Chapter 12, November/December
Recap: as of November 2007:
The previous chapters take you up to mid-September.
We returned from the cabin just in time for the transfer to Chris Ridge Village.
On September 25, Aldean was transferred to Chris Ridge. I had been
taking her to the YMCA for exercise on their machines.
She started therapy again after arrival in the care center at Chris
She had good and bad days. We suspected it was (it has been again
and again in the past) medications and more changes in medications causing
Finally I called in help for her in the form of two of her previous
From Senior Horizons: Dr. C. who is a "Diplomat, American Board
of Psychiatry and Neurology, Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association,
Adult and Geriatric Psychiatry.
From Barrow Neurological Institute: Doctor F. who has seen her in
the past and is: Chief Neurovascascular Section, Division of Neurology,
Barrow Neurological Institute Stroke Center.
Her blood pressure was too low and the heart was not pushing blood
"through" the brain, especially when she was seated or standing.
One of her other physic medications was being given in the wrong dosage
at the wrong time.
When these were corrected we noticed an immediate improvement. Right
now we don't know if someone at Chris Ridge has made another change in her
medications, or if it is simply not enough liquids.
Her primary care physician is making a few changes, which may or may
not be helping her.
On November 8th she is moving into her own one-room apartment in the
Village Garden at Chris Ridge Village She may have to make a few adjustments
and we are very hopeful this will have a positive impact on her as a step
in the right direction.
of Aldean's new room at Chris Ridge Village Garden
I am with Aldean each morning. Sherry comes in about 12:30 for the
rest of the day except for Sunday and Tuesday.
Aldean will benefit by visits from friends. For her updated day-by-day
schedule you may call Gene 602-309-9766 or Sherry at 602-502-4940.
November 22, 2007
at Steve Redman's House
What a beautiful day to be alive and among family... Aldean was having
a good day. We are so thankful she could attend.
There was Aldean and Gene, our children Sherry,
Kathleen and Steve; three of our granddaughters, their boyfriends and our
great-granddaughter Aurora Rose who is Rebekah's daughter.
Thanksgiving was very nice. Of course with the turkey Steve supplied
and baked, and all the other good food brought in...leading to the pecan
and pumpkin pies, no one remained hungry.
We are so happy Kathleen's Mother-In-Law Marjorie Converti and her
son Mark could join us. Let's hope they are available next year.
We are glad "Reb" Rebekah could attend with our great-granddaughter
Aurora Rose. Aurora didn't know what to make of me, it has been too long
since she has seen me. Hopefully, Reb will correct this in the future. Aurora
has grown so much and was having a ball running around and playing with
Steve will soon be leaving Phoenix. Chrysler is closing the Arizona
Proving Ground and moving it to the larger one they bought from Ford near
Kingman. Believe Steve will be moving by next April. Hope his new house
has enough space for our motor home.
Thanksgiving afternoon; Aldean enjoyed being surrounded with her family
so much. There were a lot of hugs and kisses upon which she thrived. She
tired easily and we had to leave shortly after dinner. She went to bed as
soon as we reached Christ Ridge and her room. She was soon fast asleep.
Saturday November 24th
Her doctor from Senior Horizons was in to see her. He spent over an
hour evaluating her and reviewing her medications. He made a few changes
we hope will help.
Sherry and I have some leads on some other drugs we will research
that could help by increasing the oxygen in her body.
Aldean is now sleeping through most nights, but she looks for me to
be with her as much as possible. She is growing weaker as she is not receiving
therapy at this time.
I am disappointed she cannot at least use the "standing frame"
which helps her the most. We can't use the one in the therapy room due to
liability. Wish I knew where I could find one for her to use. I have helped
the therapists enough so I feel confident of being able to operate it.
Aldean's prognosis doesn't look good. We will continue the best we
can. We are thankful for her family and friends who visit her.
Monday, November 26th
Over the weekend another change in medications.
Aldean is calm, her speech is clear and she
seems to be better.
Morning BP 131/61, P=80. Later in the day BP 113/89. Her blood sugar
was 113 at breakfast. A short time later it was 189.
For several days she has complained orf her legs hurting, back of
her thighs.. She is unable to straighten her left elbow without pain. General
She was having problems in the evening. Called me on her cell phone
asking that I come over. I called and talked to Bret, her RN. Said he was
with her when she called, advised me not to call her back. Said she was
tucked into bed and they thought she would be OK through the night.
Tuesday, November 27th
At breakfast BP 120/76. Too low for her. P=83.
She woke lying on her left side. Couldn't move her left arm from under
her.body. Unable to straighten her left elbow. In intense pain when we tried
to straighten it to pull on her sweater. Complained of pain in her ankles
She is weaker. Couldn't give us much support when transferring her.
She ate about half of her breakfast, then wanted to return to bed.
Friday November 30th
Very weak. Leans to left when sitting at breakfast with face lowered
After breakfast, in bed 115/54 P=75.
One hour larter, stitting 122/58
Depressed, she is scared for her and for me,
same as the last few days.
Saturday, December 1st
Still weak. Wants to spend day in bed. Introduced to new reclining
lounge chairs near dining room Hope she will make friends with others.
BP 129/67 P=83
Sunday, December 2nd
Was alert, sat upright. Spent 12 minutes on sitting-step machine in
BP 149/72 P65 taken after breakfast.
Still not eating very much. At lunch she left after eating only her
soup. Very depressed in the afternoon.
Every day she is very anxious when she is by
Monday, December 3rd
This morning Aldean was almost her old self.
She was very calm, stonger and lucid. Two days ago a hold was placed on
Acicept and Zocor.
This morning she saw her primary care physician, Dr. M. who had signed
off on the above changes and made other changes in her medications. We will
see how she responds during the next 30 days. A test for cholestrol is being
December 6th: 148/72 Pulse 86, BSugar 93. Having a good day.
December 7th: 141/69. Another good day
December 8th: 102/59, P 83, BS 23 Norvase given after vitals were
taken. Very weak this morning. Ate only a little of
her breakfast and lunch. Very Depressed. Told another resident she
was, "I am O.K. but will do better if I can get rid of this depression."
December 9th: 149/76 P 72. A much better day mentally and physicaly.
7:00 AM 82/63, P93
9:00 AM 84/59, P87
10:00 AM 131/67, P75
8:00 AM 132/87
4:00 PM 140/60 P 72 Taken after a nap.
She was having a bad dream when she slipped
out of bed, skinned knee on wheelchair bracket.
9:00 AM 156/85
5:00 PM 134/51, Blood Sugar
63. Weak in PM, words slurred.
7:30 AM 104/53, P76
4:00 PM 138/75, P89
Still having bad dreams, but doesn't remember
7:30 AM 104/68, P87
Drowsy, unable to hold fork or drink without
7:30 AM 107/75, P 86, Blood Sugar 117. Worn out today. Did not sleep much last night. Still having
8:00 AM 143/80, Blood Sugar
95. Alert, very good this morning.
At my request they
didn't wake her at 6:00 or 6:20 AM, then leave her sitting in the dining
room until breakfast around 8:00. She falls asleep with her head on the
table before and during breakfast. She remains tired through and after breakfast.
Now they will wake her, take her to the bathroom,
dress her and put her back into bed until I arive or it is time for breakfast.
7:30 AM: 147/80, Pulse 84.
Did very well this morning. They woke her early,
dressed her and returned her to bed until I arrived about 7:30.
This is to be continued.
7:30 AM: BP 149/73 Pulse 80, Blood Sugar 93.
Aldean is having a good day. She had an afternoon
appointment at Barrows.
Wednesday, December 19th:
8:00 AM: BP 149/73 Pulse 93. Blood Sugar 93
Noon: BP 133/71 P 95
3:15 PM: 118/69 P91
Trouble sitting upright in wheelchair, leans
to one side. Could not hold fork or spoon correctly. I had to feed her.
At 10:00 AM went to dining room for activities. She just sat at the
table, looking toward the other side of the room, not participating. Slept
the rest of the day.
She is very anxious when I am not there. Several
calls from her during the morning and early afternoon. Wants me to come
Thursday: December 20th:
8:00 AM: BP 126/60, P 82, Blood Sugar 89
Much like yesterday, really not very responsive and weak. Slept all
Friday, December 21st:
BP 119/66, P88, B.Sugar 65
Very dazed. Could not sit upright in wheelchair.
I had to feed her at all three meals, only a little at a time. Only ate
a little of each meal. No appetite. Very weak, especially
her legs and torso.
Tried to eat, but when she brought the fork up toward her mouth, she
placed her mouth at the upper end of the handle near her thumb. Again and
We (Bret Pierce, RN) speculated on the possibility
of another TIA sometime during the last couple
of days? Very anxious until after her 4:00
Aldean complaines of her eyes hurting.
I received a number of phone calls from her
during the day, asking me to come get her.
Saturday, December 22nd:
Aldean can no longer pick up her cell phone,
nor remember how to use it to speed dial.
BP: 123/64, P 83, Blood Sugar 75
Aldean conplained all morning and early afternoon of her
eyes hurting. She is comfortable with a wet washcloth over her eyes.
Sitting upright this morning in the wheelchair. She had her face upward
for the first time at breakfast. She almost always has been looking downward
while trying to eat, so the food often falls from her mouth.
This morning as I sat next to her, I had her plate mostly in front
of me while I cut up her food.
Aldean used the salt shaker to salt the placemat
in front of her. When I called attention to this, she salted the tablecloth
She has trouble with left arm and left leg.
She can push her wheelchair with her right arm, but doesn't even put the
left arm onto the wheel. She can help push with her right foot, but doesn't
seem to recognize her left foot is dragging under the wheelchair.
Her morning dose of Psych. medication had
been dropped because we thought this might be interfering with her Therapy.
She had to drop out of Therapy nearly two weeks ago.
She telephoned me three times during the morning
while sitting in the large lounge chair near the entrance, in the hallway
across from the dining room.
Perhaps she should have a small morning dose of Psych. Meds at 8:00 AM?
8:00 PM: A trip to the drugstore to purchase
eye drops containing zink. Hope this will help.
Notes: There have been changes in her medications
over the last 60 days. Norvasc is being withheld when her BP is below 90/...
or when I request it be withheld for the day after I check her vitals.
Since the doctors
have recommended a BP of 140 to 150 so the
blood will go through/into her brain I asked
for the Norvasc be on hold on the days she has a lower BP accompanied with
slurred speech, weakness and lack of balance.
The RN on the
floor is concerned with too low a diastolic blood pressure reading, seemingly
more important then a low systolic pressure. I
guess the ideal would be around 135/80 for Aldean.
I believe the
RN has requested permission of our family doctor to hold B/P meds below
<110/70. He cited the lowest BPs of 90/58 and 80/53.
When this happens
she is like a zombie.
I had suggested
holding the B/P meds (Is Norvasic the only one?) when the systolic falls
Sunday, December 23rd
Before breakfast: BP 149/86, Pulse 84 and Blood Sugar 103.
7:00 AM, Aldean was asleep and didn't want to rise. (The Aides had
taken her to the bathroom at 5:00 AM, dressed her and put her back in bed.)
I let her sleep until 7:30. Applied drops to her right eye.
Then to the bathroom and
in for breakfast. She had to be fed the fried egg and toast. She had trouble
holding up the coffee cup and used a straw for her cranberry juice.
After breakfast she wanted to return to bed and immediately fell asleep.
During the morning she phoned me several times
calling for help and wanting me to come get her. Around 10:00 they moved
her to her lounge chair for the rest of the morning.
At the noon meal she was much stronger. She ate very little lunch
and wanted to immediately return to bed for the afternoon.
At dinner she was a little more alert, I had to feed her and she ate
very little. She did take an energy malt.
8:30 PM: Received a call from the Med Aide at
Chris Ridge. Aldean would not open her mouth to take her meds. When I arrived
Aldean was in bed with her eyes closed but not asleep.
She told me she didn't want the meds. She said
she wanted to go to the bathroom. Afterwards, while sitting up in her wheelchair
she took her meds. from me with no problem.
In bed again she just stared at the wall beside her bed. About 15
minutes later she fell asleep.
Monday, December 24th
BP 136/78, Pulse 87, Blood Sugar 101
6:30 AM Aldean was very sound asleep in bed. I had trouble waking
her. She had been dressed and returned to bed. I noticed the bed pad was
missing and the top sheet was damp.
7:30 at breakfast she was lethargic and kept
staring toward the TV, although I believe she was not concentrating on the
program. She ate a few bites or egg, just a little oatmeal and some water.
She did finish her cranberry drink.
Afterward she wanted to return to bed. She was
fast asleep within minutes.
She was fed a few bites at lunch. She had a difficult day.
7:45-9:30 PM: She was sleeping when we entered
the room with her medicine. We moved her to her wheelchair so she was sitting
upright. She failed to swallow any part of her medicine. It took over an
hour to get her to swallow a spoon of chocolate pudding with the meds mixed
She has some congestion in her upper chest,
most of which she spit up. I left her with the head of the bed raised to
about a 30 degree angle.
The eye drops are helping her right eye.
She doesn't like the drops and gives me a bit of a hard time, but it is
Aldean at Christmas
December 25th: Merry Christmas!
6:00 AM BP 147/74, Pulse 99
7:30 AM BP 132/66, Pulse 102, Blood Sugar 224
Unable to wake Aldean for more than a few seconds.
She gives no help when transferring. Did not eat anything at breakfast nor
could she take her medicine in chocolate pudding. Would take only a sip
or two of liquids: Cranberry Drink, Coffee and Water.
Returned her to bed and she immediately fell asleep. I had no trouble
putting a drop of medicine onto her right eye. The eye looks normal, much
The RN feels she is dehydrated. The plan is to let her sleep for an
hour, then take her out to the lounge chair and try to get her to take some
4:00 PM. BP 142/88, P108, Blood Sugar 152
They could not move her to the lounge chair. She slept all day.
Temperature is now 101 degrees.
7:30 PM: Her eyes open and clear. For the first
time she appeared aware and could reply to me. She could hardly be heard
speaking. She was glad to see me and asked me to help her. Her forehead
felt a little warm.
At the suggestion of the RN I brought in and
administrated Tylenol suppositories.
She was cooperative when I applied her eye
I tried to get her to
drink a little water, unsuccessfully. Left her sleeping at 8:00 PM.
Wednesday, December 26th:
Midnight: BP 137/70, Pulse 90, Blood Sugar 142., Temperature
2:30 AM: Deep sleep, lying on her back. She
woke up clear headed and bright eyed. She could hold a conversation with
Administered Tylenol suppositories with no trouble. Tried
to get her to drink some water, refused.
2:45 AM: Temperature 99.8 degrees.
6:45 AM Temperature 97.5 degrees.
BP 152/66, Pulse 79.
Clear headed at the beginning. Very weak. Gave her another Tylenol suppository.
Her eyes look good. I again put drops in her
right eye. She permitted this. Apparently these don't hurt as they did during
the last two days.
Aldean did not eat much breakfast, only one-half spoon of egg, a taste
of gravy and she wanted to return to her room..
Took two sips of cranberry juice and one sip
seem to cause/activate phlegm in her throat and make her cough. She did
manage to drink a little hot tea, which she enjoyed.
Note: Two days ago the RN noted congestion in her upper
During breakfast she keep trying to to slump over and suddenly appear
to be asleep. Took her to bed in her room. She promptly fell asleep.
Last night and this morning she has been speaking
in only a whisper.
5:00 PM: BP 160/82, Pulse 96. Blood Sugar 120
Took only a little soup and liquid at dinner.
Tylenol suppositories administrated with no problem.
They had a difficult time getting her to take her evening meds. in chocolate
11:00 PM: Tylenol suppository administrated. Temperature is 98.7.
Will discontinue Tylenol.
Thursday, December 27th
7:00 AM: BP 152/72, Pulse 89, Blood Sugar 241,
After breakfast her temperature is 99 degrees.
She had a small carton of cranberry drink, a half-dozen small bites
of egg and hash browns with 10-12 sips of coffee.
Her mind is clear compared to the last few days.
Her voice is low.
After breakfast she wanted to return to bed.
She immediately fell asleep.
Did not go to lunch or dinner. Trying to get
her to take liquids. She slept most of the day.
4:00 PM Blood Sugar 56
5:30 PM Blood Sugar 154
8:00 PM, Temperature 100.6 Tylenol suppositories
By 9:00 PM she was in a deep sleep, breathing
was rapid and shallow. I could hear phlegm on every exhale.
Friday, December 28th
2:00 AM Temperature 99.7 Tylenol suppositories and
eye drops administered.
Aldean was in a deep sleep. Short, rapid and
shallow breaths. Mouth open. I could hear phlegm on every exhale.
Never woke up, even when we rolled her over twice to change her briefs
and pad under her.
7:00 AM Temperature 99.0 Tylenol suppositories
and eye drops administered. Aldean never woke up. Same type of deep sleep
as last night. Her lungs may be a 'little' more clear.
BP 119/65 Pulse 101
2:00 PM Temperature hasn't risen.
X-rays were taken yesterday afternoon. The report came back today,
"Pneumonia." (And she had flu and
pneumonia shots last October.)
I made the decision, no antibiotics.
Aldean is now enrolled with Hospice of The Valley.
She will remain in her private room at Chris Ridge Village, Garden Village,
If any friends wish to visit, it is suggested
they do so in the next two or three days.
Saturday December 29th
12:30 AM Aldean is sleeping peacefully. She is receiving oxygen and
has been given a light dosage of morphine to ease the pain she has been
experiencing in her legs.
Tylenol suppositories and eye drops administered.
BP 141/65, pulse 81, temperature 99.9
7:30 AM BP 154/69, Pulse 87, Temperature 99.7
Tylenol and eye drops administrated.
She woke alert. She enjoyed looking out the window
instead of at the TV which was showing the preview to the Fiesta Bowl Parade.
She took a little water, several spoons of broth and just a little
apple juice. Will try again in a half hour or so.
4:00 PM Aldean came out of sleep to find Kathleen
and Steve, as well as Sherry and myself with her. She was so happy to have
her family with her.
We talked quite a bit, Steve showed some pictures
from his camera through the TV in her room. These were of Thanksgiving when
we were all together through the Christmas gathering which Aldean couldn't
attend. There are some beautiful shots of the holiday decorations outside
and inside his house.
We were all interested in seeing Steve's pictures
taken over the last few days in Kingman. These are mostly of some of the
homes he may be interested in, when he moves to Kingman this April. They
are all in new developments in the nearby mountains.
Sunday, December 30tth:
7:30 AM: BP138/65, Pulse 84, Temperature 100.1
Aldean was relaxed and looking good. She had
a very light breakfast and we talked and held hands much of the morning.
Aldean was especially glad to see Daryl
Ieronimo, her prayer partner of many years. She came with Mary who
drove her. We left them alone with Aldean for some time. I know this was
good therapy for both Aldean and Daryl.
Late afternoon: Sherry, Kathleen, Rachel and Michael left for dinner
at the Village Inn. I believe the girls had Michael outnumbered and put
him on the spot. Sherry says he came through with flying colors. He and
Rachel have set a date for the wedding in April.
In the early evening I gave Aldean some jello,
soup and juice. She was tiring and dozing every few minutes. I turned on
the oxygen (first time today) and within 15 minutes she was resting peacefully.
Rebekah stayed with Aldean until Sherry returned. Sherry said Aldean
had trouble going to sleep. She left about 9:30 PM.
Monday, December 31st.
7:00 AM. BP 154/97, Pulse 100, Temperature
Aldean woke up alert. She looks good this morning,
rested. Believe this will be a good day for her.
A new RN from Hospice came in to interview Aldean.
Aldean answered the questions with no problem.
I spent the morning with Aldean. She became tired about 11:00 AM.
She will doze lightly for a few minutes, then come awake. Sherry took over
The visitors yesterday apparently didn't faze
her in the least. She seems to thrive on these
visits. I believe visits from friends are helping her feel better. I hope
she has more visitors this afternoon and tomorrow, New Year's Day.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
8:00 AM. BP 151/80 Pulse 98, Temp. 89.7.
Aldean is awake, calm and in no pain. She is
alert. She took several small bites of jello and a little apple juice.
She wanted to sit up so I raised the head of her bed. She was watching a
little TV and dozing when I left about 10 AM. Sherry will be with her this
afternoon and I will return tonight.
Aldean had two visitors in the late afternoon.
She enjoyed them very much.
In early evening a rise in temperature, wet
towels (mixture of water and alcohol) on forehead and chest brought down
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
4:00 AM Temperature normal. No meds. given.
6:30 AM: BP: 155/70, Pulse 105, Temp 101
8:00 AM: 153/78, Pulse 106, Temp 101.2,
10:00 AM Temp. 102.6 which is highest so far.
Noon: BP 152/95, Pulse 127, Temp. 100.9
Oxygen still in place since yesterday
evening. Aldean is breathing easily and is comfortable.
Aldean is unable to take jello. I mixed it with a small amount of
water so it is thin enough to drink. She took 8-10 small sips through a
straw. She likes it. Only a few little sips of water this morning.
We expect she will feel better this afternoon. Sherry will be with
her this afternoon and evening.
4:30 PM: The hospice Chaplain was with
her and prayed with her this afternoon. Aldean
was very happy he was there. Aldean indicated to him she was ready to go
"Home." Sherry was with them at the time.
Tonight, Sherry and Steve (our children) each,
when alone with Aldean, told her she has their permission to leave us. I
intend to do so when alone with her tomorrow (Thursday) morning.
She is failing very fast. At this time I don't (personally) expect
her to last more than a week from today, if that long.
But, she is a tough lady and has fooled me before.
The Final Day
Thursday, January 3rd
Aldean's vital signs have been changing all day, sometimes high and
low at other times. Her temperature is under control and she is comfortable.
The Tylenol has been doing a good job. Aldean has been sleeping much of
There is no question that she does listen to
and she does understand what is being said to her and said about her.
Sherry and Steve each spent time alone with Aldean. They each talked to
her in their own words:
The message is
for her not to hold back. It is time for her to let go, we are releasing
her from trying to stay with us and prolong this life. She can leave with
no regret and with our love.
this morning while alone with Aldean, I
talked to her for over an hour, telling her in my own way she can let herself
go and leave with our love.
Kathleen, in Payson, sent me an email last night.
This morning I read it to Aldean several times. She indicated she understood.
Shortly after this she was given her Tylenol and a dose of liquid
Thoughout the day, with no further drugs, everyone
commented on how relaxed and peaceful she is. These are the professionals
who see this stage of life quite often.
Dr. W. of Hospice of the Valley came about 6:30
PM. After examining Aldean he spent over an hour with Sherry and I. He made the same comments we had heard all day, about how
relaxed and peaceful she is. He told us he
didn't expect Aldean will last more than 24 to 48 hours.
Many of you have been praying for
Aldean. Now we ask you to change your prayer. Request her to stay calm,
peaceful and with no pain as she passes on to her "Home."
9:50 PM: I have just finished writing the above
and my phone is ringing. It is the night aide from Chris Ridge. She has
spent much of the last hour with Aldean, holding her hand. She tells me,
"Aldean has just passed on." I asked her to call the mortuary.
I am leaving now to be there when they pick up her body. Steve and Sherry
will meet me there.
12:30 AM: Home again. Goodbye sweet love...
During better days; Our campsite
for the month we worked in
the Cape Mears Lighthouse near Tillamook, OR
The ocean just behind the coach lulled us to sleep
If you haven't done so, click on the picture at the top of the page.
This describes our Aldean!!!.