyway?. I highly recommend this show as therapy if your life has become a little grey. Ruth wanted to come see Mom and Dad and this week seemed to work well for her. The folks don't know she is here, so it could get interesting when Ruth shows up at their door later on today. Surprise!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Feel Grey

A friend at church today said she wished I would include more of my feelings on this blog.

Let me say for the record, in my family of origin this blog would be considered spilling my guts. We just didn't talk. And we certainly did not share our feelings. In fact, I grew up with the idea that feelings are really sort of, well, if not exactly evil, then definitely irrelevant.

My mom exclaimed today about how much my children talk. She had us over for lunch and the children were very well-behaved, helpful and full of conversation. I think Mom is not used to people who say out loud what they think or feel or want. What a concept! I'm trying to be more like my children in the verbalization area, but it does not come naturally. I literally have to remind myself (and not just while blogging):

What do I think?
What do I feel?
What do I want?
Say it!

Also, I have to admit that it takes me a while to figure out what I'm feeling. Sometimes I think I'm fine and then my hair starts falling out or something like that. Learning, I'm learning.

But I'll try to tell you how I'm feeling now. I got my first grey hair when I was 21, my first year of teaching first grade. I had enough grey to warrant coloring by the time I was 29. I've colored it for the last 16 years. I've just never felt grey. Now I do.

I feel grey.

Big Brother Is Watching

Not the one from 1984, the one from Idaho. I am lucky enough to have not one, but two older brothers who are ready and willing to ride to the rescue when family needs help. Loren flew in last night and is now on duty with Mom and Dad for a couple of weeks. Mom told me this morning that she didn't get up at all last night to help with Dad; Loren took care of everything. That's my brother.

The Eagle Has Landed

The transition home has gone pretty smoothly. Dad is still weak and a little confused at times, but infinitely better than last August.

When Mom and I arrived at the hospital Friday around 2:00, Dad wasn't in his room. Mom thought he might be taking a walk with the physical therapist, so we looked around the hallways. No Dad. Looked in the pt room. No Dad. Asked at the nurses' station. No Dad. Then an assistant went into Dad's room and he called to her from the bathroom. He had gone into the bathroom by himself and could not get up off the potty. And didn't call for help. *sigh* I'm sorry he was stuck, but I do think the experience wore him out and maybe took a little wind out of his sails. In a good, right-view-of-self way. I even heard him tell the assistant, "I feel weak."

Once Dad got settled back in a wheelchair, he let us know several times that we had arrived later than he wanted. He said he had been "waiting and waiting" and wondered where we were. I looked on his release papers and he had signed them about 20 minutes before Mom and I arrived, so I don't think we put him through too much. A really nice touch to Dad's leave-taking: The team who cared for Dad during his stay lined up in the foyer and applauded him on his way out to the car.

Dad let us wheel him up to the door at home, then he walkered it to his chair. The Chair. He is so happy to be at home with his chair, his bed, his wife and her cooking.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Launch Day

Nate and Ev went this morning to help Mom with yard and house preparations. Karis and Meg worked on the yard and house here at home. This whole thing would have fallen apart long ago without our four good-hearted children. I am convinced we wouldn't make it without their willing help. After lunch I am taking them to Grammie's for the weekend, so I can stay with Mom and Dad. Grammie and Poppa time is happy time, so we are all good.

I was finally successful in getting the truck inspected this morning. I tried yesterday, but the truck had been in the shop in the a.m. and sensors were not reset yet. I pulled in to the local inspection station this morning after taking N and E to G'ma's. The same guy came out and tried to tell me that it wasn't even worth trying, there was no way the sensors were reset yet. I said, "Look, here's the short version. I have four kids. My husband is out of town for two weeks. My 89yo mother has cancer. My 88yo dad is coming home from the hospital today. I don't know when I can get back here." I don't know if he felt sorry for me or if it was the slightly crazed look in my eye, but the truck passed inspection in a matter of minutes.

Mom wants to get in her nap, so after I drop the kids at Grammie's, I'll leave the truck at the folks' and drive with Mom up to the hospital. Not so much a leap for Dad to get in and out of their car. Of course, he could probably handle the truck just fine. He and Mom have decided that Dad will just walk up the sidewalk when we get home instead of using the wheelchair. And you already know about Dad's independent shower plans. Maybe we should have left the lawn mowing for him as well? I guess he could do the edging. Who knows what the day could hold?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Let the Games Begin

Now for the funny part of the visit. Once again, today I had to call Dad's case manager to allay yet another unsubstantiated rumor of Dad's imminent release. Good grief! Those people are going to be so glad to see us go. Launch Date is still tomorrow, FRIDAY. Afternoon. Really.

Then, as Dad and I were talking, he announced his intention to pass on a shower tomorrow morning at the hospital. He plans to wait and shower at home.

Gwen: How are you going to do that?

Dad: Well, I'm going to get in the shower.

Gwen: Who's going to help you?

Dad: I feel confident in my own shower where I can sit down.

Gwen: I wonder if your case manager or the team will have any suggestions when you are released about having home health send shower help?

Dad: What? [Gwen clarifies.] Oh, well, we'll see what they suggest. But that doesn't mean I'll do it.

Don't we know it!

Catch Phrase, Part Deux

Last year I posted about funny little phrases Dad would get stuck on as his "go to" replies.

Today I became aware of one that is not so funny. I can think of two people who have told me Dad said this to them, and today during my afternoon vist, he said it to me. It goes something like this:

"I have always told people that when they hear of my death, they should not cry or be sad. Instead, they should shout, 'Hallelujah!' But I cannot do that about Mom."

His eyes were moist as he spoke, which in our family of origin is the equivalent of curling up in the fetal position and bawling your eyes out.

I desperately hope that Dad is repeating this thought word-for-word because he is trying to process a bewildering new emotion, along with the concept of life not being quite as black-and-white as he previously believed. It would just be too cruel if this thought is occurring to his somewhat diminished brain as a new, painful revelation each time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You Know You're Tired When...

When I visited Dad this morning, he had just come back from physical therapy. He had walked there, done his exercises, then walked back. He looked good and sounded good. So nice to see color in his face. Dad was back in bed and Mom was helping him get a fresh t-shirt on. She pointed out that Dad had a new wound.

Evidently, when someone was helping him into a chair this morning for his breakfast, Dad lost muscle control or balance or whatever and started to fall. The assistant grabbed his arm and that fragile 88yo skin tore, badly. The whole wound was taped up with that clear bandaging and it was what I call "juicy". I almost took a picture, but figured not everyone would appreciate that much detail. As Mom was leaving, she noticed the bandage was leaking blood. (Mom had a full day ahead involving a re-evaluation with home health and a dental appt. for a lost filling/cap.)

I called for the nurse. In came Eric and began the excrutiating process of peeling off the existing bandage. Dad winced, Eric apologized. Dad lost some hairs (hey, some people pay for that), but Eric managed to avoid any further skin tearing. Here's how exhausted Dad was from physical therapy: During this whole painful procedure, Dad kept dozing off! Tough, so very tough. So after he was mopped up and re-bandaged, this time with non-stick pad and gauze, I left so Dad could have is pre-lunch nap. I'd say he earned a little rest.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


It is painful to hear my mom asking the same questions that really cannot be answered.

What is going to happen?

Will it hurt too much?

How will I die?

What will happen to my husband?

Is it okay?

I'm extremely thankful for our family friend/physician. He listens and answers, not as some sort of medical demi-god, but as a friend, a voice of experience, and a conservative medical perspective. Mom felt better after we talked to him, but I always wonder what she really heard. And what her questions really were.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Special Note to Hometown Readers

I just thought I would let you know, my parents do not know I am blogging about them. I'd like to keep it that way, please. This is just a way to keep folks updated and my free therapy as we pack their suitcases for a place none of us has been.

Rumor Has It

I've heard from several folks who thought Dad was going home tomorrow. Heaven forbid! Dad has been telling people that he is going home Tuesday and evidently Mom believed him, even though I had it straight from the hospital case manager that he is going home Friday. Today Dad told me that they had decided to extend his stay for one more day. I guess he thinks he's going home on Wednesday now? I would not want to be the hospital staff that has to explain that one to him. I called to confirm today and Dad will definitely not be sprung from the joint until Friday.

The kids and I visited Dad today. He looked really good and sounded good. He did tell us exactly word for word the same story twice about something that happened at lunch today. But he called each of the kids by name and asked them specific questions. He enjoyed reading Nate's Chuck Norris shirt. He also regaled us with the tale of how he terrorized the nursing staff this morning when they wouldn't shower him soon enough. Hmm, maybe they will send him home tomorrow.

Then we stopped by to deliver some books to Mom. She had asked me to order the political thrillers by Joel Rosenberg as a surprise for Dad. When Mom saw Nate's aforementioned Chuck Norris shirt, she exclaimed: "Chuck Norris! You know him too?" If you ask me, CN is exactly the kind of person Mom would hang around with.

Mom asked me to make an appointment for her and me to talk things over with Ves, family friend and physician. We are going tomorrow at 2:30.

Nurse Brenda

Before I succumbed to the terrible virus on Friday, I followed up on an idea of Gayle's. She had suggested talking with Mom and Dad's home health nurse about caring for Mom and Dad in lieu of/until they need hospice. Excellent idea! Mom and Dad love Nurse Brenda and the feeling is mutual. Brenda is currently caring for a patient whose mother is on hospice and she feels confident she can provide Mom and Dad with just about everything hospice does. I think it will be a comfort for the folks to be able to continue on with Brenda as long as possible.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I didn't get by to see Dad Thursday or Friday. I was disappointed, but now I am so glad! I got sick yesterday afternoon, so sick that I had to pull over to the side of the road on the way home from work and call Dave to come get me. (My apologies to everyone at Kohl's on whom I breathed yesterday. And to Mark and Gayle, whom I took to the airport in the wee hours of Friday morning. And my thanks to the two kind souls who stopped on the side of the road to make sure I was okay.) Nate had what seemed like a 24 hour stomach bug Thursday evening and I guess I caught it. The worst is over now and I've lived to see another day. Really rotten timing with Dave's first two weeks of doctoral study in Cali starting Sunday, but at least I wasn't breathing germs on Dad right before I got sick.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Family Conference Report

Mark, Gayle, Mom and I went yesterday to meet with Dr. Kleinbaum. Dr. K rehashed the medical findings. M & G asked about palliative-preventative surgery. Dr. K (and Mom) said no. Mom asked about her low residue diet and if that would help prevent a blockage. Dr. K said that is usually for diverticulosis, and suggested she ask her gastro dr.

Someone asked about the probable progression of the disease and Dr. K said that would depend on how the cancer grows. If it grows mostly in the colon, Mom could experience blockage, perforation and loss of bowel function. If it grows in the lungs, pneumonia could set in. Mom could also have global effects, like blood clots, because cancer makes the blood "sticky". Dr. K described cancer as "catabolic; it steals what your body needs."

I just looked it up. Catabolism is destructive metabolism. That's our million dollar medical term for the day.

We asked about resources and recommendations to help Mom along this process. Dr. K recommended a local hospice. We liked the idea that Dr. K personally knew the guy, but when I called, I discovered that although this group has done home health care for a while, they are new to hospice. I don't like the idea of them learning on my mom, ya know? Gayle suggested I interview the two established hospice groups we have heard good things about from people we know. Sounds like a plan.


How about earlier? I called the case manager today to see what they concluded in the team eval for Dad. She said that the doctor wanted Dad to go for a stint in a rehab facility. Dad didn't want to; he wants to go home. So he is! A week from Friday! I'm thinking...really? Graciously, Loren has agreed to come for two weeks starting on the 11th. What would we do without two semi-retired brothers?

After Loren puts in his time, Bill and Cathy will come for two weeks. And hopefully they will bring Aunt Helen with them! Mom continues to pine for her older sister and talks to her often, but refuses to fly to see her. Helen must come to see Mom. For two weeks. Okey dokey. :)

Case Manager

Once again, Dad seemed amazingly good on Wednesday! When I walked into his room, he was sitting up in a chair and was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. We visited for a little bit. He was concerned about making sure Loren and Bill would come when he came home. He thought Mom was opposed to it. I assured him that it wasn't even a matter for discussion, Loren and Bill have already offered and they will definitely come. Dad is eager to get home. The physical therapist came to take Dad for his morning workout, so I went in search of Dad's case manager.

The case manager was very easy to find, on-site, and I was able to talk with her yesterday morning. She said Dad will be in the extended care hospital for another 1-1/2 to 2 weeks. Then he will either be referred to a rehab facility or sent home. They were to have a team evaluation yesterday, so she will know more today.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Family Conference

Mark and Gayle are here for a few days. Meg, Nate and Ev went over to help Mom with yard and house prep this morning while I worked with a student. (We offered and Mom accepted--hooray!) Then Meg, Nate and I headed to the airport to pick up M & G.

As we were waiting to meet up at the airport, I remembered that I was supposed to call for an apointment with Dr. Kleinbaum, the oncologist. Mom had called last week to cancel her appointment when she decided against treatment, but Gayle and I wanted to talk with him about where to go from here, what to expect and resources. (Dave had talked with his sister who is an oncology nurse and she recommended this for us.) I called the office, rambled on explaining our story to the receptionist. She concisely asked, "So you want a family conference with Dr. Kleinbaum?" LOL Yes, that is exactly what I want. I'm so glad somebody knows what they are doing here! So we have an appointment tomorrow. And Mom has decided she would like to come too. She has questions.

After having a delicious lunch of Mom's gumbo, strawberries w/powdered sugar, and Martha Stewart brownies, we took Mark and Gayle over to see Dad. He seemed great! Oxygen was back in and he hadn't eaten much today (no breakfast, less than half of lunch), but he was alert and greeted everyone by name. Dad stayed with the conversation and enjoyed seeing the pictures that M & G had taken of all their children and grandchildren this past week. The kids and I left Mark and Gayle there to be picked up later by Mom after her nap.