Like many of their friends, clients, and colleagues in their baby boomer years, Cathy and her husband Rogge Dunn are living with the challenges that come with aging parents. Cathy’s father Sam is a retired Marine whose health continues to deteriorate as Alzheimers and dementia set in. We are constantly asked how Sam is doing, so we’ve set up this diary to chronicle Cathy’s journey with Sam. As you’ll see, Sam’s adventures offer a bittersweet mix of humor and heartache. We hope following Sam is a reminder to live in the moment, savoring the good times we have with family and friends while taking every opportunity to build memories that will last a lifetime.
Learning to navigate the medical and social services Sam needs – and all of the many bills that come with them – has been an eye-opening experience for Cathy, and we’ve learned it’s an experience many of you have shared in caring for an aging parent. The good news is, you can plan today for how you will meet those expenses in the future. One of the best things you can do for your spouse, your children, and for yourself is to at least have the LTC (Long Term Care) conversation. There are levels of coverage for all budgets, and we are here to help answer any questions you might have.
Thanks again to all for your kind words and support!
Sam won a new hat at bingo today!
Sam was not impressed by the Easter Bunny on Easter weekend! Hahaha
Look who is enjoying this beautiful weather today! He is obsessed with his new hat!
Sam had a great day outside with Queenie aka The Lion Queen!
We just had to post this photo! Look who had a great Fat Tuesday!
Look who has found a new obsession! We did not see that coming! That smile!
Matching outfits = a great day for Sam!
Sam visited the dermatologist today!
Sam is having a great day hanging out with the ladies at his new facility. His puzzle made him a big hit, but the smile really makes it special!
Sam spent the first day of 2019 with a huge smile on his face!
The last 5 weeks have been quite challenging. He has moved to a new facility that has a lock down memory care unit. His spirits are high and he is entertaining all the new ladies. He is the only male in his unit and the women love him! Please keep him in your prayers
Cathy celebrated Thanksgiving a little early with Sam at the nursing home.
Sam wears Paul Fredrick brand shirts… but when you have Alzheimer’s/dementia, having someone else’s name in your shirt can get confusing! Listen to the voicemail Sam left Cathy when he noticed the tag of his shirt.
Sam celebrated his 85th birthday with friends and family by his side! He had a great day! Most importantly, his lunch was a burger and milkshake catered by Grub Burger!
This year, Sam turned 85! Cathy held a birthday party for him at his care facility to celebrate. These are some of the best moments!
Sam is feeling much better, so of course he got a burger!
It’s been a long 24 hours. Sam was admitted during the night with congestive heart failure. He’s comfortable. No more shakes for a few days. Alzheimer’s and dementia stinks too.
We tried something new today other than Sam’s usual order: a burger and a milkshake!
Sam had a great day enjoying the sunshine and visiting with Queenie!
Sam had a great day shopping for groceries and visiting with Queenie! Of course he also got a burger and a milkshake to top it all off.
Sam said “Cathy, this is awesome chocolate ice cream! You made my day!”
Sam is doing well! He is happy that his shirts are pressed and starched.
Sam is having a great day today! We decided to try something new – Einstein Bros for breakfast!
Sam and I enjoyed lunch together! Sam had a large burger, french fries and, of course, a chocolate milkshake.
We came back to visit Sam for dinner! Queenie is getting so big she can no longer fit in his lap!
Oh my!! That’s not a burger and a milkshake?!
Today we enjoyed brunch (Sam of course having a burger and milkshake) and I managed to sneak Queenie in for a visit!
Went to drop off coffee to Sam and found him working out at PT!
We got to enjoy an amazing dinner Steve Fields’ Steak & Lobster Lounge!
It’s always a great day for a hamburger and a chocolate shake! Sam is currently enjoying his at his favorite rehabilitation center as he recovers from his latest bought with pneumonia.
Sam turned a corner today. He has a fever but he’s feeling better!!! Time to call in the old standby – hamburger and a chocolate shake. Thank you to everyone who has expressed their concern.
Unexpected trip to ER yesterday. Please keep my dad Samuel Fields in your prayers. His BP is staying at 190 and his pneumonia is back with a vengeance. He’s on oxygen and resting. We finally were admitted to a room earlier this morning.
Great news! Sam’s pneumonia has cleared up! His BP is a little out of control but nothing medications or a hamburger with french fries and a chocolate shake can’t control!
Look who is having a great day today! What a small world! Dr. Beth Bernthal (who is my is my niece in law) is setting him up with hearing aides!!
Sam had some skin cancer removed from his head and face, but he’s a trooper and handling it all well!
Cathy and her family celebrated Sam’s 84th birthday at Bahama Legacy West. Happy Birthday Sam!
Look who I got to take out of assisted living today! He was thrilled! It has been 7 months since he was able to leave the facility. What a beautiful day it was to be out on our boat!
Look who I got to spend the day with!
After a rough few days post-surgery, Sam has been discharged from the hospital and is now back at the rehab center.
Sam had cardiac surgery early this morning and has not been able to wake up. It appears there are some neurological issues at this time. Please keep Sam in your prayers.
Guess who had a great lunch after his MRI?
Today is surgery day! Please keep Sam in your prayers. We have a long recovery road ahead of us!
UPDATE: Sam’s artery is 90%+ blocked. At this time, he’s considered too high of a risk for surgery. He has been released back to rehab for further evaluation. We will post further updates as available.
Sam has had a very good week. We are happy to report that he is now eligible for surgery, which is scheduled for June 7th. He’ll remain at the rehabilitation hospital until then.
Sam has had a great week. Though he is still a patient at the rehabilitation facility, his condition is stable. We will be meeting with his cardiac surgeon this week to further evaluate his condition. Hopefully, we will get the go-ahead to proceed with surgery within the next week or two.
Last Sunday while at church, Sam became unresponsive for 3 minutes. He was transported to Presbyterian Hospital where extensive testing determined that his carotid artery is 90% blocked. Unfortunately, doctors will not be able to perform surgery until his health stabilizes. Cathy has been with him all week monitoring his care.
On Friday 5/5/17, Sam was discharged to a rehabilitation facility. There, he will be monitored 24/7 as he is very high risk for another stroke. His next appointment with his cardiologist is 5/16/17. They hope to see some improvement by this time.
The game plan is to get him healthy enough to move forward with surgery by the end of the month. We should have more updates next week.
Thank you for your continued prayers.
Even waiting can be fun if you are with the right person.
Nothing like a shake and a sunny day with Sam!