Wednesday, September 12, 2007

September 12, 2007 - Family and Neighbors Visit Mack

Several of our neighbors and family members who ride bikes got together on Sunday a couple of weeks ago to ride to Farmville to visit Mack. Our neighbors Mark, Sherry, Rodney, Derrick, Chrissy and their children, Daisy and Jonah; Mack's uncle Henry and aunt Diane, Aunt Sue and cousin Kaitlyn and of course, Mawmaw (my mom) decided to surprise Mack. Mom rode in the car with me and Richard and Chrissy drove the truck bringing her children along. We had Mack out on the front porch as they arrived on their motorcycles and Mack started grinning when he heard them. Then, when he saw all of them turning into the nursing home parking lot one by one, he was very happy, especially when he started to recognize who they were. Mack's nursing home buddy, Shelby, came out to join us, which made him happy too. Shelby said that his family members are all deceased, which is why he doesn't have any visitors, so we decided to "adopt" him.

Mack has been moved from the Jerry chair (shown above) to a highback wheelchair with a padded tray in front to keep him in it. It forces him to sit straight up and dangle his legs down instead of being curled up in a fetal position in the Jerry chair. He's not very happy about that because it's very uncomfortable for him and stresses him out. I think that's why he has started biting. When asked why he wants to bite his answer is "I don't know". I think he is frustrated being in that chair for hours at a time and showing that frustration by biting.

Mack has also started showing signs of depression this past week. He's showing signs of becoming more aware of his surroundings and condition. His doctor at MCV told us that might happen, that Mack would start having mood swings. This past Monday, Mack didn't want to laugh at Richard's jokes as he usually does. Then he tried to bite Richard. When Richard asked him why he was trying to bite him, Mack responded, "It's all that I have left". Mack eats regular food, but not much. Mack loves eating the cantalope that Richard brings him on his visits. He also likes a banana or green seedless grapes now and then. He doesn't eat meats well. He takes a bite and chews and chews until he finally gives up 5 minutes later and just holds it in his mouth until we get him to spit it out. We asked him why he doesn't swallow it and he says that he can't swallow it. Mack doesn't want to eat much of his regular meals and is still being tube fed each night, which keeps him from getting dehydrated or losing weight.

On Tuesday, Richard took Misty to Farmville to visit Mack. He enjoyed seeing her, remembering and saying that she was HIS dog. At one point she was, but he left her with us for "safekeeping" about 4 years ago.

Today, Mack bit one of the caretakers at the nursing home. When Richard asked him why he did that, Mack said that he did it "because she was riding my ass about motorcycles". We're not sure what he meant by that comment and haven't spoken to her about it yet, but we will. I believe the doctor has prescribed Mack an anti-depressent, because Richard saw a big improvement in him today.

I tried to find positive things to put in the blog this time, but it just wasn't possible. It's going to be a long, slow uphill climb for Mack. It may be easier on us and the rest of the family if we could find a nursing home closer to us so that we all can visit Mack more frequently. Since Mack showed signs of depression on Monday, Richard has been going up to Farmville to check on Mack every day this week since Sunday and working every day. If you see Richard, tell him congratulations on his new position as Supervisor. That should make him smile. He was promoted as of Sunday, Sept. 9. 2007.

Please keep the prayers going for Mack. He still needs all the help he can get.

All our love to you all,

Richard & Ruth


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