My husband for 38 wonderful, wonderful years, Dan Alan Vowell
April 23, 1951 – July 25, 2015
I will be expanding on this in the days and weeks to come but suffice it to say:
On April 47, my husband of 37 years was transferred from Boulder Foothills Hospital (Boulder, Colorado) to Boulder Manor nursing home for rehabilitation (remember that word) after a fall and a bout with what was first thought to be a UIT, but turned out to be an overall infection. All in all, he was in the hospital for 10 days.
The doc at the hospital waved goodbye to me and my husband — who then lived at an assisted living place — he said my hubby would return to “his normal” again, after rehabilitation, i.e., be able to dress himself, feed himself, bathe, toilet and feed himself, go on walks, use the telephone, take public transportation (unassisted) to an exercise class at the local YMCA three times a week, go to University of Colorado football games, to Colorado Rockies baseball games, do his own laundry and visit with friends and family. Yeah, he has/had dementia but you wouldn’t necessarily know it if you ran into him.
Anyway, when he was being discharged from the hospital the nurse asked me which “rehabilitation” facility I’d like my hubby to go to. I said Boulder Manor because it’s about four miles from my house. So, off to Boulder Manor he went. I’ll get into the appalling details soon but suffice it to say, I had a terrible feeling about the place the instant I walked in that April 27th afternoon. Things have only gone down hill from there and this Medicare.gov website I came across today confirms my gut feeling about the so-called treatment he’s getting there. Check out its ranking of Boulder Manor:
Overall, one star out of five.
My other option was ManorCare, about seven or eight miles from my house. It’s rated five of five stars:
I wanted to get this post up right away as I was shocked to see that there could be such a difference in the quality of care between two nursing homes in the same town, just miles apart.
Don’t be an idiot like me. Don’t pick a place to put your loved one in based on how many miles it is from your house! Even when faced with a nurse who has to make a quick decision, take your time and do some research. As you’ll hear from me in the coming weeks, a snap decision isn’t worth it.
A place like Boulder Manor has a top down culture. The nurses and aides aren’t to blame. They try. If you care about your loved one, know that Boulder Manor’s management doesn’t.
The Ocean Under a Microscope
Take a look at the gorgeous images from the Nikon Small World photomicrography competition.
One — just one — of my faves. Wow. Beautiful:
My sweet hubby just spent two days in the ICU. Wednesday morning he fell — for the third time — straight back and split his head open. This time, for the first time, he had blood in his brain. It’s a very bad situation but after a bazillion tests over the course of three hospitalizations, no one knows what’s causing the falls other than that he has dementia and his brain “isn’t working right” so maybe it’s kicking out for a second or two here and there.
He was discharged this morning with orders to use a walker and to wear a helmet (like this one, which I just ordered) “any time he isn’t walking on carpeting,” which is pretty much all the time. (We’re going to “personalize” the helmet with decals to “make it his,” so hopefully he’ll wear it with pride (knock-on-wood — God I hope so!).)
Anyway, this is the view he had from his room:
Not bad, huh?
No, the hospital isn’t in the middle of nowhere. It’s smack dab in the middle of Boulder, Colorado (pop. just over 100,000), but it’s situated on land next to a wildlife area. A stream runs underneath those Cottonwood trees and birds galore live in the area, as do coyotes.
It was a snowy day today and the Rocky Mountains are partially obscured by clouds but I still think it’s a view that would make me (and hopefully my dear one) be happy to be alive. (Oh, and I love the contrasting brown of the dried grass from last year.)
My husband called me just now and excitedly announced that — as if, surely, I didn’t know — Robin Williams died.
I said yeah, I knew. What I didn’t say was that it’s been almost a year.
He said something like, “Oh, it’s so hard to tell you something you don’t already know.” Again, I didn’t tell him it’s been almost a year.
Sixty second events like this happen every day when living with someone with dementia.
One learns to shake their head (without showing it) and to cry silent tears.
It’s like needles to the heart. There’s no escaping what’s happening to my loved one’s brain.
I was walking the pups around the block this afternoon when i came across a neighbor who was spraying something along the sidewalk-edge of his front yard. He was nice enough to tell me he was spraying weed killer so I pulled the dogs into the street and we walked by.
Summary: A very nice, seemingly intelligent neighbor spends money on a toxic spray, he sprays it on a soon-to-be unsustainable water-guzzling lawn and he potentially kills bees we need for food production (who are taking nectar from his dandelions).