Sunday, October 29, 2006

October 29, 2006

Richard and I visited the Mariner's Museum in Norfolk in July, 2006. They were in the process of expanding the museum and said that it would open the new section this fall. I suspect that it has opened by now and we highly recommend that you visit if you have a day to do so. I imagine that it will take someone at least 3-4 hours to tour the entire facility at a leisurely pace.

We found out this past Wednesday that Mack will probably be moved to a nursing home (Avante) in Roanoke in the very near future. (They were actually saying that it would happen on Thursday, but thank God, it didn't) It came as quite a shock to us because the doctors and nurses haven't been giving us any indication that this would happen so soon. Richard has been going to visit Mack nearly every evening after work since he's been at MCV, and asking to talk with the doctor at least once a week. We did talk to 3-4 doctors making rounds weekend before last and nothing was mentioned by any of them about Mack being readied to be transferred to a nursing home at that time. They only said that he was making really good progress and that they had to take him off of Sinemet because Mack was getting too stimulated and agitated on that medicine. They were giving Mack Percoset to calm him down and relax him now whenever he got agitated. In order for Mack to go to physical therapy instead of a nursing home, he would have to be able to follow instructions, and/or talk, which he isn't able to do either yet. The latest news we got on Friday from the MCV social worker was that a representative from Avante was supposed to come down to Richmond to evaluate Mack's condition themselves regarding Mack's care needs, before they decide to accept him or not. So, until that happens, everything is up in the air. The MCV social worker is also checking for vacancies of nursing homes that meet Mack's needs closer to home. We hope and pray that something else closer to home opens up for him. Needless to say, Roanoke is a 3 1/2 hour drive one way to go to visit Mack, which is impossible for Richard to do every evening as he has been doing. We are all very concerned about Mack being that far away from us because we can't go to check on him ourselves daily as we have been. As soon as we know the final decision about his move, I will post the information. Mack needs us close by if he is to continue getting better and improving. We also need to be closer to him to make sure he's being taken care of. Please pray that a good nursing home much closer than Roanoke will have an opening soon.

Much love to all,
Ruth & Richard

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Correction about Paul Manor's POW status from Aunt Jackie in Texas

From Aunt Jackie - "I noticed in your last posting you wrote that Paul was a POW for 6 weeks - it was six months. He was taken prisoner on Dec 10, 1950 at the Chosin Reservoir by the Chinese. They took them across the Yalu River into Manchuria. Six months later 16 Marines and one Army officer escaped and made there way from behind enemy lines to be picked up by US Forces in tanks. "

Friday, October 20, 2006

October 20, 2006

This is one of the frogs from the pond in our back yard. We haven't named any of them yet. They've been croaking like crazy around here all summer long. At my last count about a month ago, I think we had about 8 tadpoles, with small arms and legs, who were coming up to the surface to get air. Whenever we go out into the back yard at night during the summer, we can hear them croaking loud and clear (sometimes almost deafening) - until you get near the pond, and then, you hear a big plop or two as they jump into the pond to get away. They're kind of shy, I guess. Last week when it got down to the upper 30's at night, the frogs must have gone to hibernate because I haven't heard them nor seen them recently. That's fine, they can hang out around here for the winter and keep us company again next summer. We enjoy having them around 'cause they eat all the mosquitos and flies!

The doctor finally took Mack's trach completely out on Wednesday. He also took the oxygen sensor off his finger on Thursday. Mack has been raising up on his own, trying to set up in the bed, for the past few days and also has managed to roll over to his left side on his own a couple of times. Mack makes noises as though he's trying to talk, although, sometimes its just a grunt, but it is a sound coming out of him. He's trying to bite on things, like his rubber football or heart, more like he's trying to chew on it. Honestly, I think he trying to tell us he wants food to eat! It's still too early for him to have solid foods. He will most likely start out on a liquid diet for a few days fairly soon and then progress on to regular food as his stomach and everything else can tolerate it. Unfortunately, Mack still has MRSA and we still need to wear the blue coveralls and gloves when we visit him. Hopefully, they will get that cleared up soon.

It's been a long haul for Mack to get to this point from where he was on August 8th, and he has a lot further to go to get back to a normal state as he was before, but with everyone's encouragement and help along the way, he will get there. Please keep the prayers and good thoughts coming.

God bless all our friends and family,
Ruth & Richard

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

October 17, 2006

William Calvin Pettis and Evelyn Denise Hermine Link (Ruth's parents) were married state-side in Pensacola, Florida on October 17, 1959. Today would have been their 37th wedding anniversary if Dad would still be with us. They met when Dad was in the Army stationed in Stutgard, Germany.

Mack has been breathing on his own without complications for quite a while now, so his trach was plugged yesterday. The plan is that the doctors will take out his trach tube tomorrow as long as Mack doesn't have any problems tonight. He has been making some sounds the past couple of days, but is not talking yet. That should come real soon after they take the trach out. Mack has been pointing to his mouth and teeth a lot lately and chewing on a mini football now and then which makes me think that he's thirsty and hungry. We still can't give him any solid food. Hopefully, that will come soon. Let's face it, the liquid diet stuff they've been giving him through the feeding tube in his stomach doesn't do much for him except keep him from starving to death. As soon as he's able to eat and swallow, I'm taking him some of his favorite foods to him. For those of you who don't know, and plan to go up there to feed him, he doesn't like for his food to touch in his plate. He's always been particular about that.

Mack's neuro-doctor has taken him off of the Sinemet (trial med) because it caused him to be too stimulated and agitated after taking it for several weeks. He is now taking muscle relaxers because of the left arm, which he keeps tightly pulled toward him. He needs to relax it and start moving it more along with his left leg. Some of the deeper wounds from the accident on his leg, shoulder and hands are still healing, and they're looking a whole lot better than they did at first. If Mack continues to improve, he will be going to rehab soon. I'm hoping that he will start talking within the next few days, which will make a difference in his Glasgow scale rating. He is still at a 9 according to the doctors. If he starts talking and responding to commands, he will get upgraded. A normal coherent person is at 15, the top of the scale.

That's all the good news for tonight. I'll update again as things happen.

Thanks to everyone for your support,
Ruth & Richard

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

October 11, 2006

This is Richard's baby! His 2001 Goldwing he rode to Washington DC for Rolling Thunder this past May. Notice the MIA flag next to the American flag! Richard rides to DC every year for Rolling Thunder to honor those who fought in the wars; especially his dad, Paul Manor, who was a prisoner of war in Korea for about six weeks. Richard, my ex-Marine, has been out of the Marine Corps for over 25 years; however, I'm happy to say the "Marine" morals and values have never left Richard. I'm very proud of the person that Richard is, and very happy that he and I got married on July 3, 1993. We have a wonderful life together. We love and support each other and bring out the best in each other. Because I had been "burned" twice before, (and swore I wasn't going to do it again), it took Richard 8 1/2 years to convince me to marry him. I'm glad that he loved me enough and had the patience to hang in there with me all that time. It paid off for both of us.


Richard and Belinda gave Mack a haircut yesterday (Tuesday) evening. He looks so much better now. Mack never liked his hair long anyway. When they arrived, he also had both knees drawn up, which is new. He hadn't been moving his left leg very much at all up to now. This evening (Wednesday), Richard said that Mack pointed to his front teeth several times. He couldn't figure out what he wanted and decided that Mack wanted his teeth brushed - so he and the nurse brushed his teeth. Once that was done, Mack was content and started fiddling with the trach again. He wants it off! I'm thinking he's about to make a big turn around real soon. Richard asked the nurse yesterday about how long the trach was supposed to stay in and the response was that they have already started to downsize the inner cannula a little at a time. When they get the hole to the smallest size, they will plug the cannula. If he breathes alright without any problems after that, they will take the entire inner and outer cannula out. He will still have the stoma there, but it should heal. That will mean that Mack should start talking once it has healed up, if he's able to talk. We're pretty sure he can hear us, but not so sure what he can see or how clearly he can see. Hopefully, we will find out real soon. He may surprise some of us with what he says when he starts talking again. Just be prepared for anything if you go to visit him over the next few weeks.

Thanks to everyone for checking in on the blog when you can. Thanks Aunt Jacky (Manor) for your e-mail and please keep in touch. Aunt Jacky lives in Texas. Hello and thanks to Patricia Williams Manor, who also has left a couple of messages on the blog for us.

All the best to everyone,

Ruth & Richard

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Especially For Crystal Evans (Mack's oldest sister)

For Crystal (sorry David, I had to do it.)

I believe this was taken in 1975 or 1976, in front of my mother-in-law, Hazel Farmer's house on 5th Street in Hopewell. Larry, Sue, David and Jeff came down from Chicago on vacation to visit Hazel and the rest of the family living down here - Joe, Ray & Betty, Paul and me and of course, our kids too. That was the first time I met them. It was about then, that Larry and Sue decided they wanted to move down here, so Ray got Larry to put in an application at ICI, Americas - which is now DuPont in Chester. Larry was hired and they moved down here in May of 1976. Larry retired from ICI/Dupont in May, 2006 after 30 years with them.

David Farmer and Crystal are getting married on Sunday, December 10th, and I wanted to share just a little bit of David's family history with her, along with a picture of David when he was about 5 years old.

Larry and Sue at their home in Chester, around 1983. Notice the pictures of David and Jeff in the background on the curio shelves.

(click on the pictures to enlarge)

The doctor is giving Mack a new medication which helps him remain less agitated. We noticed a remarkable difference in him last night when we visited him after his first dose. When we released the restraints, he wasn't determined to pull on the trach and other tubes as he was before, although he still made some attempts. You just have to firmly tell him no or stop if he puts his hand up there, and he usually stops pulling. When I held the red heart squishy in front of him and told him to reach for it if he wanted it, he made a couple of attempts at it before he finally succeeded. I couldn't get him to do it again - just that one time.

We appreciate all the concerns, uplifting thoughts, and prayers still coming from everyone. Uncle Kenneth (Lackey), thank you so much for the letter we received from you recently. We send you our love and condolences on the loss of your grandson, Adam, last March. I wish our son and your grandson would have realized how precious life is and not taken some of the chances that they did, thinking they could get away with it. I guess their attitude was that stuff like that usually happens to others, but it won't happen to them. Unfortunately, those of us left behind have to deal with our grief, and the painful end results, one a day at a time. I wish we could wave a magic wand and make all this bad stuff go away - but, we can't.

Wishing everyone love and peace,
Ruth & Richard

Thursday, October 05, 2006

October 5th, 2006 - Mack's nickname

Happy Birthday, Henry! Let's see you're how old? Pushing to the big 46, aren't you?

Mack's been nicknamed "Houdini" at the hospital by the nurses. Seems that he has figured out how to scoot down into the bed to get his hands closer to his trach tube and to scratch his face. The nurses had to tie Mack's hands to the bed with restraints because he's been pulling at his trach tubes and other things still attached to him when left alone. He's trying to get them off of him - deliberately! When we go to visit him, we take his hands out of the restraints and let him feel around his bed. But whenever he starts to get his hand closer to the trach, we won't let him - then he gets aggitated and starts thrashing around in the bed with his right leg and arm and wears himself out. His heart rate goes up from118 to 140 whenever he gets aggitated. When I went to visit him last weekend, his eyes opened as soon as he heard my voice and he held on to my hand with his right hand with a tight grip for quite a while. I'm wondering, if he didn't have the trach, would he talk. We're going to ask the doctor today how long they expect to keep the trach in place and why. Mack's still not using the left hand and leg as much as we had hoped he would by now, but we're working with him. We're hoping that he will be ready to go to physical therapy soon so that he can continue to improve his motions. Since he's making progress to make deliberate movements with his right hand and leg, the possibility that his left arm and leg will start up as well, is very good.

One more birthday, on October 2, that I want to acknowledge. My best friend - Sue Farmer! Happy Birthday, Sue, and I hope you have many more happy, healthy, prosperous years ahead. We've been through a lot together over many years, haven't we. I'm so thankful that you, Larry and the kids decided to move to Hopewell from Chicago in 1976 (?).

All our love to you all,

Ruth & Richard