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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday, June 19

There is not much news or change in Mike's condition since the last blog post. He continues with his physical therapy. At his request his catheter was removed last week but was re-inserted after only a day because he was retaining urine. He is eager to get back to Juneau and we are simply waiting for a room to become available at the Pioneers Home or Wildflower Court. He is at the top of the waiting list for the Pioneers Home but apparently Wildflower Court has a fairly long list.

I have not heard recently from people who have visited but his nurse tells me that he is still getting frequent visitors. I asked him if he has had any visitors lately and he asked if he should be expecting anyone in particular. I think the problem may be that he is having trouble remembering names.

Please continue to call, write or visit Mike. It boosts his spirits greatly.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday, June 13

Today Mike had a visit from another former student, Barbara Guertin Nielsen. Forty-seven years late, she got him to sign her 1966 yearbook, the one that was dedicated to him. She sent this delightful picture as proof. It's good to see him having such a good laugh over it.

Yesterday Mike said he had walked with the walker but today his physical therapy had not gone so well.  He was pleased, however, that he has successfully used the commode twice.

One of the things Mike told me about the ad he had placed in the Totem (the one included in Sunday's newspaper ad) was that he had been ordered not to place any more ads in the Totem -- not because they had taken offense at his "Men of Distinction" statement but because his placing an ad would put pressure on other teachers to pay for future ads! Always the trouble-maker.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday, June 12

I talked to Mike this afternoon. He received Sunday's paper with the Get Well ad yesterday afternoon and he was delighted. He said we don't know what a morale booster it was. Good idea, Kenn; good execution, Phil; good editing, Virginia; and generous contributions from many made such a large ad possible. I'm betting anyone who visits from now on will have a chance to see it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday, June 11

 I talked with the therapy coordinator at Park West on Monday and she was quite encouraged by the progress Mike made last week. He still needs approximately 75% assistance when standing up or walking. He can use a walker for transferring from a wheelchair to the parallel bars but is not yet able to use the walker in place of the parallel bars. Walking the length of the bars is one accomplishment but an additional accomplishment is being able to turn around to walk the other way. He can stand for approximately two minutes using the walker or bars and they are also working on his upper body strength. He is still on mostly soft foods but they will be testing other foods. They are being cautious because if he aspirates food he could develop pneumonia. .

I also talked to his nurse. The news on the biopsies is that they were inconclusive. While there are some atypical cells, the cancer has not come back. I guess that's a case of no news and good news. 

As I said last week, Mike is on the waiting lists for both the Pioneers Home and Wildflower Court. The progress he made last week shows he is working hard to gain strength.  Some days he is more confident than others and when he is discouraged, he becomes uncertain and/or unrealistic about his options.  We are working hard to keep Mike realistic and his options open. It's clear that the good wishes and visits from his many friends mean a lot to him and help to boost his morale.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday, June 7

The ad for Mike is all set to run in Sunday's Juneau Empire in the front section. Here is a copy for all to enjoy. Please do not mention this ad to Mike if you see him or talk to him. I intend to express mail a copy of the paper to him first thing Monday morning and want him to be surprised when he sees it. Here is an advance copy for you to enjoy. Thanks to Ken Moss for the original idea and wording, Phil Smith for the layout, Virginia Breeze for the fine editing, and to all who generously contributed to paying for the ad.

Mike continues to be pleased with his recent progress in physical therapy. Yesterday he walked the distance of the parallel bars four times. It was only about a week ago that he accomplished walking the entire length only once. I asked if he goes to the dining room for any of his meals. He said he goes there for breakfast every morning and has three charming ladies as his tablemates.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday, June 4

I just talked to Mike. He had been taken back to Harborview Hospital today just so they could check his sutures from his hip surgery. He said they were very pleased with how it looked.

He was also pleased that he had walked the full length of the parallel bars round trip. He is setting goals for himself to increase the number of times he can walk so that is showing a very positive attitude.

I talked to his nurse today and she told me that it will be a couple more weeks before they know the results of his biopsies. I'm amazed it takes that long.

Ken Moss, Phil Smith and Virginia Breeze have done a wonderful job of composing, laying out and proofing the ad for Mike. I will try to get it in the paper this Sunday. If you have put a check in the mail but have not received an acknowledgement from me, it would be helpful if you would email me with the amount so I know how large I can go with the ad.

This information comes from Mark Regan who visited Mike a week ago. If anyone is in the Seattle area without a car, Mike's extended care facility is on the 128 bus line, which runs from Southcenter and Tukwila all the way to the north end of West Seattle.  There are several different ways to make connections either from the airport or from downtown Seattle.  People can use the metro trip planner using the destination 1703 California Ave SW.

That's all for now.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday, June 2

First of all, I have an apology to make. I mistakenly credited Jay Crondahl with taking the photo of Mike sitting on "The Beast." It has been part of our photo album so long I just assumed ownership. It was actually taken by Mike's friend, Jan Tiura, on one of her trips to Juneau. Sorry, Jan, and it is a great photo.

Secondly, because of a problem with Mike's roommate, he has been moved to a new room. He is now in Room 103 for those of you who can visit. Afternoons and weekends are best because he has physical therapy on weekday mornings. His new phone number is 206-826-0664.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday, June 1

Yesterday when I talked to Mike he was in a great mood because he had had a breakthrough in his physical therapy. Last week he had felt himself slipping further behind but yesterday he had done something he had not been able to do before. He walked the entire length of the parallel bars and was so happy about it.

This morning he called and said that for the first time since he got there, he has slept through the night for two consecutive nights without major pain. 

Since others have been sharing photos, I thought I would share one of our favorites. When I first came to town in 1963, Mike's vehicle was an old WWII personnel carrier, affectionately known as "The Beast".  There was none other like it in town. Jay had taken a photo of him sitting on it and I used this photo to make him a card for his 80th birthday.

Those of you who have ever ridden with Mike, whether in the "Beast" or one of his subsequent vehicles, know that he can't drive without using his horn as a warning to other drivers within a half block. Thus the poem we wrote to go along with the photo.

You've traveled far in 80 years,
Applied the bakes and shifted gears.
Sat up high for all to see, 
And used your horn most liberally.

Mike is now on the active list for the Pioneers Home. There are no rooms currently available but he is at the top of list for when a man's room at the appropriate level of care becomes available. He is also on the waiting list for a room at Wildflower court. He is eager to get back to Juneau.