Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Don's progress

This post is because Don Larson has so many friends and relatives from Leesburg to Minneapolis and many in between who wonder and worry about him.  And, yes, he approved this posting.

When I first arrived in Leesburg 10 days ago I found Don on the mend.  He was dealing with some confusion, weakness in his legs, and a broken clavicle but he was determined to get back to his own apartment.  Each morning he went to rehab and put me and everyone else to shame as he attacked the various torture machines with vigor and purpose.

Then, last Wednesday we began to see some backward movement.  He became more disoriented and was much, much weaker. By Thursday afternoon he was clearly experiencing a downward spiral that was alarming to say the least.  That spiral became more pronounced on Friday and by Saturday I was looking up the phone number of Hospice.  The nurses, the physical therapists, the aides, his friends and family were all coming in to hold his hand, sit with him and some were shedding a few tears.

And then the most amazing thing happened.  Sometime Saturday the nurses became convinced that this downturn may be due to one or more of his drugs and they alerted the doctors.  Drugs were cut back, removed and/or adjusted and by Sunday morning we were seeing a change for the better.
Also, nephew Mark Larson from St. Paul, Mn arrived on the scene (maybe because he could sense my panic) and then things began to look up even more.
Finally,  last night one of his lady friends came to see him and, you can tell by the smile and the 'dress-up bolo tie', he was almost back to his old self.  He recognizes everyone again, he discusses financial affairs with clarity, he knows where he is and he is once again tackling the torture machines with a vengeance.  He is also taking a few steps with the support of an aide and his legs are gaining strength and coordination and are working so much better.
There are lessons to be learned by Don's experience this last week.  I can not be 100% sure that his downturn was due to the drugs but it sure is possible.  I have learned that the elderly are super sensitive to  drugs when younger ones may tolerate them with ease.  If I ever again have a loved one that is rehabilitating from something, I won't be shy.  I must learn what they are taking and what it is for.  I intend to watch for any changes in personality and alert nurses and doctors if I feel (even a little bit) that something is not as it should be.
And to all his friends out there....Don says, "Hi"


  1. Toni,
    I've come to feel that I know Don through your accounts, and I am so pleased that he is back on the road to recovery again. Please convey my best wishes to him. Having had a somewhat similar experience with my mother, I have to say it is truly amazing what a determined 90-year old can do when given half a chance. She's back in her own home now, and doing very well.
    Thanks for bringing us up to date.
    Lynda G.

  2. I don't know Don except through you but I can tell you that NuStep machine he is using in the first photo is my very favorite exercise machine in the whole world. I'm glad he has access to that. Now he just needs some lively tunes to help him keep moving on it. :)

  3. Hey Toni, I'm so glad to hear that Don is on the road to recovery! It's nice to finally see the family members that you have so fondly talked about over the many years I've known you. I'm sure Don really appreciates having you there. I've enjoyed your blogs about Don and his social life and new hobby of a hydroponic garden. Please let Don know I wish him a speedy recovery and that I will be checking for future blogs about him. Better yet,when he gets home he should start his own blog! I bet it would be very interesting.