Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Letter to family

Dear friends of the family,

 I wanted to keep up mom’s tradition of doing a family newsletter, primarily because many of you want to know about my dad’s condition.

Firstly, dad is hanging in there. His tumour has returned, which is typical of a brain tumour. He had four weeks of radiation around the time mom was home in palliative care. Robin was masterful is getting dad to Toronto into the Cancer Lodge. Dad had a great time there, despite the reason for his visit. He visited with residents and returned to the sociable man we remembered.

His arthritic knees prevented him from doing much here in Bala. In May we helped him move into Gravenhurst Manor. During our first visit a lovely young lady, who knew him from Bala United Church, made a point of coming over and speaking to him. Dolly, his neighbour in the Manor, made a point of looking after him. The staff continually went out of their way. After a time, we went back to the doctor’s office where they told us that the tumour had returned. He understood this at the time and we came home to do just that. The tumour is growing in the area of language and cognitive processing. He deteriorates slowly every day.

Brian and I have been trying to be dad’s advocate. After dad could no longer manage at the Manor, we moved him into Leisureworld in Gravenhurst. His physical and mental abilities have continued to deteriorate. We are keeping in close touch with his charge nurse, who is, as mom would say, a pet. Brian went in every morning during most of September and October to feed dad breakfast. This made it easier on staff. Brian burned out and I took leave from work and went in daily to give dad his dinner. In December dad began to eat much less. Due to what we thought was pain we have been giving him more Tylenol. His knees, of course, have continued to give him pain.

On the positive side, my adult children have managed to visit him some. He recognized them, but has ceased to recognize friends. We, nevertheless, thank all those who have visited him. For this moral support we are grateful. Bala United Church friends continue to visit dad. He has a lovely pot of poinsettia.

I have decorated his room for Christmas, which is what mom would have wanted! We continue to visit. Brain shared a chocolate bar with dad on December 5th. Brian’s disc has slipped, from lifting dad from wheelchair to bed, but he goes into Gravenhurst on a regular basis. We visit a woman, Michele, across the hall from dad and have made a new friend there.

Caitlin and Jean-Luc have finished renovating their basement. Jess has a job at Shaw Festival next year, Terry is working hard on year 4 at Carleton and just earned a bursary.

I am retiring this month as work became very difficult whilst looking after dad. We have renovated dad’s house, to better suit us. Otherwise, we are managing. Missing mom.