Reverdy Lewin Orrell Jr. – Condition Update

MomDad1980.jpg (NOTE: Photo at left, 1980)

This has been a very rough 24 hours for my father. Starting early yesterday evening, his eyes became very milky. By then his voice was almost gone.

About 6 PM he started sleeping. His breathing was very poor at times, with heavy puffing of the chest. I gave him some morphine, plus another liquid to calm him down. I also gave him a small sleeping pill. These weren’t given at the same time, but rather spaced out over a 2 hour span.

If I’m repeating myself, I’m sorry.

He has basically been asleep since then, although he is not in a coma. Around noon, I spoke to him and he nodded his head ‘yes’ or ‘no’ depending on the question.

As night has set in, his breathing has gotten worse. I’ve given him the maximum amount of morphine allowed, a few minutes ago. I can give it to him again in another 3 hours. I’ve also given him something to calm him down, plus his night time sleeping pill. I had to crush the pill into powder then mix with soda. I then put it into a syringe and put it in his mouth. All three medications are liquid, as he indicated last night there were to be no more pills.

There was no i.v. today, nor breathing treatment. He told me to stop them yesterday.

I can’t count the number of times today we thought it was over.

There is no way he can continue like this for very long. I’m surprised he’s lasted over 24 hours already.

I was only able to get a few sips of soda into him. Even then, he barely had the ability to draw it through a straw.

This is going to be another long night.

Hospice will be here early tomorrow. I need to impress upon them that he wants to go quickly and without pain. Right now there is discomfort.

We had to turn some intended visitors away today. For the last two weeks, he has given everyone the chance to come and say goodbye. Even in his last days, he knew others needed to do this.

Now it is time for him to go in peace.

I can only hope he goes quietly in his sleep tonight. My mom is holding up well, but can’t take too much more of this. She is at his side right now.

She knows the man she married 58 years ago has already gone. He’s not inside the body anymore. He nodded a few minutes ago when I asked if he knew who I was. I really wonder if he did.

I continue to whisper in his ear, telling him that I love him, that he was a great Dad, and that everyone will miss him.

I tell him we will all be with him one day.

I tell him to close his eyes and go to heaven in peace.

It’s a horrible thing to be able to tell your father that it is ok to die.


Reverdy Lewin Orrell Jr – Condition Update

4GenerationReb4.jpg (NOTE: Photo at left – Reverdy Lewin Orrell IV, Reverdy Lewin Orrell III, Mary (Martinek) Orrell, Reverdy Lewin Orrell Jr – 29 March 1980).

Yesterday was a very difficult day in the Orrell household. My father had a terrible night starting about 2 AM (early Wednesday morning). We thought he was going to pass several times in the early morning; however, he rallied about 7 AM and slept quietly until about 10 AM.

The Hospice lady arrived about 10:30 AM to give him his bath and help make him more comfortable. Shortly after that the Hospice nurse arrived at the same time the Hospice Social Worker arrived. This was the first time we met the Hospice Social Worker. She was very nice.

What a huge difference one week makes. This time last week, my impression of Hospice was less than positive. Now, we have 3 wonderful people who truly care about my father. This helps soften my first impression of Hospice. However, I’ll never forgot the actions, attititude and comments of the initial Hospice nurse. My distain for her is immense, but I still must keep very focused on my one goal – the comfort of my father. I’m sure when this nightmare comes to a close Hospice will ask for some type of feedback. At that time I’ll give it to them, written out on paper with a complete dialog of what the original Hospice nurse said. It will include a link to this blog so they can see what the rest of the world has saw about the events of the first visit. Under no circumstance will the previous blog entries be changed or altered. I can only hope that the over 1 million blog hits from last month continues. People need to be aware of what can happen when dealing with the health care industry. Let me refocus now, as I don’t want to go off on a tangent.

The Hospice nurse said his vitals are still OK and this could go on for my father for an undetermined length of time. I certainly hope not. It is not fair to my father, a man who lived life to the fullest.

I certainly don’t see how he can last much longer, regardless of what the nurse said. Each day brings new challenges and heartbreak as I watch my father slow slip from us. Each day I watch him go closer to heaven. He is sleeping more and is not as alert with each passing day.

The i.v. went smoothly yesterday; there was no blood backing up into the plastic i.v. tubing. His voice is now completely a whisper; and other physical features are changing. This is a horrible event to watch. I have only been more than 30 feet away from him a very few times over the past two weeks.

He is even sleeping more during the day and getting him to take medicine is a real chore. Last night, beginning about 7 PM, he refused medicine for the first time. He started slipping away; however he wasn’t talking out loud as he did very early in the morning. His chest rose heavily; then stopped moving for long periods of time. Sometime he remained motionless for 7 or 8 seconds at a time. At one point I walked into the room and saw he wasn’t moving. I thought it was over. I yelled “Dad” and started to shake him. He then opened his eyes, which were both discolored and hazy. My Mom and I sat on each side of him, holding his hands.

I gave him a full dose of morphine to help his breathing. I also gave him something to sleep. About a half hour later his breathing had returned to normal and he was in a deep sleep. That began about 10 hours ago and he has not woke back up. That is the longest stretch of time I can remember over the last several weeks that he has slept.

He had a few visitors yesterday including his brother in law, Bill Malle, and Bill’s wife Alexia. Johnny from next door, a dear friend of my parents was finally able to come over to visit. Johnny has always been there for my parents; quick to fix or repair anything that broke. This has really affected him and it took him quite awhile to be able to see my father. That is certainly understandable as Johnny loves him very much. My father lite up like a Chistmas tree when Johnny came in the room. It will probably be the last time I’ll see him smile.

After my father went to sleep, I was able to get my Mom off to bed. I stayed up for a few more minutes, connecting to my work computer to try and do a few more things. The company I work for has been very understanding of my situation, telling me to take as much time as I needed to care for my Dad and Mom. I certainly appreciate that, although I am aware this process might take another week or two to come to a close. I can only hope they remain understanding. I’m going to need a few days to myself when this is all over.

On a personal note, I was able to sleep straight through from about 11:15 PM last night until about 4:45 AM this morning. That’s about 5 1/2 hours straight which is the total amount of sleep I had in the last 48 hours. It is certainly the longest length of time I’ve slept in the last 2 weeks.

While my father has certainly enjoyed visitors over the last 2 weeks, we’ve reached a point where he is becoming unresponsive. In the last 24 hours he has only been awake for a very few hours. At this point visitors will probably be limited to his immediate family – his grandson Reb IV, his sister Mary, his brother Richard, and his niece Phyllis, a trained R.N., who helps care for him. He wouldn’t want to be seen or remembered like this. My mom and I will see how this morning goes before making that decision. We’re at a point where I, my mother, Nora, Reb IV, Richard, and Mary, need all the remaining time to sit at his side. Phyllis, my cousin, is wonderful. She drives her father, Richard, over every day to be with my Dad. She has helped me out greatly in teaching me what to look for. She will be there at the end and beyond and is included in the above list.

My father hasn’t really eaten a meal in about 6 weeks. He told Nora yesterday that the fungal phenmonia and leukemia wasn’t taking him fast enough. He told her he was now intentionally starving himself, as that would be quicker. We will make no further attempts to make him eat.

At this point, it might be difficult to even get him to take medicine. We’ll learn quite a bit more as each day progresses.

The last few days he has become increasing uncomfortable in the bed. However, we hasn’t said anything the last 24 hours. Being asleep is a good thing in that respect. He has no pain.

His breathing is very swallow. Eventually it will stop and my father will be gone to a better place.

I’ve noticed that while I’ve been strong over the last two weeks, that the pressure and strain is slowly starting to get to me. Certainly the lack of sleep hasn’t helped.

I’ve never, for one moment, expected him to pull through this. I’m well aware of what the doctors said regarding his timeline. However, I’m been very focused on being his caregiver – trying to get some bites of food and liquid in him, checking on the humidifier level, checking the oxygen situation, constantly checking on when the next medication was to be given, giving him the breathing treatment, running the i.v., etc – that I have not had time to step back and grasp the total situation.

While others began their mourning process a few weeks ago, I am just entering mine.

It hit me hard early this morning and I stood outside and cried for 5 minutes straight. I’ll never hear his clear voice again; now it will only be whispers, if that. I’ll never be able to ask him directions on how to get somewhere. We’ll never be able to enjoy a good raw beef sandwich together with a huge mound a lean ground beef, smoothered in raw onion and sprinkled with lots of salt and pepper. We’ll never get in the car together and take a nice drive; something we’ve done thousands of times before. I’ll never hear him laugh again. I’ll never show him what he did wrong on the computer again and how he messed up his email account. I’ll never see him walk into a room again and see his shining face. I’ll never be able to talk to him about anything together or sit with him and listen to talk radio. I’ll never be able to receive a good hug from him and hear him tell me that he loves me.

My father and I will never sit in lodge together, at least not on earth anymore. Someday we’ll sit in the all glorious and celestrial lodge above. Dad was a dedicated and faithful member of the Masonic fraternity since 1953. He was always there for me during my Masonic career. Ironically, he only missed my 1st degree in Palestine Lodge #189, as he had pnemonia and couldn’t attend. He was there every year for installation as I moved through the chairs. He was there when I was installed Worshipful Master of Palestine Lodge and presented me a beautiful Masonic watch. My father in law at the time, Fred Gross, present me a handmade gavel. I quickly rapped up the lodge and instructed Past Master Dan Stone to escort my father to the East. At that point I handed my father the gavel and turned the lodge over to him. There before about 150 Masons my father wrapped the gavel once, seating the lodge. Dan Stone, now a minister, will conduct my father’s final service when the time comes.

Looking back, my father and I, sat together in lodge for the last time, about 2 years ago, when he was presented his 50 year membership pin and certificate.

Back in 1983, I joined the York Rite and received my first degrees in Baltimore Royal Arch Chapter #40. At that time, the secretary of the lodge was Norman G. Williams, a man both my father and I became very close with. Baltimore Chapter held a dinner before each meeting. My father and I always attended together. We often talked about that. My Dad was there when my son was installed Master Councilor of Palestine Order of DeMolay and was there when my son was installed State Marshall. He and I were charter members of Pride of Baltimore Royal Ark Marniner Lodge #7 and Southern Cross Council #264 of the Allied Masonic Degrees. He was there when I was installed Sovereign Master of Southern Cross. We took our Scottish Rite degrees together. He was always there for me. I know that Norman G. Williams and Fred Gross are waiting for him now, eagerly awaiting the moment when they can sit in lodge together forever.

He’ll never meet his great grandson who willl carry his first name as his middle name. Jackson Reverdy Orrell will never have the pleasure of sitting on his lap and being teased, as all the children in the family have. Dad was so happy and proud to learn that Sara and Reb were expecting.

Everyone of us are about to loose something very precious – the love and company of my father. Baby Jackson will only know his great grandfather through photos, stories, and the ‘Reverdy’ tree which will be planted in his front yard.

Perhaps baby Jackson will suffer the greatest loss of all.


Reverdy Lewin Orrell Jr – Condition Update

It’s very early in the morning on Wednesday, October 18, 2006. Nothing much has changed in my father’s condition over the last several days. He is still very weak and is becoming less able to help himself.

Yesterday, Frank & Kim Malle (his brother in law) flew up from Florida for the sole purpose of visiting him. They flew back last night. Dad mentioned that several times. Also, Michael Chick, my mother’s cousin visited. They talked about lodge and things in the past. That really brightened him up.

His voice is now, almost always, just a whisper. He continues to say he has no pain; however, he is increasingly complaining about being uncomfortable. I try to roll him into another position every few hours, but nothing seems to work for more than a few minutes. Pressure points on his body are going to quickly turn into bed sores and there really isn’t much that can be done about that.

This has not been a good night’s sleep for him. I gave him some cough syrup with codine, as I have done for the last several nights, but he isn’t sleeping tonight. Rather, he’s going in and out of sleep and talking in his sleep. I’m only a few feet away on the sofa, and I keep waking up every time he mutters something.

Most of the time, when I go to him, he doesn’t remember saying anything, but other times he needs something. He is dreaming more and more and talking out loud.

He has said ‘they are here to put him in another room’. I told him that is a good thing and to go with them.

He appears to be getting a little agitated, which is something we were told to expect. I gave him something for that also.

Alot of what he says makes no sense at all, or when I asked him what he says he doesn’t remember.

I just gave him something to make him rest a little easier. If that doesn’t work in another hour, I’ll give him something else.

He saying all sorts of things and asking about everyone. He says he is ready and that he sees his mother, father, brother and friends that has passed on before him. He said they are all here with him and want him to go with him. I told him that was OK, and that we’d all meet up with him later, when it was our time.

He asked about Sara and his great grandson, soon to be born. He liked it when I told him that Nora found a small tree growing in the back yard. She dug it up and we’re going to make sure it grows strong. Then Reb & Sara will plant in their front yard for the baby, Jackson Reverdy Orrell. It will be known as the ‘Reverdy Tree’ and that his great grandson will see it every day and be reminded of his great grandfather. He smiled.

He said that he hoped to go today. He’s said that before, but he is getting closer to going.

He asked again about Ted Armstrong, a close friend from the Orrell Family Reunions. Ted is going through chemo and Dad always asks about him. Ted and Karol sent down two knit skull caps, a present to keep his head warm. He didn’t want to wear them right now, as he is not cold. He told me I could have them to wear.

He’s asked about several other people and says that Mom, Nora, and I are in the room. Right about now Nora is getting ready to go to work and Mom is sleeping in the back bedroom.

Many times I can’t understand what he is say. He said that he is confused.

He just thought he heard the telephone ring.

I’ve spent the last two hours talking to him. I’m exhausted right now, as I haven’t gotten more than 2 hours sleep at any one stretch for the last two to three weeks. My body is aching from head to toe. I was very stressed the first five days after we brought him home; then I got stronger. Now I’m nearly out of gas. I’ll need several days of complete relaxation when this is all over. which could be awhile yet.

Right now he’s mentioning various friends and members of the family. He’s just gone through a list of person’s in my mother’s family – his brother and sister’s in law, nieces and nephews.

He’s mentioned over and over about his brother Richard and his sister Mary. He also told me to tell Phyllis (Richard’s daughter) that he appreciated everything she has done for him and told me to tell her that he loved her.

It’s like he’s going through a list of everyone and saying goodbye.

I told him that I’ve done everything I could to make him comfortable and at rest. He said he loved me and that he knew I was doing my best.

I had intended to state in my blog entry for today, that as nothing has changed, I thought this entire process could go on and on. However, over the last two hours, I’m starting to feel that might not be the case. Something is happening.

I can only hope that his life’s journey is coming to a peaceful end.

Reverdy Lewin Orrell Jr – Condition Update

I don’t have the time to do a detailed entry today. Yesterday, I began trying do some work from home for the company I work for. A co-worker sent me a nice email and below is basically what I replied back to him. Most of it is probably a rehash of things already mentioned, but I did go into some of the problems I’ve encountered along the way with various health care organizations. Thankfully, the Hopsice situation was resolved and a compassionate nurse is now helping out.

This has been a very long couple of weeks. I haven’t slept more than 2 hours straight since the Wednesday before last. Since the Thursday before last it has been a constant treadmill, although it has gotten better the last few days, which is why I am now able to do something to help out.

We had absolutely no guidance from the hospital, oxygen place, respirator company, and even Hospice in the beginning. I spent the first 5 days with him at home just trying to keep him alive. A lady came over on Sunday to show me how to give the i.v. It was merely a rushed stop for her on the way to UMBC to see her daughter. I asked her about the breathing therapy and she said ‘That’s not my area.’. I asked if she could check and have someone contact me. I’m still waiting for that call.

On Sun night the oxygen maker blew up. I switched him to a portable floor tank and called for assistance. Naturally, they beeped someone that wasn’t from around here to call me. Then that person ‘told me to call’. I gave him a piece of my mind and finally someone from around here called and said they’d be out by 10 AM. I told them to bring big floor units, that he was in bad shape and I didn’t want a circus switching out everything and moving him.

Naturally, at 11 AM the next morning I had to call again. They finally showed up with another floor unit. We had to move things around and he was in rough shape at the time.

When I talked to the guy in the middle of the night and explained what happened I told him that the defective oxygen making machine that broke was set on level 5. I asked him what level I should put the floor tank on as it was a different unit. He said a 5 on the one was a 2 on the other.

The guy the next morning said it should have stayed on a 5.

I called to try and get someone come out to give me a demostration on the breathing machine. They said they didn’t do that and told me to read the instructions. I couldn’t even read and understand the headline from a newspaper about then. Finally, I force myself to concentrate on everything and figured it out. They couldn’t care less.

Then to top it off Hopkins doctor and social worker said Hospice wouldn’t come in to help if he was receiving any sort of i.v. Finally my Dad said to stop the i.v. and we called Hospice in. The California Valley Girl arrived. Nora met her at the door and told her to be very quiet. She came bouncing in like she was going to a dance. She said he could receive i.v. treatment.

Then she starts giving us a list of numbers to call. My father was alert and taking part in the conversation. She said,

“Here is the number to call after hours when he dies. I had a patient expire the night before last at midnight and they didn’t call the regular number until 7 AM. By the time I got there the body was cold and stiff.”

That was the exact words. I almost through her out of the window. I thought I must have heard her wrong, but I asked Nora and my aunt later what she said and they repeated it exactly.

Nora called Hospice the next day and told them if she was the best thing they could send, we’d handle everything ourselves.

Finally on Friday we got a different hospice nurse who has been helpful. A lady came out to clean him and show us what to do. Both come 3 times a week.

My father said to start giving him the i.v. again. Yesterday blood started backing up into the tubing with both i.v. bags. Today I’ll have to sit right next to him and keep an eye on him. The nurse said this sometimes happens and it isn’t a big concern right now. His pic line in his arm might be failing.

His voice is very weak and he is starting to have a difficult time in helping us move him. Nora went back to work yesterday and it’s just me and my mom her most of the time, although he has had vistiors every day.

He wants to go quickly. I don’t know how much longer he can hold on, but I’m doing everything I can to make him comfortable. I sleep right next to him and wake up every time he makes a noise.

I got to run to give him another treatment for a few minutes. I’ll be away from the computer today from about noon until 2 as I have to stay with the i.v. from now on.

Please feel free to pass this on to everyone in mis.

I try to do a blog posting every day as I get so many emails from around the world from readers of the blog. Everyone says the same thing you do about it.

Thanks for everything.

Reverdy Lewin Orrell, Jr – Condition Update

MomDad1967.jpg NOTE: Photo at left is of my parents, abt 1967.

Sorry for being so late in making an entry today.

Nora went back to work today for a few hours and got off early.

I’m trying to work from home, connecting to my work computer via Go2MyPC.com.

I caught up on about 800 emails from last week and am working to do all of the aspects of the company internet and intranet. Thus far, everything has worked out.

Dad had a restful night without much problem.

This morning the hygiene worker was in, followed by the nurse.

The nurse reports that his vitals are OK and still strong. He said whatever I’m doing seems to be working.

Dad has some periods when he is very tired and sleepy.

His voice is very weak some of the time, but then it gets stronger at times. Right about now is his strongest time of the day.

I keep checking for fever and watching him closely.

His i.v. has been started and I’ll be hooking up his second bag in about an hour. Then I’ll do another breathing treatment.


Reverdy Lewin Orrell Jr – Condition Update

RebChristening.jpg (NOTE: Photo at left is from my christening, about 1950)

I tend to forgot different things I’ve written so far, so please forgive me if I’m repeating myself.

Early this morning I gave my father a dose of morphine, not for pain, but for breathing. I only thought morphine was used for pain, but was told differently from Hospice.

I noticed an improvement shortly after the very small dose. His deep chest movements stopped.

Dad sleep for a good part of the day, although we tried to keep him awake for parts of the day. We don’t want a situation as we had a few days ago where he slept so much during the day, he was awake for much of the night.

Laying awake in a darkened room in his condition, during much of the night has to be very frightening. I do leave the dining room light on very low, so light is able to filter into the living room. I need that when I awake to check on him.

Yesterday, he was able to say goodbye to Larry Stein, a friend from the Masonis for over 50 years. Dad thanked Larry for being his friends for so many years.

Today, he was visited by Reds and Louise Goble stopped by today. Reds has been a close friend for over 70 years. My Dad thanked both of them for coming by and thanked Reds for being such a good friend all these years.

Uncle Richard and Phyllis stopped by today for about two hours. They just left. Aunt Mary and Mary Lynn just arrived, although he is about ready to go to sleep.

To show you how sharp he still is, Mary Lynn’s husband Paul Bunting, ran in a marathon today. As soon as they walked in, Dad wanted to know how Paul did in the race.

He is growing progressively weaker each day and his voice is almost gone. I believe he is starting to bleed internally.

I truely believe the end is near. He is ready to go with his mother, father, brother, and his dog ‘Pitiful’.

His mind is still sharp and there is no pain. Let’s hope the pain never arrives and he can go peaceably in his sleep.

He doesn’t want to be like this and wants to pass.

Reverdy Lewin Orrell Jr – Condition Update

RebJean40th.jpg (NOTE: Photo at left is from my parents 40th wedding anniversary, June 1988)

My father had a restful night sleeping. He told my mother this morning that we doesn’t remember dreaming last night.

I gave him some cough syrup with codine before he went to bed. He had started coughing some during the late afternoon and evening. He started coughing in the middle of the night and I gave him some more.

Yesterday my father was visited by my son, and his brother and sister. His niece, Phyllis brought Uncle Richard.

Also yesterday, my Mom’s sister Fran Waldecker and her daughter, Dorothy Jean Sandusky, paid a visit.

Later in the afternoon, Nora’s father, George Skerry, picked up Larry and Sue Stein, close friends of my parents and brought them over. George and Larry and Sue only live a few blocks from each other in Ellicott City, Maryland.

My father was very happy to see them all. Larry has been one of his best friends since 1953 when my father joined the Masons. Larry was Junior Stewart of Doric Lodge #124, at that time.

The i.v. went smoothly yesterday. Also, an attendant came in to bathe him, and showed us a little of how to care for him better. Also, a nurse arrived later and changed the dressing on his pic, which is what I use for his i.v.

He really didn’t eat much yesterday, but we were able to get some candy into him. Yes, he needs more than that, but at this stage, we get what we can into him.

Last evening he stayed awake and watched the Gaithers on TV. They have a musical show of southern Gospel. This is one of my father’s favorite TV shows, which he watches every Saturday night.

He slept fairly well last night, but I was up every half hour or so to check on him. I gave him something for a fever, every time, I noticed it starting to rise.

This morning his breathing was rather heavy, although he still reported no pain.

I gave him his first dose of morphine this morning. I had always assumed it was only for pain; however, the Hospice nurse is was also for when he started to breathe deeply.

He has had one breathing treatment this morning and his 8 AM pills. I am about to give him his 10 AM pill and will start the i.v. about noon.

I was able to log on to my work computer for the first time in over a week. I finally had a few minutes to do so and go through the hundreds of emails from last week.

Starting tomorrow, I hope to log on and at least help out the company, working on the intranet and internet. Hopefully, I can still do some of my job description from here.

Right now he is resting comfortably and starting to sleep more and more each day. This is a good sign that he is resting.

His voice is very weak this morning, when he does talk. It is only a whisper.

Reverdy Lewin Orrell Jr – Condition Update

DadMomGeorgeNoraReb.jpg (NOTE: Photo on left, about 2002: Dad, Mom, George (Nora’s father), Nora, Reb III)

Dad got so much sleep yesterday that he said he didn’t sleep at all last night.

I finally got him and my mom to bed about 11:30. For some reason, this entire week, I woke up every half-hour during the night. Last night I woke up at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, and got up for good at 6:30. For some reason I didn’t wake up at 5:30 this morning. This has been the same routine every night since he got home, last Saturday night.

Generally, he has been sleeping through the entire night.

I noticed that he has more dark spots on his arms. He had the same thing last Friday while in Hopkins. They say that is from liver failure.

At times his voice is very weak, then it picks up.

Right now he is in with Nora. She is getting him laughing, telling him what a bad nurse I am. When she first came in, she made a big deal about the fact that he didn’t look comfortable and that it was fault. She really got him laughing and told him to fire me.

She is sitting on the bed and talking to him. He is asking about our dogs. She told him that the dogs are sitting on the top of the sofa every night looking out the window waiting for me to come home.

Dad’s final days has taught me quite a bit about myself. I never knew where I got my inner strength from. Dad never lectured me on any subject. He never sat me down and taught me right from wrong. He handled it a little differently.

The expression “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” applies to my Dad. I learned everything from him by the way he acted. I never really realized that before the past few months.

I can tell his voice is a little weaker now, but he is caring on a full conversation with Nora, going on and on about everything. He loves talking to her and asking about her father, George Skerry. He tells me all the time that she is the best thing to every happen to me and that he really likes her Dad. He always tells me what a fine man George is.

While I try to remember to mention things that people are doing to assist, I always seem to forget to mention them when doing blog entries.

Yesterday my father received two skull caps sent by Ted & Karol Armstrong. These beautiful knit caps are outstanding. Thanks, Ted & Karol.

Also, different friends and neighbors have sent over food items. Dad’s next door neighbor, Pat Williams, sent over a gingerbread cake. It was outstanding and I was able to get him to take a bite or two.

Aunt Mary (his sister), brought over a cinnamon raisen bread loaf; her daughter, Mary Lynn Bunting brought over a Jewish Apple Cake. My father actually ate a half a piece the other night.

My best friend, Tom Overton, stopped in the other day to see my Dad for just a minute. He have him a card, a basket containing fruit (apples, oranges, grapes), some cinnamon rolls, and a coconut cream pie. Dad ate some of the grapes. Yesterday, Tom brought over some more grapes from him and his friend, Nada.

My parents close friend, Glora, brought over some goodies for him the other day. One of the things was some candy lime slices. He ate a few of them. She called the other night to check on him. He talked to her a bit, then handed the phone to my mom. While my mother was on the phone, my father picked up another piece of candy and told me mom to tell Gloria that he was eating another piece of candy. He repeated the process, several times, laughing out loud each time.

Ann & Charlie Bent sent down a beautiful friendship plaque for him. We have it on top of the TV and he looks at it, along with balloons that Gloria sent.

Dad has had the opportunity to speak to his best friend, Reds Goble on the phone a few times, and has also spoken to Larry Stein, a close friend for over half a century.

Reverdy Lewin Orrell Jr – Condition Update

MomDad1953.jpg NOTE: The photo to the left is of my mother and father, about 1954.

Today was a different day, of sorts, for my father.

Generally, he would awake about 7 AM and remain awake for most of the day. However, I gave him is 8 AM medicine and he went right back to sleep. He wasn’t running a fever, but rather, he was clamy.

His breathing was OK, but very soft, for much of the day.

A nurse from Hospice arrived this morning and examined him.

Dad kept going to sleep, then waking up briefly. His voice was very weak, but he was very alert, when awake. But, he kept sliding in and out of sleep all day.

Around 1 PM, he asked when I was going to do his i.v. I asked him if he still wanted it and he said he did. I asked him if it was helping and he said he didn’t think so, but to do it anyway.

He has often said how it makes him feel very warm when the fluid goes through him.

He then became very sleepy and started going in and out. My son arrived a little later, followed by his brother Richard and niece Phyllis. Phyllis, a R.N., checked out everything closely.

Aunt Mary also stopped around.

I was able to get Nora to head back home about 5:30.

I’ve just finished his last inhaler treatment for today and have given him the last of his pills. He does not appear to have a fever right now, but I have the feeling this could be another long night.

I’ll be checking him all the time.


Reverdy Lewin Orrell Jr – Condition Update

RebJeanWeddingDay.jpg (NOTE: Photo at left from my parent’s wedding day (18 June 1948). Leaning over my father’s shoulder is his father, Reverdy Lewin Orrell Sr.)

Yesterday (Thursday) was a rather good day for my father. In the morning Nora arrived with a ‘egg crate mattress’ which we added between the mattress of the hospital bed and the sheets. My father said it was much better and softer on his back. We have noticed that brusing has started under one arm, which is the beginning of bed sores. We are trying to turn him every few hours and put him in a different position.

Also Nora came up with the idea of using a different foam wedge at the bottom of the bed. It is rather sturdy and will allow him to use what strength he has to try and straighten up a little and to keep from sliding down the bed.

We have also found that raising up the bottom part of the hospital bed, also helps out.

Getting him into the bathroom yesterday was a struggle. Even on Saturday, he was able to shuffle his feet to the bathroom. We used a desk chair, with wheels, to bring him back. He was able to help in transferring his weight, until yesterday.

He talked on the phone to his brother, Gloria (a close friend), Larry Stein (a longtime friend from the Masonic lodge, and Reds Goble (his best friend for close to 70 years).

His sister, Mary Jahnigan, came around for a few hours.

Also, my mother’s sister, Dorothy Kunsman, her daughters Pat, and Bonnie, and Pat’s daughter Michele came over for about an hour.

Dad sat in a chair for a few hours yesterday, where he received his i.v.

My son came over after work. He showed my father another unbelievable photo of his son, taken during another sonogram. This was actually better than the DVD, as you could clearly see the baby’s face. When I get access to a scanner, I’ll post.

When Reb left he told me to tell my father that the baby’s name would definately be Jackson Reverdy Orrell. You should have seen the look on his face when he heard that.

Later, he started to run a fever, but it didn’t last. He slept quietly last night, but every time he made a sound, I jumped up from the sofa.

The ‘new’ Hospice nurse arrived this morning and spent about an hour examining my father and talking to us. He was exactly what he had heard about Hospice and their staff; completely unlike what we experienced on Wednesday. Nora called Hospice yesterday and requested a different caregiver and gave the full reason why, when asked. I won’t go into that now.

This morning was father didn’t perk up as he has the last several mornings. He went right back to sleep after I gave him his 8 AM pills.

His voice is very weak when he speaks, but he is in no pain whatsoever. That’s all we can ask for.

He told Nora and my mother yesterday, that when he goes to sleep at night he sees what he thinks are people. He hears them talking, but can’t understand what they are saying. He has also said that heaven must not want him. Nora told him that all the ‘paperwork’ hasn’t been done yet and all the relatives and loved ones in heaven must be rounded up and be ready to greet him. He smiled at that.

I notice that when he does open his eyes and look about he looks at a photo of his parents, one of Reb, Sara, and my parents, and his favorite photo of my mother. He then looks for his masonic coin. Also he stares at a large photo on the wall of ‘Pitiful’, his dogs of many years.

The Hospice nurse said, that while he is very weak, and his pulse seems to be dropping, he isn’t quite ready yet. He still has lucid moments, most of the time. He says this could go on for several days.