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Back In Seattle ….


UPDATE 12/05: Sorry there haven’t been many updates. I’ve been catching up on the home front in Prosser. Now, I am back in Seattle for a couple days. We’ve made good progress with mom and she is testing out her new home today. Hopefully, it will work for her. 


UPDATE 12/02: (oops, put the wrong update-date on this) We stayed with mom through yesterday (Wednesday), then returned home. On Tuesday night, I started coming down with what I believe is some kind of flu (tested negative for covid), so thought I should go home. Ann followed me home a little later. Meanwhile, my aunt found mom a 24/hour elder-home run with a limited number of tenants run by a nurse that is just a few minutes from my aunt’s house; it sounds like a nice place for mom to stay for a while. It is by no means cheap, but they take and accompany her to doc appointments and offers a doctor that will make visit the house. All this will relieve huge burdens on all of us. 

Several times during the past few days mom didn’t know where she was. When I brought her back from the hospital on Friday (and I won’t get into how difficult it was to get her into the truck at the hospital), I wheeled her into the house, then the kitchen. She slowly stood up with my help and using her walker, then shuffled towards a back glass door that leads to the back deck. I asked where she was going. She said she was trying to figure out how to get into the house. I said we were in the house. She then asked how she could get to the kitchen. I told her we were in the kitchen. Eventually, she got her bearings. But, these moments of confusion, of having no idea where she was at while in her home of 55 years, happened multiple times over the past few days.

Today, I feel better, but don’t feel 100%. So, I’m on bedrest.


(11/30/2021) Our quick 2 day jaunt to Seattle on Friday has turned into much longer stay. So, things remain on hold on the jeep side of things.

Mom wasn’t taking her LASIX regularly, which led to absorbing water and puffing up. So, not long after we arrived, we were off to the hospital. She stayed two days there, where they managed to get her fluid levels down, but even with lasix and Spiro (short for another drug that helps eliminate water build-up), her heart isn’t keeping up. So, we have her on some bed rest in the hopes we can lower some of the new swelling (not as bad as she was Friday).

Making predictions on how this will play out is difficult. But, one of the best pieces of wisdom we got from one of Ann mother’s doctors was that if the patient’s health decline is over months, the patient likely has months left; if the decline is over weeks, she likely has weeks left; if the decline is over days, she likely has days left. We believe we are well into the weeks category and will plan accordingly.

One the interesting note I read the other day was from a hospice nurse of 6 years, with also 9 years of ICU experience. She said that often folks who are about a month away from passing will imagine seeing or talking with loved ones who have passed or beloved pets, I found it an interesting read, one that’s been consistent with our experiences:


17 Comments on “Back In Seattle ….

  1. Mike Finegan

    Dave, found myself in the same situation some years ago with my mom,, weak heart but kept going for 11 years with medication, blood thinners, lasix etc. She was on home hospice for 2 years, I was her primary care giver. When you speak of the near death stages, communicating & visions of loved ones, My dad would say, is that you Jamsie? (Dad died in 1991) Is that you Kathleen? Jamsie was his older brother who came to America ahead of my dad. Jamsie was to meet my dad when he arrived in America, but never showed up. That was in the 1930’s, over the decades, my father never talked about it till his dying days. Still don’t know what happened to Jamsie, (James) still searching. Kathleen was easy to figure out, found some old letters in my dad’s belongings, and Kathleen was the daughter of a woman my dad rented a room from before he enlisted in the Army. Kathleen wrote to him while he was in the service. Wish I could find some sign of Jamsie. I continue the search, but time waits for no one.
    It’s not easy caring for ageing parents, make to most of the time you have left with your mom, memories that will last for ever after. Pece & good will Dave.

  2. Konwakiton

    oh my god , deja vu ? — my dear sainted mother ( ww2 navy wave hero ) was in a care home for her last days and told us about a bad ? man outside on the patio — there was no one out there — the care nurses told us the same thing you described — she passed a few nights later — hang in there ,,,

  3. Ivan

    I’m feelin this post extra. Dad is in the ICU right now w his second broken hip. Mom has terminal cancer and is flinty and fierce. It’s all depressing and difficult, but we gotta put on the brave face and just let them know they are still loved and relevant. As the Brits say, keep calm and carry on.

  4. Geoff Monroe


    I certainly can relate to your situation. Kathy and I met you and Anne on your trip through Alabama a few years ago. Sadly Kathy passed away this last October after a year and a half battle with complications after a liver transplant. During her decline, she would talk to her daughter who died in ’96. She also would talk to her Grandmother and step father who had passed as well. The hospice nurse is spot on when assessing the time she has remaining, in my experience.
    Just know that we are here in spirit for you and Ann, and pray that you all find peace and strength in the time to come.

  5. SteevK

    You’re there with her when in need, and that is important and in her best interest. You’re doing good!

  6. David Darrah

    Hey, I’m in the same situation. My family & I moved in to take care of mom when she broke her hip at beginning of pandemic (1-31-20). After graduating to a walker post rehab, her calcium levels went through the roof (lethal levels) and had to be rushed to ER a year ago Labor day weekend. Attending Dr. told me her heart was failing, that she had maybe 2-4 months. “Be thankful IF she would last through the holidays”. They put her on home hospice. They lifted the hospice a year ago because she improved. Currently, she JUST dug in and helped decorate the house. BUT, she mixes old memories with new ones. Sometimes she’ll interject topics that have nothing to do with what she’d been talking about a sentence earlier, but be sharp as tack for days afterwards. Well she’s still hanging in there. States her goal is to make it to 100 (she’s 92 1/2). Her primary Dr. says she’s too feisty to go “quietly” anytime before she’s ready. The difficulty is she still treats me like she did when I was a teenager a lot of the time, even though I’m in charge of household/bills/yard/meals.
    Her weekly pattern (for this past year) is up, and functioning 2-3 days in a row, then a day or two mostly staying in bed.
    Our family will make the most of whatever time she has left.

    Best wishes for you & your family, Dave

  7. David Eilers Post author


    I’m so sorry to hear about Kathy. I will never forget hunting for that out-of-the-way coffee shop with you two and Ann. It’s those kind of odd, unique memories of adventure that I treasure. So, she’s in our thoughts as well.

    – Dave

  8. David Eilers Post author


    That’s a lot to absorb. It can be hard to soldier through this stuff. I don’t think I have any words of wisdom to add. I feel extremely fortunate to have Ann by my side as she’s incredible at handling and caring for old folks. And, unlike my mother-in-law, this isn’t all upon us; My aunt has played a pivotal role. Best of luck going forward!

    – Dave

  9. David Eilers Post author


    I can’t remember hearing of someone who went through hospice, only to improve. There were a few times this week that mom looked liked she was in hospice, especially when we had to shift her in bed. We keep a sheet underneath mom and when she needs to shift upwards in bed, she’s told to cross her arms on her chest, then we grab each side of the sheet and shift her up. (sheets are also useful for helping change diapers in bed .. the things I have learned in these past three years!)…

    I can imagine being treated like a teenager would wear on you. That would frustrate me, too. My mother-in-law was feisty, too. That meant we butted heads. I am not much of a yeller (Ann and I have never yelled at one another for example), but her mom and I got into a few yelling matches (her mother was a yeller). Ugh.

    You’ve had and looks like will continue to have a long grind. Best of luck to you and your family!!

    – Dave

  10. David Eilers Post author


    That’s a long haul with your mom. Yes, agreed, it isn’t easy. Dad survived 17 years after his stroke, but he was capable of doing some of his care until 2011, when he began having heart problems. The last 8 years were more difficult, but much of that fell on my mom.

    That’s quite a mystery regarding Jamsie! I hope you can figure it out! When dad was in hospice and mom was gone I asked him if there was anything he wanted to tell me, to get off his chest, or anyone he wanted me to contact, maybe someone mom didn’t know. Now, we were never close in that way, never confidants, but I asked him just the same. It didn’t surprise me when he said no, he didn’t. While I wasn’t surprised at his tight lips, as he still kept some of his military exploits secret, I did know that there was at least one non-military secrets he could have mentioned, but chose not to mention; He just didn’t know that I already knew.

    So, when near death, we learned nothing knew about his life nor did he appear to call out to anyone who had already passed. But, he did talk about his sister a lot while in hospice, one who died at the age of 13 from leukemia in 1944.

    – Dave

  11. Konwakiton

    today is 12/6/21 — 12/6/69 i was at the infamous , legendary ALTAMONT SPEEDWAY FREE ROLLING STONES SHOW — i drove my 1951 WILLYS OVERLAND SEDAN DELIVERY serial number 10003 , 3rd one made in 51 , to the show and couldnt find it afterwards — just another victim of the oakland chapter of the HAMC ?? — i found it later when i sobered up — i could have died ?? — 4 people did ..

  12. PeterCJurczyk

    Gramma used to say we come into the world helpless and leave it same way guess what is not often taught is parents take care of us in beginning we take care of them in the end.. myself only struggling fortunate to have siblings that wi care for my mother.. as selfishly searching for Jeep possibly restore as job or retirement plan someday glad I read about your story as reminder not to buy things don’t need in case mom needs care I can contribute appreciate your article will read follow ups hot chicken soups with black and cyanne peppers heated can reproduce similar affects to pennecilin.. and the bootleg doesn’t hurt learn to tame alcohol ca be of assistance certain hope prayer can ease burden of understandings and remember to carry on no matter what yet purpose is sometimes unclear.. have super evening ! PCJ

  13. Bob

    Dave, this is one of the hardest things you’ll ever deal with. My mother (91) has microvascular dementia, which presents itself differently and slower than Alzheimer’s. The end result is the same, it just behaves differently. It was tough watching her loose her memory and much of her personality over the years. She has good days and bad. Some days she is quite lucid, others you know she’s not really in there.

    We have home helpers come in twice a day, which is quite expensive, but I do wish we had more for both of them. My father is also 91 and is slowly declining in strength and abilities to do pretty much anything. I’d love to find them a place they could go that’s easier on them, but it’s like talking to a brick wall when it comes to conversations like this.

    Best of luck with this and hang in there
    – Bob

  14. David Eilers Post author


    You hang in there, too! It was equally frustrating trying convince mom to downsize following Dad’s death. She was paralyzed by indecision. However, her mental confusion and health struggles appear to have chipped away at her stubbornness and, to our surprise, she was reasonably okay with going to the new home. If she had all her faculties, I can only image how difficult it would have been to move her.

    Mom’s mental decline began roughly four years ago. It’s been slow and steady and could possibly be explained by microvascular dementia. Whether a coincidence or not, her decline seems to be in parallel with her strokes, meaning her mental decline has increased steadily since the strokes in May/June.

    One of the staff members at the elder care home felt that her confusion was a sign of dementia. So far, it seems to be affecting her awareness and her functional abilities, however her memories of people and events seems to be reasonably good so far. We’ll see how this progresses …

    Thankfully, mom is enjoying her new home. She says the food is great and she’s being treated like a queen. There’s also more human stimulation, which I think will help her thrive.

    Though it has been a long five years (Dad’s decline in 2018-early 2019, M-I-Law late 2019-Sept 2021, and mom May 2021-?), we’ve been very fortunate that it hasn’t been all at once, as that would have been impossible to juggle.

    For now, due to a week of snow in the mountains and a week-long trip for Ann, I will have two weeks of being at home, which makes me perfectly happy.

  15. Bob

    Dave, My mom’s condition was caused by a series of mini strokes many years ago that slowly take their toll so it seems to me that they could be related. Yes, as my mom’s memory has declined so has her stubbornness to change, but my dad possesses enough to make up for the both of them. I think it’s much harder when both parents are still around but he has given up on some things like driving and such, though he threatens to drive when we can’t take him grocery shopping on a moments notice!

    You and Brenda have my sympathy and support!


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