Probably the weirdest move we'll ever make.

In the interest of keeping those of you updated who are thinking and praying for us, here's a rundown of developments this week.

We got moved into an apartment in the Anthem area of Henderson on Tuesday - a nice little two bedroom on a golf course with a pool and sand volleyball court, and a bunch of shops and restaurants within a half mile to mile walk.  There are paths near the area that would be wheelchair friendly, and we had hoped to get dad out and around.  The reality has been that we haven't been able to get him out of bed beyond going to the bathroom, because he is both uncomfortable and exhausted when he is sitting up.

At the moment it's just Angel, Mom, Leah's family and I out here, but Dad's brother Ed is on his way, and there have been a steady stream of family and friends visiting, which has been great.  My brother Shayne just left, and Aunts, uncles, in-laws, dad's father, and family friends have been to visit.  My uncle Don and his friend Mike demonstrate once again the extent of human kindness in these sorts of situations, and drove straight through from Ohio to get us mom and dad's things the day after we arrived.  Mike had never even met Dad, so that was particularly kind. The hard part of having so many visitors has been that every goodbye is likely a last goodbye for those who aren't here in the area. Dad's been surrounded by love though despite being so far from home in Ohio.

The decline in dad's health and capacities has been noticeable from day to day and while I think he still has moments of comprehending what's happening around him, he is generally unable to communicate or care for himself.  This is a dramatic change even from when we arrived a week and a half ago, and particularly from three weeks ago when he was sick but still very functional.  The process has been really frustrating for him, and for us, but he seems to have been feeling more peaceful the last few days, and doesn't seem to have been experiencing much pain.  

The hospice folks have been a great resource, and I can't recommend hospice enough in similar situations, as opposed to aggressive intervention in hospitals.  It is allowing this process to be peaceful, comfortable, and directed by family.  Pain is under control and there are no noises, specialists or machines interrupting the family or making dad uncomfortable.

 In terms of day to day living, we've gotten the apartment set up much more quickly than I expected we would - including sorting through boxes and boxes of old photos, which was a great thing to do in this situation because it reminded everyone of all the great times we've had together as a family. I figured out that I picked up my penchant for making stupid faces in my photos from dad, we realized that my brother spent his childhood dressed like a little old man, and my sister had the best childhood parties (while they dressed my brother and I up in homemade clown costumes, they hired clowns to entertain my sister and her friends).

Both Angel and I have job situations taking shape, and we'll hopefully be able to start making a bit of money to pay for life here within the next few weeks.  It's been nice to have this period though where we can focus on caregiving, so that the burden doesn't fall on mom, and so that we can provide a pair of extra clinical eyes for the situation.  For her part mom is of course up and down, but we're all managing the best we can.

Angel and I are also starting to get used to the heat - we haven't had much chance to get out and about beyond the neighborhood, but we're surrounded by sun and palm tree, and there are definitely worse places to live in the world than the Las Vegas Valley.

We really appreciate all of the friends and family who've continued to reach out through all this - both to dad and to all of us.  The PCT experience reminded me what a great group of people we have around us, but this experience has done so even more.  We love you all and we'll do our best to keep you up to date.


Tiffany H said…
Thinking of you all... Willing you guys peace and positive energies during this time. Wonderful post, Tim!