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Update on Smitty

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  • william f smith
    Dearest Friends, Once again, I thank you for your care, concern, prayers, emails, cards, and letters. Dad has been having good and bad days, as of late. His
    Message 1 of 8 , Sep 13, 2010
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      Dearest Friends,



      Once again, I thank you for
      your care, concern, prayers,
      emails, cards, and letters.
      Dad has been having good and
      bad days, as of late. His
      energy levels seem to have
      tapered off some more. He is
      once again taking afternoon
      naps, and sometimes doesn't
      want to get back out of bed
      for dinner. However, the
      cards, letters, and emails he
      receives seem to cheer him up.
      A couple of weeks ago, he
      finally lost his ability to
      maneuver his computer mouse
      with both hands. Myself, and
      his home health aids have been
      helping him check his emails.
      We do the clicking, and he
      reads them. A few days ago,
      the VA finally delivered the
      computer they first began
      promising him a few months
      ago. This high-tech gadget
      has what is called eye-gaze
      technology. He can select
      items on the screen by looking
      at them and blinking. It has
      an on-screen keyboard, so once
      he gets the hang of it (it
      will take some practice and
      patience on his part to get
      the operation of this unit
      down) he will be able to do
      some typing. It has a voice,
      so when he is having a hard
      time being understood, he will
      be able to type in what he
      wants to say (using the
      eye-gaze technology) and then
      it will speak for him. It
      also has touch-screen
      technology as well as a
      wireless mouse and external
      keyboard, but these features
      are useless to him. They do
      come in handy for me when I am
      helping him set it up.
      Because of my blind eye, I
      cannot use the eye-gaze thing.
      My nephew thinks the eye-gaze
      technology is so cool, though.
      Dad says he likes this new
      computer, but has been too
      tired to use it much as of
      yet. I think he needs some
      encouragement to try it. He
      has been experiencing dry eyes
      syndrome, which I read is
      common among ALS patients.
      From what I read one of the
      causes of dry eyes in ALS
      patients is not blinking often
      enough. I am hoping that
      if/when he starts using his
      new computer that his
      blinking-to-click on items on
      his screen will help with dry
      eyes. The only other cause
      for dry eyes listed in the
      literature I read was related
      to ventilators, but he is not
      yet to the stage where he uses
      one of those. Me and my
      brother were talking about it
      last night, and we both
      wondered if it might be
      related to his breathing
      treatments he takes. The
      breathing treatments consist
      of mixing medicine in a vial,
      connecting it to the
      mouthpiece and to a small air
      compressor that is specially
      designed for such things.
      Keep praying for him, and keep
      writing to him, and I'll keep
      reading the letters to him,
      and keep helping him read his
      emails. Once he gets the hang
      of his new computer, he will
      once again be able to read his
      emails all by himself. We are
      trying to encourage him to
      play with it a little each
      day, as practice makes
      perfect. Maybe if some of his
      friends mention it in their
      letters/emails they will get
      through to him better than we
      can. The VA has also
      promised to send him a
      power-wheelchair with
      sip-and-puff technology.
      This is the same type of
      technology the chair
      Christopher Reeves (Superman)
      used. To go forward, Dad will
      blow into a tube, and to go
      backwards, he'll suck on a
      tube (I'm not sure if it's the
      same one, or two different
      tubes, but I think it's two
      different ones). I think
      another tube is involved for
      turning, but I am not yet
      familiar with this technology,
      personally. Dad's looking
      forward to getting his power
      chair so much that when I
      asked if there was anything
      specific he wanted me to write
      about, he said to mention it.



      Some of you have asked how mom
      is doing. She's doing as well
      as can be expected and is
      doing all she can to take care
      of dad. Mornings that I am at
      work, she has to help the home
      health aid get him in the
      bathtub for his bath, and
      administer his morning
      medications. Her and the aids
      take turns cooking his
      breakfast, and mom takes care
      of lunch. I usually cook
      dinner for Mom, Dad, and
      myself, but my sister-in-law
      cooks for them a couple of
      nights a week to give me a
      break. Anyway, Mom is doing
      well, and says hi to everyone.



      Someone wrote back this last
      month and asked about Elrod,
      or "Hotrod the cat." Both
      Elrod, and Elvis (or
      dipplebutt as Dad sometimes
      calls him) are doing well. As
      long as someone feeds them,
      they are happy. Both cats
      still enjoy dad's company.
      Elrod has always been one who
      demanded to be petted and
      cuddled with, but has learned
      to be content with sitting
      under Dad's wheelchair when he
      is sitting on the porch.
      Elvis has always been one of
      those cats who occasionally
      need petting, but is usually
      content to just be in the room
      with someone. This means, he
      has had less adjusting to do.
      Both cats continue to provide
      Dad with company. Dad has
      always been an animal lover,
      and continues to be one.



      Well, I see I wrote more this
      time, than I usually do, so I
      will close for now.



      In Christ,





      Tom W. Smith
    • Dennis Padgett
      Oh please keep us updated and don t feel you wrote to much all the news is needed here. Tell your dad I said hi hope things work out with the new computer and
      Message 2 of 8 , Sep 13, 2010
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        Oh please keep us updated and don't feel you wrote to much all the news is needed here. Tell your dad I said hi hope things work out with the new computer and we'll be chatting shortly

        Dennis Padgett
          40 ROUNDS
         


        --- On Tue, 9/14/10, william f smith <smids37@...> wrote:

        From: william f smith <smids37@...>
        Subject: [8thdivmodern] Update on Smitty
        To: 588thmaintco@yahoogroups.com, 39THENGINEERBATTALION@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 2:31 AM

         
        Dearest Friends,

        Once again, I thank you for
        your care, concern, prayers,
        emails, cards, and letters.
        Dad has been having good and
        bad days, as of late. His
        energy levels seem to have
        tapered off some more. He is
        once again taking afternoon
        naps, and sometimes doesn't
        want to get back out of bed
        for dinner. However, the
        cards, letters, and emails he
        receives seem to cheer him up.
        A couple of weeks ago, he
        finally lost his ability to
        maneuver his computer mouse
        with both hands. Myself, and
        his home health aids have been
        helping him check his emails.
        We do the clicking, and he
        reads them. A few days ago,
        the VA finally delivered the
        computer they first began
        promising him a few months
        ago. This high-tech gadget
        has what is called eye-gaze
        technology. He can select
        items on the screen by looking
        at them and blinking. It has
        an on-screen keyboard, so once
        he gets the hang of it (it
        will take some practice and
        patience on his part to get
        the operation of this unit
        down) he will be able to do
        some typing. It has a voice,
        so when he is having a hard
        time being understood, he will
        be able to type in what he
        wants to say (using the
        eye-gaze technology) and then
        it will speak for him. It
        also has touch-screen
        technology as well as a
        wireless mouse and external
        keyboard, but these features
        are useless to him. They do
        come in handy for me when I am
        helping him set it up.
        Because of my blind eye, I
        cannot use the eye-gaze thing.
        My nephew thinks the eye-gaze
        technology is so cool, though.
        Dad says he likes this new
        computer, but has been too
        tired to use it much as of
        yet. I think he needs some
        encouragement to try it. He
        has been experiencing dry eyes
        syndrome, which I read is
        common among ALS patients.
        From what I read one of the
        causes of dry eyes in ALS
        patients is not blinking often
        enough. I am hoping that
        if/when he starts using his
        new computer that his
        blinking-to-click on items on
        his screen will help with dry
        eyes. The only other cause
        for dry eyes listed in the
        literature I read was related
        to ventilators, but he is not
        yet to the stage where he uses
        one of those. Me and my
        brother were talking about it
        last night, and we both
        wondered if it might be
        related to his breathing
        treatments he takes. The
        breathing treatments consist
        of mixing medicine in a vial,
        connecting it to the
        mouthpiece and to a small air
        compressor that is specially
        designed for such things.
        Keep praying for him, and keep
        writing to him, and I'll keep
        reading the letters to him,
        and keep helping him read his
        emails. Once he gets the hang
        of his new computer, he will
        once again be able to read his
        emails all by himself. We are
        trying to encourage him to
        play with it a little each
        day, as practice makes
        perfect. Maybe if some of his
        friends mention it in their
        letters/emails they will get
        through to him better than we
        can. The VA has also
        promised to send him a
        power-wheelchair with
        sip-and-puff technology.
        This is the same type of
        technology the chair
        Christopher Reeves (Superman)
        used. To go forward, Dad will
        blow into a tube, and to go
        backwards, he'll suck on a
        tube (I'm not sure if it's the
        same one, or two different
        tubes, but I think it's two
        different ones). I think
        another tube is involved for
        turning, but I am not yet
        familiar with this technology,
        personally. Dad's looking
        forward to getting his power
        chair so much that when I
        asked if there was anything
        specific he wanted me to write
        about, he said to mention it.

        Some of you have asked how mom
        is doing. She's doing as well
        as can be expected and is
        doing all she can to take care
        of dad. Mornings that I am at
        work, she has to help the home
        health aid get him in the
        bathtub for his bath, and
        administer his morning
        medications. Her and the aids
        take turns cooking his
        breakfast, and mom takes care
        of lunch. I usually cook
        dinner for Mom, Dad, and
        myself, but my sister-in-law
        cooks for them a couple of
        nights a week to give me a
        break. Anyway, Mom is doing
        well, and says hi to everyone.

        Someone wrote back this last
        month and asked about Elrod,
        or "Hotrod the cat." Both
        Elrod, and Elvis (or
        dipplebutt as Dad sometimes
        calls him) are doing well. As
        long as someone feeds them,
        they are happy. Both cats
        still enjoy dad's company.
        Elrod has always been one who
        demanded to be petted and
        cuddled with, but has learned
        to be content with sitting
        under Dad's wheelchair when he
        is sitting on the porch.
        Elvis has always been one of
        those cats who occasionally
        need petting, but is usually
        content to just be in the room
        with someone. This means, he
        has had less adjusting to do.
        Both cats continue to provide
        Dad with company. Dad has
        always been an animal lover,
        and continues to be one.

        Well, I see I wrote more this
        time, than I usually do, so I
        will close for now.

        In Christ,

        Tom W. Smith


      • william f smith
        Dearest Friends, This evening is the first chance I have had to check Dad s email since Monday night. I am writing to let you know that my brother took Dad to
        Message 3 of 8 , Sep 19, 2010
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          Dearest Friends,

          This evening is the first
          chance I have had to check
          Dad's email since Monday
          night. I am writing to let
          you know that my brother took
          Dad to the emergency room
          Tuesday morning and they
          transferred him to the VA
          Hospital in Fayettvillle that
          evening. He had gotten
          pneumonia. They believe the
          affects of ALS on his
          respiratory system led to the
          contraction of pneumonia. He
          has pretty much won the battle
          with pneumonia, but the
          pneumonia weakened him and led
          to other symptoms of ALS
          getting worse. The doctor's
          recomended that when he leaves
          the hospital that he be
          admitted to a nursing home.
          After discussing it with my
          brother (who dad had given
          power of attorney to about a
          month or so ago), Dad has
          decided that is his best
          course of action. There's a
          really nice Veteran's Home
          just across the parking lot
          from the hospital that he is
          now in. Dad's first choice of
          nursing homes is a Veteran's
          home that is about an hours
          drive from here(half the
          distance, and in the opposite
          direction as the VA hospital
          from us), but they have a
          waiting list and he is not
          able to get in there
          immediatly. He has decided on
          the one across the parking lot
          from the hospital for the time
          being. I doubt he'll be able
          to recieve emails in the
          nursing home, but I will do my
          best to pass along any
          messages anyone may want to
          send him. My brother, his
          wife, my youngest nephew, mom,
          and myself spent all day
          visiting him at the hospital,
          yesterday. Dad seems to be at
          peace with the decision about
          the nursing home. He knows
          that he will get better care
          there than what we can provide
          for him here at home. I truly
          wish we were able to keep him
          home, but the time has come to
          accept the fact that it is
          impossible for us to provide
          the quality of care he so
          desperately needs. Please
          keep him in your prayers.

          In Christ,

          Tom W. Smith
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