February 15, 2008


Duck, on one of his yearly Yosemite visits sometime in the early 2000’s.

Duck: Today he is just like he was when he was hospitalized a year ago. How rapidly he declined.

Me: Yesterday: woke at four…thinking. Silly me. Felt awkward and out of place at the poets corner. Got Duck candy and a card….a useless gesture. G and I are worried and talking it all over with Dr. Jay. That’s a help. Today: Woke at four again. I wonder why.

Campo Family: Dad barely made it home via the back route 94 and the family is preparing to tuck in for the duration before the fireplace. Schools are closed, the snow is sticking, and the temp is 32. Fifty miles of 8 were closed last night, and they are letting cars only through this morning.

G: My hero. He’s been fighting for Duck’s well being since Monday. He went up against the status quo at the nursing home Thursday evening…..what ever good that did.
Each day Duck is a little worse than the day before.

From that first day, Monday, when he had the reaction to the surgery and anesthetic, life has been downhill. On both Monday and Tuesday, he shook so much he was unable to eat food or drink water by himself. His misery was complicated by the side effects of a common cold. Wednesday he had a good morning, but by evening he was miserable, not eating, refusing water and hallucinating. By Thursday evening, we arrived to find a man curled into a fetal position half under a blanket on his bed.

“Do you know the many things they have done to me today?” He asked.

We knew. They had called G at work, and we had been regaled with more details on our arrival.

His hallucinations were still with him in the morning, yet he tried to make his bed. Always he makes his bed. He fell doing this, and by the time an aide found him she reported he was lifting the television over his head. We think he fell and grabbed his TV taking it with him as he went.

They began powering water down him one on one. When he needed to go to the bathroom they attempted to get a urine sample. He flushed the toilet. They installed a catheter, and he yanked it out. They installed a monitor, and he pulled it off. He refused call for help because he couldn’t afford to tip the aides. What a mess.

Ah, just like the first time. All the same stuff but a lower blood pressure. A year ago his BP was 70/40, today his BP is in the normal range. That’s one good thing. He’s not miserable; he’s just totally nonfunctional.

“I’ll just lie here feeling sorry for myself,” he told me last night after he told me not to turn the TV on.

Unfortunately, we have discovered that they initially let him admit himself. Even though he had been declared incompetent by the doctor’s at the prestigious hospital and had been sent to the nursing home with this diagnosis in his files, they let him admit himself. We are now waiting for their house doctor to officially declare him incompetent to take care of himself.

Yes, he arrived at the nursing home with all the paperwork saying that G was officially in charge. Yes, they already had copies of everything. Yes too, I will take them fresh copies of the Power of Attorney and the medical directives....hoping that will be enough.

Some times it's all you can do to shuffle paperwork...today I'll take the papers to that prestegous hospital instead of to the nursing home. We are pleased they moved him this morning.


  1. Mage,

    Sorry about your friend,Duck.

    Isn't it a shame that someone's life has to take a turn like this?As I said before, he is fortunate to have you and G to care about him.

    I just saw the weather report on the TV and was surprized to see snow in San Diego. I know you are not used to snow in Southern California so hope you all make out OK and, if you can, stay in the house, look out the window and enjoy it.

  2. Is there, or do you suspect, neglect at the nursing facility?

    I, too, noticed the weather reports. Viscious everywhere! Hubby and I had to walk home again from the bottom of the hill on Wednesday after a late class. Luckily I had on boots that day! Hope you're faring well with all you have to contend with.

    I salute you and G. You're good people!


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The boat ramp on Shelter Island, San Diego Bay, 2015.   Panorama: G. There are always changes.  G and I often take a picnic or h...