Tuesday, September 26, 2006


It has been a very eventful two months.

My father had gone down to 117 pounds, was sleeping 20 hours a day, and was barely drinking anything and wasn't eating anything. After a lot of hard word and two weeks time, I was finally able to get him on to Hospice. The nurse came, verified that it sure looked like he was fading away to nothing but had no diseases or illnesses. He was put on an antibiotic for a cough that he had but his lungs were clear. I had moved in to his home immediately and began the round the clock watch. My husband and daughter and her family would come over to visit and to keep me cheered up...when we weren't all going through greif and crying!

But something happened. Dad started to eat again. And does he ever eat! He has been out of bed for the entire day for two full weeks now, eats at the table, consumes large amounts of food which has made me feel like a short order cook.

For breakfast he will eat a bowl of cream of wheat, two scrambled eggs, a banana and an equal amount of cataloupe, a glass of V8 juice and a cup of coffee. Then he has a snack before lunch at which time he eats an entire sandwich, chips, soup, and some more fruit. And then he nibbles all afternoon, on grapes, oreo cookies, oatmeal cookies and whatever else he can find. And then for dinner he has his meat, salad, vegetable, and starch and then has ice cream an hour later. Three hours later he is now eating half a sandwich as we are trying to get him to sleep through the night. For a while he was consuming a gallon of V8 juice a day....that's a lot of red stuff.

However, what we are noticing is that his health is improving and he isn't dying right now but some serious demetia is setting in and we can watch it get worse and worse daily. During all the time he slept in bed, he detoxed on his alcohol and no longer drinks. Now he wanders around with an unlit cigarette and handles it, puts it in his mouth but doesn't seem to remember what else he is supposed to do with it...which is fine. We have now hidded the cigarette lighters from him and he is quite happy...we just keep him eating. Obviously this has become a very oral kind of fixation.

Three weeks ago I found a care taker who came in several days during the day...the first time I got out of the house for more than just grocery shopping!. We then tried some overnights and as of yesterday, she is full time. Dad really likes her and jokes a lot with her. Saane is Tongan and is absolutely wonderful with him. Her husband comes over if she has to run out and he talks football with my father. The other day my dad watched two baseball games...he has never watched baseball before! However, his eye sight is getting worse and worse so he can't see much of the TV and his hearing is horrible so he plays it pretty loudly, either in his room or in the kitchen which is where he spends most of his time. He has the chore of going down two flights of steps to get the newspaper in the morning and then later in the afternoon to get the mail and is getting much stronger.

It is really strange to see this man, who two months ago was a skeleton, now with a little round belly.

I did some collage work while I was staying there and will post it probably later or tomorrow.

Last week I went to Asilomar with a group of women from Roseville Sun City and from my area...no classes, no workshops, just five days of doing our own work at our own pace. I had a meltdown from all that had been going on with me but it was much needed.

I was able to do two and a half small series works which are different. I had painted canvas while at dad's and then on short trips home I discharged fabric I had previously dyed. So I took that all with me, my paints and some stamping things and created.

I am now in the process of trying to get my studio sorted out. There has been too much grab and dump going on...it is an absolute mess so I am trying to spend a couple of days taking care of that so I can start doing some serious work.

In November I will be at ArtQuiltTahoe and will get to spend a week with Gerrie...and doing a lot of work!

Yesterday I received a phone call from Empty Spools Seminars...they have booked me for March 2008 for artist-in-residence. I also have another booking for a retreat in 2008 and will get that info out before long.

And then, Virginia Spiegle and I are going to Kerry Bresnahan's retreat for a month in January in Texas....what could be better!!!!


Corky said...

Liz, CONGRATULATIONS on the artist in residence at Asilomar. A well deserved honor.

Glad to hear your father is doing better physically, even if the dementia is taking hold. Being the parent to your parent is an odd turn of events. It sounds like you're handling it well.

Gerrie said...

OH! It is so good to hear a happy Liz voice again! Can't wait to see you in November. Arteest in residence at Empty Spools! Wow - I might have to come and take a class and hang out with you.

Anonymous said...

Liz....so wonderful to see your posting today and that you head is above water!! And so pleased to hear that your Dad is doing better in his own way. Keep on creating when you can and know that we're all here to support you when you need us. Louise

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Liz is back. I'm sure all will agree we missed you and thought of you fondly during this difficult time. I'm so glad your father is doing better depite the dimensia.

And how terrific is it to be the artist in residence? It all sounds so exciting. Would love to come and hang out with you during this time and learn some new stuff. Congrats.

Frances said...

oh Liz what wonderful light at the end of your dark tunnel,
I'm so pleased your Dad is eating again, 'forgotten' how to smoke is an up side effect of a down illness and how wonderful your help sounds,
as Gerrie says 'It is so good to hear a happy Liz voice again!'