Sunday, July 20, 2008

Uncle Arnold's health

Arnold and Vi Seagraves
Arnold Seagraves has been at his son's Dave Seagraves house for the past few months. Dave and his family have been taking care of him.

This is an email from Dave on the state of his father's health.

Hello All,

I'm sorry to report that Dad's health seems to be getting progressively

worse. We've been to the doctor, it seems, about every other week, and
run blood and urine tests, but the doctor cannot find any treatable
condition. Yet every day, Dad seems further away: more lethargic, less
acute, sleeping more, less responsive. I'm not an expert, but it seems
to me that his body and his mind are just shutting down.

Over the past several days, Dad has been sleeping in his chair, and has
not gotten out of his robe and dressed, as was his custom. He is still
able to get to and from the bathroom on his own, but his visits seem
less frequent. It has been very difficult to get him to the table to
eat. Sometimes we bring the meal to him, but I think it is better for
him to get up once in a while. He has missed several meals entirely,
and claims at each meal that he just isn't hungry. When he does eat, it is
just a few bites. At the doctor's recommendation, we have added Ensure
to his diet a couple of times a day to compensate. Although he still
seems cogent most of the time, he is often confused about what time it
is, and forgets within minutes that we have called him to breakfast,
lunch or dinner. We have to remind him several times, and sometimes
just stand there until he gets out of his chair, though this seems to
frustrate him. He complains frequently about having difficulty
breathing, and often sits holding a pillow to his chest and breathing
laboriously. There is no chest pain or pain in the arms, and his lungs
are clear each time the doctor checks. There are no signs of edema or
other indications of heart failure. We are tracking his condition
carefully with the doctor.

All these symptoms are consistent with end of life. Barring the
discovery of a treatable condition, or a miraculous turnaround, I
believe Dad may be in the last stages of his life. It is very difficult

to say how long he will last, but I would say it is days or weeks, not
months, based on previous experience. The good news is, he does not
appear to be in any extraordinary pain, other than the pain in his neck

and hands with which he has lived for the past several years. He is as
comfortable as possible, and has the loving support of myself, Tukey,
Ruth and Mike, and an occasional hug from his 18-month old
granddaughter, Kendra.

I will let you all know if there is any dramatic change in his


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