April 20, 2010 – ONE FOR THE ROAD!


(Real-time Entry)

I never even got to blog about the birthday trip I had 2 weeks ago!  To give us both a long-needed break, Mom whisked me and her off for my gift, a “Surprise 40th Birthday Trip”– destination unknown!  She told me what to pack but it wasn’t until arriving in Miami that I discovered we were going on a 4-night cruise to Key West and Cozumel!  She also surprised me on my actual birthday with snorkeling/swimming with the stingrays!!  I thought that was a VERY COOL WAY to ring in the new decade!  Her and I look so relaxed and happy in our vacation pictures – it’s been a long time since either of us have been at that level of relaxation and pure enjoyment.

When Mom and I returned home tanned and rested, we drove right from the airport to see Dad at Courtyard Manner… and the Alzheimer’s ride continued FULL FORCE!  Just that morning around 5am… he had smashed out his bedroom window… with his head!  He had cuts and scrapes all over his head and arms and was quite the site.  We even noticed that he’d lost MORE weight just in the short 5 days we had been gone.

Fast forward to last Wednesday (6 days ago)… his head wounds still haven’t healed and totally disappeared.  The hospice nurse referred to this phenomenon as “skin breakdown”.  She said that since he is barely eating or drinking anymore, his body is using all of its available energy to focus on keeping his organs alive.  Apparently, skin reparation is the step his body is now ignoring out of natural necessity.  He also regularly has new scratches on his limbs and back from scratching himself so we are trying to keep his nails short for his own safety.

When I hug him, I usually announce, “I have a hug for you…”, and then while embrace he shrugs his shoulders to hug me back and oftentimes mumbles, “MmmmmmmMmmmmmm…”  🙂  You get head nods for answers sometimes, and sometimes he even pleasantly surprises you with opening his eyes or kissing you on the lips!  A little bit a mumbling/talking a little bit of the time, but not much for speech anymore.

This past Saturday he refused all food and drink for the first time, then Sunday he rallied (see videos below), and Monday (yesterday) he was back to no food or drink.

But how special that Frank Jr. and I have that wonderful Sunday night memory!!  Dad really came out to play!  Way to rally, Daddy-O!

…Today, just 2 days later, Dad is bed-bound, having a hard time swallowing his natural saliva.  He experienced some seizures today while sleeping.  Vallium has now been ordered (he started Morphine Thursday) along with a directive that NOTHING be given by mouth anymore for his own good.  We are bedside full of love…

15 Responses to “April 20, 2010 – ONE FOR THE ROAD!”

  1. Lori Jo Vest said

    Extremely difficult and sorrowful times for your family, Joleen, though helping someone on this last leg of their journey is truly life-changing. I’m sure your Dad feels the love of your family, even if he can’t quite understand it intellectually. You and your family are in my prayers.


  2. Jill Keller said


    Sparky’s video(complete with your cute songs:) came thru clear. So good to talk to you tonight & laugh and remember your amazing Daddy trying to teach you & I to drive a stick in his cherry red/white convertible 59 corvette. He had sooo much faith in us (why I still do not know:) and soo much patience. I will never forget all of the love he shared with me too. You are truly lucky to have such an amazing and loving father. Glad I got to say hello. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. I think I will go have a Corona & cheers to you Frank!

    • Laura Porter said

      Wow! I never thought I would get so much pleasure out of watching someone drink a beer !! OMG what a beautiful response ! God Bless ! The love in these videos …is amazing love you guys
      Laura& Rick

  3. Tracey A. said

    I was there Joleen. Your Dad had a good time drinking that beer!

  4. Amanda Davis said

    God Bless You guys!

  5. Judy & Jim O'connor said

    Our prayers continue for ALL of you and our Dearest Frank: Please Lord, take your faithfull servant home. Deliver him from this hell on Earth that we all have witnessed, especially his wonderful, devoted family. Amen

    Love to all of you!

  6. Aunt Kathy said

    Every day I pray God takes him gently home. I know Jack is waiting for his Buddy!

    • We keep telling Dad that Uncle Jack and Uncle Denny are waiting on a golf course for him – with a beer! And that Scruffy is waiting on the beach in Hilton Head to take a run-run with him. 😉

      Frank Jr. said THANK GOODNESS Uncle Jack is there, or else Dad and Denny might just get into mischief and get kicked out of heaven! LOL

      XOXOXOXO ~ J

  7. Roommate Frances said

    Thinking of you all – I am here if you need anything!

  8. Anne Ault said

    Forrest & my prayers are with all of you during this very difficult time. I hope Frank is able to go to Heaven gently and peacefully. After he gets there he can rock-n-roll!

    Love to all of you!

  9. Deb said

    Uncle Frank is in my prayers daily. Brian put it best when he said that God is having mercy on Uncle Frank by not allowing him to suffer too much longer. As sad as it will be in a world without him, we all know he will finally be at peace and will be having a great time in Heaven with Uncle Jack and Uncle Denny on the golf course. Your right Joleen, Uncle Jack will have to keep the two of them in line!! LOL

  10. Valencia said

    hi Joleen – it’s Valencia, Gail’s assistant and I wanted to let you know that I truly believe in the power of prayer and God and that you are being lifted up in the name of the father, in the name of his son, Jesus and the holy ghost. I pray and send strength to you and your family right now. Be forever blessed and know that you are loved! ~ Val

  11. Michelle said

    Sending lotsa love and strength your way. xoxo

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