I know it's a strange group of words but as I was thinking about the biggest differences to share with you since the last post I feel like these three things top everything else.
It's no surprise that coughing has been an issue for dad since his stroke. Even after his first stroke in 1997 he also had coughing issues because of his inability to swallow. After he learned how to swallow the coughing soon dissipated. This stroke seems to have stolen his swallowing muscles again. And that means that coughing has been a struggle due to all the saliva in his mouth continuously.
But guess what?! With the help of a good nurse, some doctors, and a palliative care doctor we found a medicine called Robinul that has extremely helped lower the amount of saliva that causes his coughing. We have been so thankful and continue to love this change.
From all of us in the Steffen family, Thank you to each and every person who has prayed for us since all of this started in June. Whether it was a quick thought prayer or something routine, we are so thankful to have such a wonderful group of caregivers at the hospital, friends, families, and church support. The Lord has definitely blessed your prayers in many seen and unseen ways.
Once he was placed on the medicine last week he looked so much better, and they transferred him to a progressive unit. But it was a simple enough change for us only being 4 doors down from our ICU room. And it's been helpful to the many blessed visitors who have found the right area and are soon directed to the right room.
We always are trying to hold our minds back from thinking too far ahead which can create train wrecks of needless emotions. We don't have a discharge date yet from the hospital but they have told us that as long as his chest X-rays continue to look better and he doesn't decline he should be able to go home soon. And yes, I said home. This is the case because of insurance details that I won't go into because I just really don't like insurance. We are currently looking into homecare/hospice agencies that can help mom with turning and all the normal everyday things that we'll start to have to do on our own. Lists of everything we'll need to ask about or get from insurance or find on our own are everywhere. Lists which normally help me feel organized are now reminding me why we can't depend on our human minds to take care of life. God our Creator is amazingly able to know all and be on top of it in every way all the time. It boggles my mind. But I try to unboggle my mind enough to remind myself to always be thankful for everything I can't take care of and can't understand yet.
Mom is up at the hospital with dad most of the time. We continue to ask for prayers understanding there are so many other needs to remember as well. The main issues dad is continuing to struggle with is coughing (I know the medicine helps but it's still bothersome), insomnia, very slow recognition of people (including family members), little facial expressions, confusion of yes and no answers, continued flaccid right hand/elbow/shoulder, and overall weakness. Thanks, everyone; I have every confidence in the many prayers that you warriors are sharing on our behalf and I don't want to think about where we'd be without them. The support group around us is truly comforting.