Settling in for the long haul


Tom continues to improve daily. He had yanked out his feeding tube back on Thursday night but they ended up approving of his swallowing ability so he’s now eating food. Dialysis continues but not on a daily basis. It’s now performed every other day and for just 4 hours. There is still hope that his kidney function will be regained. Another plus- the ventilator has been disconnected and he is able to cover the tracheostomy site in order to talk. The voice is very soft, but he can actually communicate now! Problems continue with heart function: he was experiencing fibrillation during the night. To alleviate the issue, they have placed him on medication and it is resolving the problem. Physical and occupational therapy continue: they are working on building his strength so he can stand and walk again. He’s been spending more time sitting in a chair. So far, he’s been a good patient once the medications wore off. Saturday he shifts to “step-down ICU”. Another positive move! How are his mental functions? That’s still coming back. He forgets where he is and why he’s at the hospital. I think his recognition of people is pretty good. I’ll know better later today or tomorrow when I go down.

The current time line shows him remaining at the hospital until December 16th. On that day we have a discussion with a Medicaid representative on how to deal with the next stage of care. He will need to move into a rehabilitation facility. We don’t know if he will still have the tracheostomy at that time, or if they will close the site. If it’s open, then he will be heading to Portland for care. It’s doubtful that he will remain a business owner for long. I already have angry business landlords calling demanding their monthly rent ( they are a pair of grumpy old curmudgeons!). The previous owners of the business (Tom purchased it back in May of this year) are probably going to have to regain ownership. I’ve already fielded quite a few calls from them. In order to protect myself and the healthy siblings, I spent 35 min talking with my lawyer. We need to stay completely out of the worm can. No financial connection is best. If Tom were to qualify for Medicaid, they would cover the entire bill and any additional facility costs and therapy, but I don’t think he will. Guess I’ll be doing some research in my spare time.

On the home front, we’ve been experiencing cold weather! Finally, a frosty morning today. The freezing rain continues to cling to many trees. the hillside across from us was glinting silver during the afternoon sunbreak. Tom’s laundry, unceremoniously dumped into huge garbage bags and tossed in my garage since we moved him out of his apartment, has finally been completed! Now I just have to repack it and take it back to Eugene. Dave was thrilled to be able to park the car in the garage again without having to stumble over the bags.

It’s been nice to take a few days off. Too bad I’m still connected to everything via phone, texts and the internet!


Published by paperstew

I'm an artist in Albany Oregon focusing on paper and natural objects for inspiration.

7 thoughts on “Settling in for the long haul

    1. Well, I should probably rephrase the term “having my brother back”. There might be a lot more brain damage than we were originally thinking. I’ve been off for 3 days and today I’ll see for myself where he’s really at mentally. 😦

    1. We all are. Unfortunately, he didn’t move to step down on Saturday. I think there are more problems surfacing. Dreading heading down today…. but taking 3 days off from driving was good. 🙂

  1. dear Gale & other cousins, I was so heartened to hear of Tom’s improvement but as I read today, I see it is one step forward & 1/2 step back. Having gone through a couple incidents of injury & death w/family members, I realize the heartache you are going through and the financial nightmare. Yes, it is true, you cannot assume financial responsibility in part or you will held responsible for the whole. Just maybe part of the cognitive issues could be medication. We had an incident & surgery within my husband’s family where it seemed that a heart was saved only to lose a mind. She lost all short term memory but w/in a month regained it and we are pretty sure it took that long for all the drugs used to flush from system. Anyway, sending love your way. Nancy

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