of Illness from 2000-2004
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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