Sunday, August 28, 2005

Another miss!

Probably everyone on the planet knows about Katrina; we here in Tampa Bay are all hoping that New Orleans isn't hit too hard though it looks bad as I write this. We aren't half way through Hurricane Season yet; sure wish the rest of them would stay out in the ocean!

Highlight of my week was going to my mother's Care Plan meeting. She was diagnosed with Dementia in 1996 shortly after I got her to move out of her house. (I am an only child so get to do all this fun stuff.) At first she could live in an Assisted Living situation; since 1999 she has been in a nursing home. Now she is totally incontinent; cannot walk; cannot eat normal food; hasn't spoken in perhaps 3 years. She is in a great nursing home; one of the top 5 in Florida. Every 3 months we (my wife and I) meet with the staff that work with mom to review the changes in her condition.

Unfortunately, there isn't a lot to say. She is physically very healthy; her quality of life does seem to leave something to be desired. We have chosen to have pain killing drugs administered to her so that she isn't in pain. We have chosen not to allow the insertion of a feeding tube should she ever stop eating. But nothing is happening with her except an incredibly gradual decline. This quarter she lost 3 pounds. That's it. She weighs 135. Every quarter it seems she is sleeping a little more; paying less attention to the various activities.

On my previous visit I went into one of the activities. There was a man playing an electronic piano with about 20 patients surrounding him in two arcing rows. Perhaps 3 of the people were awake and paying attention. Mom was sleeping in the back row. I got a chair and sat next to her. I touched her hand then rubbed her shoulder; there was no reaction to either touch. She just kept on sleeping.

If I didn't already think the President was an idiot; his position on stem cell research would have convinced me. Diseases like Dementia cost this nation BILLIONS of dollars plus the human costs: the people affected would almost certainly rather be dead; the families are caught in limbo dealing with the ill. We must do something to help these people and those of us who are going to contract these diseases as we age.

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