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Will be out of town...

Posted by Ellene613 (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 13, 05 at 23:45

and away from computers for several days. My father is critically ill and not expected to recover. I have a flight booked to California tomorrow morning. Please keep Dad in your thoughts and prayers -- his Hebrew name is Leibel haLevi ben Bertha (Leibel the Levite, son of Bertha).


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Will be out of town...

Ellene, you will be in my thoughts these next several days. My heart goes out to you and your family.


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RE: Will be out of town...

Ellene, I'll be thinking of your family.


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Ellene, I am so sorry. Will be saying prayers for you at this difficult time.


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Ellene, I'm so sorry to hear about your father. We will keep him in our prayers.


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(((Ellene))),
I will be thinking of and praying for you, your family and your dear father. I am so very sorry. Wishing you all strength and peace in the upcoming days.


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Ellene--
Already praying. I'm so very sorry for you all.
Pamela


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Ellene,

Have a safe, quick flight.

Hang in there, and just be present for your dad and family. Sending many thoughts and prayers for your Dad, may he not suffer, and for your own strength and forebearance. It is a difficult time for you, so be gentle on yourself. Sincere wishes for peace and comfort at this time.
DONNA


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He will be in my thoughts as will you and the rest of your family.


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Very sorry to hear of this news. My prayers to you and your family.

V


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Ellene, my prayers will be for your strength and for your father's peace and comfort for all your family. Hugs to you.


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Sending loving thoughts and good wishes.


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Ellene, you and your family are in my thoughts. I am glad to know you will be with your father today.


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Ellene, I'm so sorry. Sending warm and loving thoughts to you and your family and a special cyber hug to you at time.


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Ellene, heartfelt thoughts for your whole family.


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Ellene,
Thinking about you.


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You will be in my thoughts Ellene.


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RE: Will be out of town...

I'm back... and Dad's still with us. I am grateful to all of you for your kind wishes and prayers.

When I flew out almost 2 weeks ago Dad was in a coma and on a ventilator, had pneumonia, his kidneys, liver, and skin systems were failing, and the doctors had said that it was "time to gather the family." When I visited directly from the airport he was nonresponsive except his blood pressure went up when he heard me speaking -- so Dad knew I was there. The the next day the pneumonia infection was pinpointed as MRSA -- that's an acronym for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, a contagious and very difficult to treat staph bug -- treatment began and since then he's been making slow -- so slow -- but steady progress. As of yesterday Dad was conscious, alert, and off the ventililator, but extremely weak and still in CCU (the critical care unit).

The doctors thankfully have been very aggressive in their treatment -- besides various medicines, Dad has received 2 blood transfusions and had fluid drained from his lungs. They never gave up. And I am very grateful to Nurse "A" who smuggled a phone into Dad's room (no cell phones allowed in CCU) quipping that he "broke the 7th Commandment" so I could hold the phone to Dad's ear while DS#1 called from Jerusalem.
On the other hand...

A week ago when Mom and I reached the floor, an uncle and aunt were leaving. They had just visited Dad and looked distraught, saying Dad was comatose. As soon as they left, Nurse "I" came out with a social worker in tow, saying Dad was non-responsive and pressuring us to to put in a DNR order. I called my Rabbi for guidance, and after some questions he said to not allow a DNR. Then Mom and I went into the room. I went over to the bed and asked "How're you doin', Dad?" And Dad, unable to speak because of the ventilator, looked at me, tilted his head, raised his eyebrows, and motioned "so-so" with his hand. Apparently Dad is selectively comatose -- this aunt is pretty hard to get along with, as is that nurse . On the way out, I spotted a flyer hanging up for a hospital continuing education lecture featuring "Kriss Kevorkian of the Center for Conscious Dying." (!?) The next day I decided to liberate the flyer but it was gone.

I do not know what will be -- Dad is still very sick. He has had ongoing problems with his heart and diabetes for several years. He fell and broke his upper arm almost 4 months ago, and has been unable to walk since then (due to the heavy cast and soft tissue trauma) -- and unless or until Dad can walk, he can't live at home with Mom.

Thank you all again for your support.


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RE: Will be out of town...

Ellene--
That's a pretty miraculous account. Selectively-comatose(!)--you made me smile in the middle of such a tough story. Your Dad sounds like a real fighter.

Staph infections are horrible...do you think he contracted his in the hospital? It does sound like he's got a great medical team.

I can so relate to you with your concerns about whether your Dad can continue to live at home with your Mother. I'm going through the same thing. Most people think that dealing with your parents' health issues is the worst, but to me, it's not. It's the prospect of splitting them up, which will be like a certain amputation. I dread it more than anything.

Thanks for the update, Ellene. I've been thinking of you, and your Dad is in my prayers. I'm so glad you went to be with him. Your presence gives him all the more reason to fight this thing.
Take care of yourself, too--this must be very draining.
Pamela


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I had pretty much the exact same reactions that Pamela did to your update, Ellene, from the "selectively comatose" through the MRSA question through the logistics of where-to-live question...also including the marveling at the aggressive treatment from the medical team.

I'll hold you and your family in the light...


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Ellene, sounds like your dad still has his sense of humor! He's sure fighting hard- hugs to all your family.


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I'm puttin you my email M'shiberach (prayers for the sick) list. It goes out World wide!
Refuah Sh'lemah (Get well)

Laurie


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RE: Will be out of town...

I know that this time of the cycle of life can be extremely difficult, because this time last year my Dad went ahead.

But I spent the last month of his life almost constantly at his side, and I feel like I got to know him all over again, and I gained new respect for his humor, his dignity, and the things he taught us right until he drew his last breath, and even beyond.

I wouldn't trade that last month with him for anything, even though there were some scary and distressing times. Gifts and blessings are to be found in the most unlikely places if we only accept them.

Holding a warm thought for your family.


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Hang in there Ellene, I know it's hard not knowing what's in store for your Dad, but it sounds like he is getting the best of care. You must have felt so torn leaving him.

Best wishes for peace and no suffering for your dad, whatever the outcome is. Be good to yourself and your family, you deserve it.
(((((Ellene)))))
DONNA


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RE: Will be out of town...

Ellene, I can only add my support to the wise words above. I'm so glad you came in to update us . . . I have wondered how you were doing this past week or so. I'm also glad to hear your father recovered from the infection - - that's a big hurdle for him to have cleared and shows he has much strength left. Like Donna said, don't forget to take care of yourself during this time!


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New update: Mom just called, and Dad's been transferred to ICU -- that's a significant step up. Mom reports that Dad looks much better and is smiling and talking a bit although he has very little voice (from a week + on the ventilator?).

I will try to respond to some of your individual comments tomorrow.


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So glad to hear your positive news, Ellene. You must be emotionally exhausted, take care of yourself!


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Pamela and Flyleft, I'm sure Dad contracted the MRSA at the convalescent home. It thrives in hospitals and longterm care facilities. And it happened fast. On Sunday 2 weeks ago Dad was happy, active, and enjoying a holiday performance from a local children and teens choir. On Monday he was lethargic and on Tuesday in a coma. Dad's been getting excellent medical treatment despite the fact that nobody's rich here. Just Medicare and Medigap insurance.

Mom and Dad have had such a good marriage that they're almost like one person -- yes, the separation is the hardest. If Dad continues to improve, the next step is to find a convalescent home near my parents' apartment. For reasons I do not understand, even though a quick glance through the phone directory revealed at least a half dozen such places within a few miles of their home, Dad had been in a convalescent facility over a half hour away by car via the freeway. Very difficult for Mom to visit as she's never driven freeways and we'd like her to give up using the car altogether (for both economic and safety reasons).

Laurie, thanks for putting Dad on a misheberach list.

Pecanpie, Dad always has a sense a humor -- joie de vivre is part of his essence. Demicent, thanks for sharing your story. Even told in a few brief strokes, it's very moving.

Donna and Paige, it was hard in some ways to leave, but Dad was improving while DH was starting to fall apart! Anyway, I was running out of things to fix and organize at my parents' apartment and probably driving Mom a bit nuts in addition to being a help and comfort -- she descibed me to aunts as a "whirlwind of activity." Pauline, I'm not exhausted, just normally hyper!

There were simple ways to make Mom's life much easier that were obvious to me but that others didn't see. I will list a few for the benefit of others in similar situations:
I helped Mom open a new checking account within easy walking distance of her apartment.
I showed Mom how to use a check register (Dad has always handled the finances).
Mom and Dad had just moved to a senior apartment when Dad broke his arm. I moved furniture and organized the place to make it easier and more enjoyable to live in.
After noting that Mom has lost at least 20 pounds over the last few months, finding that she's cooking much less, and carefully consulting with her to see what she needs and likes, I stocked the freezer with 12 weeks worth of dinners -- a combination of entrees from a very good (and inexpensive) kosher vegetarian restaurant, turkey patties, and frozen soups. After that, we will evaluate how it's worked out. A sister-in-law has volunteered/been conscripted to restock the freezer as needed.


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Ellene, what an extraordinary and important visit. Thank you for sharing. We just don't talk about these things enough in life, but the end of life changes affect everyone in the family.

The family had a difficult time separating my MIL from her car a few years ago. Luckily the separation was guided in a way that allowed everyone to "save face" but that's unusual. It was also lucky that no one was hurt before the car was "let go." I've told my teen that I trust her to gently take my license and to make other decisions when the time is right. She laughs about it now but I tell her similar things about finances and medical decisions here and there so that she will have a lifetime of conversation to look back on. Since we only have one child I am concerned that everything will fall on her shoulders. One of my grandmothers talked about her wishes with everyone matter-of-factly throughout her retirement years and as a result the last year of her life was much easier on family than it might have been. I find the conversations comforting even though most of us have put our wishes in writing legally as well. The last years are so hard.

It sounds as though all is peaceful and well, Ellene. Still thinking of you, as I'm sure your concerns are ongoing.


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Ellene--have not been on this site for awhile, so just learned of your dad's illness. I will think of him at shul on this important upcoming Shabbat. Glad to hear he is doing better. Keep us posted on his condition and how your mother is coping. Especially good to hear that he is getting such good care--not always the case these days. By the way, do you write a children's column? I was glancing at the kids section of the local Jewish paper, and looking at the addresses and names, figured it had to be you?


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Athome: How wise your grandmother was to let everybody know her wishes. DH and I both have health directives, as does Mom -- but not Dad! At least not yet... it will have to be taken care of. But he's never liked to talk about such things.

In California, separating no-longer-safe drivers from their cars is easier than most places, probably due to that awful tragedy a few years ago when an elderly driver plowed into several pedestrians at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market. One of my aunts recently lost her license; she's in her 80's.

Baba: Thank you. As of yesterday Dad was still in ICU but continuing to improve. Mom is very cautious and rather "scattered" since Dad broke his arm. It's created a discomfiting change in our roles; even at my age I still consider myself to be her "kid" in many ways. Today's projects (if Mom remembers): 1) getting Mom a power of attorney for Dad, and 2) contacting the hospital social worker to find a convalescent home closer to Mom's residence.

And yes, you've discovered me. I do a children's page for Jewish newspapers. DS#1 writes the stories, and I illustrate, create games, edit, do the graphics, and put it all together. It's truly amazing that DS#1 -- a student at the Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem -- can go to an acquaintance's home who has a computer, type up a story, and I have it in hand 5 minutes later. And that the next day I can digitally send the finished product to papers thousands of miles away from each other.


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RE: Will be out of town...

Hi Ellene!

I know right now you have other things on your mind, but I think I remember you saying that you were hoping to find an understated granite that would work with a cottage kitchen? There's a thread re' Gold(en) Oak granite and someone posted a pic of their cottagey kitchen-you may want to check it out-very, very pretty!

I hope your Dad is still on the road to improvement and your Mom is well ~ thinking about you!


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I'm sorry, it's the Gold(en) Leaf Granite or Corian thread..


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Pauline: Thanks for the heads up, I found the thread! Golden leaf is on my short list of possibles, along with millenium cream (AKA juperana millenium) and bianca romano. And Jerusalem stone looks beautiful but suspect it's over budget and may be high maintenance... or we may go with butcherblock everywhere. It's cheaper and DH and I both like it. I still have not found a granite that sings to me.

Dad continues to improve. He's now in a regular room. And Mom sounds happier. I do hope we can find a convalescent hospital for Dad near her.


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Ellene:
All good wishes for your dad's continued progress and your mom's peace of mind. I know the emotional and physical co-dependency created within my parents' 65 years of marriage as they struggle with failing health. It is not easy whether you are near or far away.


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Glad to hear your dad is improving. My daughter's brother-in-law teaches at Mir. I know it is a huge place. He and his wife and kids made aliyah a couple of years ago. Her other brother-in-law is learning this year at a new place (Where BMT used to be--my son-in-law went there and also Or David for the other year) called Torat Shraga. If you want to take a look at our kosher kitchen my daughter was over tonight and put up some pictures I took today---over on the gallery section. I take terrible pictures but these seemed to come out OK. Not completely done yet. My husband put all the cabinets (IKEA) together and installed them himself. He did a fabulous job. Tomorrow we are off to Hollywood, FL where our son and daughter-in-law live, and plan to eat at a Yemenite place for dinner. Lots of restaurants there, a treat for us.


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Hey Pauline, I may have finally found a granite that works! It's called silky yellow (lousy name! silk champagne would have been better). I have a small sample and will live with it for awhile. I also took home a sample of golden leaf, but the silky yellow is lighter and calls less attention to itself.

AnnaLee, you are so right. I just called Mom to remind her to call the hospital social worker who does convalescent home placements. Mom says the best place in her immediate area has a waiting list. Still hoping we can find something near her.

Baba, your kitchen looks great! I love your use of strong color. Yes, you're right, the Mir is huge. That was a big reason why DS#1 was advised to go there -- better chance of finding a class paced right for him. Mir is an excellent choice for boys with a lot of self-discipline. DS#1 sounds happy, and is planning to keep learning there for another year or two. Enjoy your trip to Florida


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I googled the Silky Yellow and it is very beautiful~hope it works out for you. I will attempt to post a link (fingers crossed):

Here is a link that might be useful: Ellene's Silky Yellow Granite...


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Just wanted to to let all know that Dad has been released from the hospital and is back at the convalescent home -- the same one that was too far away. But someone is failing basic communications here -- Mom went to the hospital to see Dad only to discover that he wasn't there! For now it will be okay, but if Dad doesn't get well enough to come home within a few months, we really need to find something closer.


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Dad passed away yesterday afternoon. Dad had still been slowly improving in strength when he succumbed to a heart attack. DH and I will fly back to California Sunday morning for the levaya (funeral) and then I will observe the seven day mourning period known as sitting shiva. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your good wishes and prayers.


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With you and your family in thought, Ellene. I am so, so sorry for your loss.


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Ellene you and your family have my deepest sympathies. I'll be thinking of you this next week as you sit shivah.


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Ellene, I am so sorry for your loss---my heartfelt sympathy!

Although we're not acquainted personally, I am in northwest Baltimore, too, and would be happy to help, if you need anything (running errands, or whatever).

Sue


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Ellene, how sad to hear of your dad's passing. Have a safe flight back to California and I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers, especially over the next week as you sit Shiva for your dear dad. All my best wishes to you for peace and comfort at this sorrowful time.
(((((Ellene and family)))))
DONNA


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Ellene, I was so sorry to read that your father had passed away. Deepest sympathy to you and your family. Cyva


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Ellene, honey, I am so very sorry about your dad. I will hold you and your family in my heart and pray for your comfort.


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Ellene, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I recently discovered this conversations section, and just got up to date on your postings. I was shocked to read of your father's passing since I had just read 4 days ago that he had been released from the hospital. I wish for you safe travels, and my deepest sympathy to you and your family. Terri


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RE: Will be out of town...

I'm back. I was in California for the levaya (funeral) and the first 3 days of the shiva period and back here in Baltimore for the rest. The formal 7-day shiva week ended today, at the conclusion of Shabbos morning services. A period of lesser mourning continues until 30 days after the levaya, and then (when mourning a parent) an additional even lesser period until 12 months after.

While at my mother's home we went through hundreds and hundreds of old photographs. I brought many back to Baltimore, which I have been showing to visitors -- during the shiva, friends and acquaintances come over to comfort the mourner. I will scan and put them on CD's for my sons and nephews and nieces (and their future children) to make a family history. I hope they will enjoy seeing photos of Dad's great-grandmother in Lomza, Poland, his kindergarten class in Cleveland in the 20's, WW2 pics from India, his wedding to Mom, etc.

The week has been one of reminiscing, of retelling the life of a very good, decent man, and of much reading and introspection as I attempt to channel the mourning process and my emotions into a closer relationship with G-d.

I will close with a story about Mom and Dad, both of them very easygoing, mild people. Mom and Dad were married for 57 years. In that time they had exactly one argument -- really! I remember it, I was about 9 years old.

Mom and Dad had converted the garage into a bonus room, and they were debating what color the carpet should be: blue or white. We 3 children were already in bed. To quote Mom, "We were each vociferously defending our positions when we suddenly heard crying and wailing from the children's rooms."

I had never heard my parents argue and I still remember my catastrophic thinking: "Oh, no, Mom and Dad are fighting, now they'll get divorced!" Mom and Dad had to come in and calm down and reassure each of us in turn that everything was OK. Afterwords they discussed what had happened, and decided that if that's what arguing did to the children, they would never argue again. And they didn't.

BTW, the bonus room had white carpeting.


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RE: Will be out of town...

Ellene, I am so sorry to hear of your father's death. I've been following this thread and was hopeful that he would recover and have a period of good health. We just lost my father-in-law a few weeks ago. At 92, he had been a very active vibrant man up until a few months ago, and then declined very rapidly. MIL is so lost without him - seems to be beyond comfort from any of us. Do take care of yourself and let those good memories be a comfort. You are truly blessed to have had parents like that in your life. I lost both my parents over the past few years and know what a wrenching loss it is. But you come to a time when you can remember with a smile and without tears. Thank you so much for explaining those details of your faith. It was so interesting. God bless.


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