Dad Has a Fat Lip and Puffy Cheeks


When I talked to dad on Saturday afternoon, he sounded like I just woke him up. He said he had just finished talking on the phone to my brother. Even though dad sounded groggy, he knew what was going on and told me some things happening with my brother. I asked dad if it was cold there and he said no, it was very nice. Now, in fact, it was under 20 degrees and snowing, but since dad was safe and warm inside, he really didn’t notice.

Last week, my son told me he had given dad a bottle of scotch last winter too.  Thus the problem I wrote about last week was a surprise to him.  He apologized for causing an issue.  I told him it was OK and I thought grandpa had a right to the scotch.  It is funny no one noticed it last year.

Since that “to-do” last week, no one at the ALF has mentioned dad’s scotch.  But I doubt it has been forgotten yet.  I am just hoping nothing happens till I get home. Things seemed to have settled down, but every time I think things are getting back to “normal”, something else happens.

Sunday morning I received a phone call from one of the aides at dad’s assisted living facility. Dad had awakened that morning with swelling on the left side of his face – mainly the cheeks and the lips. The aide had been helping dad dress and asked him if his face hurt. He said no, he had no pain.

She notified the on-call physician — the nurse practitioner who generally sees dad for his 3-month follow-up physical exams. This NP ruled out a stroke and decided he either had an allergic reaction to something or he had a tooth infection. (His teeth are in very bad shape but he refuses to see a dentist. I had decided to let him ignore his teeth four years ago since any work on them would be extensive and I doubt he would willingly wear dentures) The Nurse practitioner prescribed an antibiotic and an antihistamine and treatment with an ice pack 3 times a day for 3 days. The prescriptions had been ordered but wouldn’t arrive until later in the day.

I emailed my son and he said he would be there to visit dad in an hour. Then he sent me a text while he was visiting dad. I asked him to take a picture with his telephone camera and send it to me. I could see he looked like he had a fat lip, and his eyes looked very tired. In fact, my son said dad fell asleep after about 10 minutes of conversation.

I was glad they called me, but couldn’t decide what to do. How serious is this? I called my friend who is a nurse, and she said I should wait a day and see if he improves. I called the assisted living later that day and they said dad was improving a little. By the next day the swelling was already coming down some.

I telephoned the nurse companion who will see dad on Wednesday. I said she didn’t need to change her schedule unless I called her again. I just wanted her to know ahead of time and let me know what she thinks when she sees him on Wednesday. They were having more heavy snow when we talked. I didn’t want to ask her to go over more than necessary as the weather has been so challenging.

In the meantime, on Monday afternoon I got an email from the Monday companion telling me that they thought his swelling was down a bit and he was tired from having just taken his medications. He fell asleep while she was there.

I emailed his Tuesday companion and she will get back to me later today after she sees dad. At first I was very concerned about dad and his new symptoms. After they seemed to stabilize and begin to improve, my concern lessened. However, I still feel so very far away and wish I could know the cause of these latest symptoms.  I am trying to continue taking everything one day at a time. :)

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About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and the primary caregiver for my father. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with others who are also trying to care for a family member and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues around the care of my father and the relationship with other family members.
This entry was posted in Alcohol, Alzheimer's Disease, Assisted Living Facility, Caregiving, Dementia, Elder Care, Eldercare and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Dad Has a Fat Lip and Puffy Cheeks

  1. sharechair says:

    Yes… one day at a time.

  2. jmgoyder says:

    I am glad the swelling is going down – so hard when you are away I am sure. xxx

  3. M says:

    eeek….I am so sorry… thoughts and prayers your way.

  4. liramay42 says:

    It’s so hard to be long distance when stuff like this happens. It’s great that you have so many people who can check on your dad and let you know how he’s doing. I have to figure out how to make that happen with my mom – I’m the only family locally and we don’t really have extra money to pay caregivers to come in regularly.

    • It took some planning to start with but has worked out well. I also had a friend drop by last year, but didn’t ask her to do it this year. Other people I know have totally relied on friends, giving each a week to check in. This works for me. I pay companions $20 per hour and each comes for an hour a week unless dad needs more. The nurses get $30 per hour. Last year I had people come 3 days a week but now since the big “to-do” about dad’s altercation at Happy Hour i have tried to have someone there most weekdays at that time.

      I found the companions via friends recommendations, and I have been very happy with them.

      • liramay42 says:

        That’s awesome. Every home health/companion service I’ve found has a minimum shift of at least 2-3 hours, which gets expensive fast.

      • I had one last year with a minimum of 2 hours. But this year all are fine with 1 hour. Two are usually retired, and are doing this as a favor to me, though one of them has 2 elderly clients and enjoys doing a little work after retiring. The others are just flexible. It helps that they live in the same area as dad’s ALF so they don’t have to spend much time traveling. I think if I hired from an agency I would have to work with a 2 hour minimum. But since these ladies all work independently, 1 hour visits are just fine with them.

  5. Terry says:

    Nothing here ever stays the same. Each day, sometimes each hour becomes a challenge. I am so happy that you can have your break and have good help with your Dad

    • Thanks, Terry. I am sorry you are both going through such a difficult time right now, i can see you are working so hard to keep things good for your brother, but it is so out of your control. I hope Al can slip peacefully away to heaven now as he has been struggling for so long. And I hope you have the support you need from friends and family as well as hospice.

      I am lucky dad is doing so well after all this time. He told his companion he is lonely and I think that is one of the greatest difficulties for him. He doesn’t have the social skills to make and keep friends because of the dementia, but he really wants a woman friend to keep him company.

      I am thankful t be far from the snow and ice at this time. I do look forward to the spring and returning to spend time with dad again.

      • Terry says:

        You have a good life, and this I am happy for you. My life is good too but right now it is on hold. I hope Al goes home to heaven soon also. I will probably, in time, take care of another person, but I don’t want to care for family any longer. It is too emotional. My brother and I are left. It has been a hard journey, we are both tired, and we need God to help us release Al. Hugs my friend, enjoy your break

      • Yes, Terry, you do have a difficult job right now, caring for your brother. I hope you will both soon find — peace Al in heave, and you at home. I don’t think I could do as much as you have done. Prayers for you both.

  6. boomer98053 says:

    Even a paper cut can seem horrendous when you’re not there to monitor it on-site. I know it’s tough not being there, but I hope you relax knowing that all the bases are covered. As mentioned in a few of the comments above – you have good eyes on your father’s day-to-day life with companions and family to pop in.

    • Thanks, Irene. You’re right about that. But i feel like I have relaxed more this year than in the past. I have confidence in the ladies who check up on dad and he assures me he is happy so that helps too.

  7. I hope your dad is getting better. I know how hard it is being away when you are the primary care giver but you really have done an amazing job creating a team of people to help you.

  8. Pingback: Dad Goes to the Dentist | Let's Talk About Family

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