After editing the powerpoint file for my oral defense coming up, I walked over to the nursing home where my Dad is living. This is a small hospital for long-term care, located half-way between campus and my parents’ home. Chatting with Dad means listening carefully; he has to concentrate to form words clearly. I printed out an online newspaper article to read to Dad, who is legally blind. He owns a magnifying viewer much like a microfiche reader, but one of the nurses says the contraption is too big for his shared room, so it’s at home till the nursing home finds a good place for it. Dad and I like to sit outside in the sheltered garden where there are flowers blooming and purple finches singing.
Since Dad’s strokes in November, my Mom visits him every day. She helps him practise his range of motion exercises, and mouth exercises, using a photocopied binder of instructions given to her by a speech therapist in November. Last week, a swallowing pathologist read Dad’s medical test results from CAT scans & barium X-rays, felt Dad’s muscles to assess his partial recovery, and praised all their daily hard work. Dad can now eat a little pureed food to supplement his feeding tube, an amazing thing because scans showed Dad had damage to both sides of the brain in Broca’s area controlling swallowing & speech.