Chronology of Illness from 2000-2004

2000 - It was my hope that Dennis' retirement would give him a break from his illness.  That being able to get more rest and having less stress from his job would make his body function easier.  I didn't realize the emotional toll that forced retirement would take.  He didn't speak of it but I could tell that he felt useless. He had always worked and now all he seemed to do was sit on the couch all day.  When we married in 1975, a friend gave us a Pomeranian puppy for our wedding gift.  He had always been an important part of our family and when he died in 1990, Dennis really took it hard. By the beginning of 2000, I knew he needed something to get him off the couch and active so, I bought him a puppy.  "Lady" attached herself to him and was always with him.  He had to get off the couch to take her outside to potty and they would walk around the yard until she finished. He never admitted that he was more active with her to care for but I knew he was up and about more.

In September 2000, I made the decision to take early retirement so I could take care of Dennis.  There were too many times when he forgot to take his medicine, didn't feel like fixing lunch, or just slept most of the day.  He needed someone to encourage him each day to get up and go somewhere or do something. He would not admit to being depressed but I knew that he felt worthless and it was very detrimental to his overall health.

In December 2000, our son asked us to help him build his log home.  He told Dennis that he knew he wouldn't be able to do any of the heavy lifting or actual work but would like him to oversee the effort to be sure he didn't make any serious mistakes as he had never built a home before.  Dennis agreed to help all he could.  This gave him a reason to be up and about each day and his health improved with every month that we worked on the log home.  It was something he had always wanted to build and now he was going to get the opportunity.  He and our grandson visited the site for another log home under construction and filmed the work being done as well as asking questions of the contractor when something needed explaining.  This was a daily effort for almost 3 weeks.  Then the real construction began and Dennis was on site every day that my son worked to explain the process and help with decisions that needed to be made.  

Since my son had a full time job during this process, the construction took almost a year and a half to complete but was the best thing to happen for Dennis' health.  His lungs were functioning better than they had in quite some time and he was able to mow the yard and work in the shop on small projects.

2003 was a frustrating year for Dennis.  He was having trouble with his heart rate, but the problem was hard to pinpoint since the drop in heart rate occurred intermittently.  Finally, in July of 2003, a monitor caught the drop allowing Dr. Parmer to determine that Dennis needed a pacemaker.  The pacemaker was inserted on August 1 and the problem was solved. The heart rate was causing Dennis to feel exhausted  instead of his lungs. 

In 2004, he suffered a number of recurring infections which set him back.  He began to have more difficulty walking short distances and any form of exertion would almost put him on the ground. On one of our visits to Dr. Millard, Dennis asked about the transplant program and his possibilities.  Dr. Millard felt that it would be almost impossible for Dennis to qualify for the program because of his other health problems as well as his age. He did talk about the possibility of a Lung Volume Reduction Surgery as a study had recently indicated that a large number of people with the same lung problems as Dennis had benefited from the surgery. Dennis said he would like to consider it as an option.  We then watched video's and discussed the pro's and con's of having the surgery.  We went home and talked about it.  Dennis wanted to give it a try since he knew that if he didn't, he was going to have to go on oxygen in order to get up and do anything. 2005

 Dennis and "Lady" in 2000

DenniswLady1.jpg (35045 bytes)

Dennis and "Lady's" Pups in 2003

DenniswPups.jpg (71890 bytes)

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