Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday, November 29 - home again

Praise the Lord that Mom has not had any more TIA's since Wednesday morning. Her doctor gave her the option of coming home Thursday (Thanksgiving) or Friday, and she chose to wait until Friday, saying she felt safer at the hospital in case anything happened.

This gave Jack & I and our children the opportunity to join Jack's family in Derry for Thanksgiving dinner, which was a great blessing and a needed break. Dad seemed very content and happy to have a quiet day at home. Lois and I connected with both of them by phone, which we all enjoyed.

Mom has been placed on another new med, Plavix, which is supposed to help prevent stroke/TIA's. Next week she will have an ultrasound of her carotid arteries to check for plaque buildup, and she will also have an MRA of the head and neck.

Please pray that God would continue to strengthen and heal Mom. We are so grateful for the opportunity to be nearby during these uncertain days.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday, November 26 - Mini-strokes keep happening

We would really appreciate your prayers, as Mom has been taken again to the hospital by ambulance today.

Yesterday, she and I had a great day together as we traveled to Dartmouth-Hitchcock for several appointments. The neurosurgeon was very pleased with yesterday's CT scan, saying it was completely clear.

Yet, she has continued to have TIA's - mini strokes. It seems to be primarily her right arm that is affected. This morning it kept dropping and she couldn't control it enough to put the cap on her pill bottle. Her speech was also slightly slurred.

Those symptoms cleared up, but later when I had taken the children to the library and the home health nurse was here, Mom was having trouble standing so they called an ambulance for her. I arrived just as it was leaving, and the nurse filled me in.

Thanks for praying for all of us. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we are so thankful that God is here, that Mom is safe in His hands, and that He is faithful to carry us through any circumstance that may arise.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Phone savings

Today we were able to set up something for Mom & Dad that should save them some money. Dad was frustrated by the size of their recent phone bill, so we started brainstorming for possible cost savings, without sacrificing Mom's ability to connect with her faraway daughters and many friends.

We were able to install a program on their computer that enables them to make long-distance calls using their Internet connection. It worked really well when we made a couple of calls today! Unlimited US & Canada calling is $3.00 a month--CONSIDERABLY less than the same service from the phone company!!! And the rates to Ecuador are good also. We did have to buy a computer phone headset for $15.00. Seems like a pretty good investment.

Mom & I are pretty excited about it. Dad wasn't today, because it was unsettling to him to see us working on it. We had to move things and pull the computer out to access the jacks in the back, and any activity or change in the house is distressing to him. But we think he'll be happier when he receives the first reduced phone bill!!

Saturday, November 22 - Home again

Mom came home again yesterday, released from the hospital after one night for observation. She has had no more stroke symptoms, and her CAT scan showed NO bleeding or clot in the brain for which we are extremely thankful.

The hospital wanted to do an MRI as well, but didn't dare because they were unsure of the type of metal in the coil that remains in her brain from the aneurysm. (Coiling is a relatively new procedure.) They tried to reach Dartmouth-Hitchcock but could not, so they put off the MRI.

Mom has appointments this Tuesday, Nov.25 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, so she and I will need to leave Gorham about 6 am for the 2 1/2 hour trip. She will see the neurosurgeon in charge of her case, and the interventional radiologist who inserted the coil. Also, unrelated to the aneurysm, she will have a PET scan as a cancer checkup, rescheduled from earlier this fall when she was still in Portland. If that includes her brain, it would be even better than the MRI, so the MRI is not needed anyway.

Mom was feeling very well yesterday as we left the hospital, well enough to stop at Community Bible Church/Academy for the Harvest Luncheon! :-) Everyone was thrilled to see her and she thoroughly enjoyed it also.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A small bump in the road

Mom gave us a scare today around noon by displaying classic symptoms of a stroke. Her face twisted sideways, she lost her balance trying to stand, and her speech became slurred.

We called an ambulance. At the ER, thankfully, she was much improved and the symptoms had disappeared.

She was diagnosed with a probable TIA, transient ischemic attack. It is a mini-stroke, temporary, leaving no lasting damage to the brain. Here is a link to the American Heart Association's information page about TIA: It does mean she is at increased risk for a stroke.

The hospital did a CAT scan to rule out other problems. We haven't heard any results, so we hope that no news is good news. They are admitting her overnight for observation.

Thanks for your prayers!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Settling in

Greetings from Gorham NH, where giant snowflakes are gently falling this morning. The ground is covered with a "dusting" of snow . . . preview of more to come. :-)

Mom continues to adjust and settle into living at home. She has home health nurses and therapists coming in several times a week. Senior Meals is bringing lunches five days a week, which is a great help!

Physically Mom is doing well, getting around without her walker some of the time. Her speech is doing great too. Her memory does give her trials at times, but is also doing remarkably well, considering what she has been through.

I have been helping with appointments, shopping, and especially trying to clean and organize the house. Please pray that Mom and I would agree in deciding what to keep and what not to keep. Mom keeps almost everything, and there is much work to do to organize it. Anything that can be disposed of reduces that burden, and we won't have to deal with it again in the future!!

A piano technician is coming this morning to look at the piano that has not been played since my sister Lois went to college in 1991. If it is in decent shape, we have a friend who will put it to good use! Its departure would make room for a dresser downstairs for Mom.

Thanks to all who are praying and caring for our family during this challenging time. We continue to be so grateful for Mom's amazing recovery to this point, and trust it will continue!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday, November 10 - She's HOME!

It's been almost eight weeks since Mom's brain aneurysm on September 18. Today she came home, to 12 School Street.

We stopped at Tim Horton's in S. Paris for lunch, and also stopped briefly to celebrate with her sisters. :-) She is doing so well, walking, speaking, and remembering. Wherever her walker wouldn't fit, she picked it up. I told her she was supposed to be leaning on it, not waving it around. She won't need it for long.

Dad was waiting for her at home, and it was so sweet to watch those two sweethearts. They could hardly take their eyes off each other. :-)

Please continue to pray for all of us, as this will be a time of adjustment, with some difficult aspects along with the joy. We all need strength, wisdom and grace to handle the challenges that will arise.

Thanks so much!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday, November 8

Yesterday morning we (Alice & Jack) took our children to their first day at Community Bible Academy, where they will attend for the next three months, then headed for Maine. (To all you Floridians reading this, Maine is only 10 minutes away . . . states are smaller up here.)

We stopped at Aunt Jane & Uncle Danny's house to pick up a vehicle that they are graciously loaning us, then Jack returned to Gorham and I continued on to Portland!

What a joy to hug my beautiful Mom and be able to spend the day with her!! I would say she is 80% back to her old self. She talks very clearly, with only occasional scrambled or missing words, and remembers things from before the aneurysm very well. Her recent memory is not as strong; for example, she does not recall Lois being with her, and Lois was there until October 18.

Physically, she really impressed me! She gets around great with a walker, and walked up and down eight steps, holding on to the railings. She practiced getting in and out of the car, which was no problem.

The therapist had some recommendations to prepare the house, including installing grab bars for the tub. She also suggested I walk around the house with a walker to see if anything needs to be changed to make it safer/easier to navigate.

We are grateful for friends and relatives who are helping us so much at this time! We have been given or loaned many things to use while we are staying in New England (including a house and a car!), and friends from church are helping to install the grab bars this afternoon. Thank you Lord! And thanks to all who are helping through prayer. God answers!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday, November 6

Wow! Lots has happened in the past few days.

1. Jack and Alice and the children arrived in Gorham NH after a 3-day journey from Florida. Praise God for a safe and uneventful trip. It is good to be close to Mom and Dad again.

2. Mom has continued to make tremendous progress. Her case manager called it a "dramatic turnaround." We call it "God's healing, in answer to prayer!"

3. Mom's care team is now ready to release her to go HOME - as in 12 School Street, Gorham, where her husband is waiting for her!

So here's the current plan, Lord willing:
  • On Friday, Alice will drive to Portland to sit in on Mom's therapy and meet with her care team, to get a better idea exactly where she is along the road to recovery.
  • On Saturday we will work hard to get the house ready for her return, and . . .
  • On Monday, we will bring her home!
Thank you for praying!!!!! Please pray for wisdom and strength as we set the house up to be comfortable and safe for her, and that her transition to home will go smoothly and be joyous for all concerned. Please pray for Alice as primary caregiver, to clearly see Mom's needs and be able to meet them as well as care for her other family.

We are so grateful for your concern and love. Thank you for being with us on this journey.