A Difficult Week

Beginning last Tuesday, dad became disoriented. We can usually measure the depth of his dementia by how many jokes he tells in an hour. He has gone from around a wide palette of oft-repeated jokes too numerous to recount to about 1/2 a joke.

We moved him to Cabrini Hospital where he is today and we are in the process of looking for a rehab facility.

We arrived at the ER at Cabrini around 5 pm last Tuesday and waited until 10:45 before we were able to get him out of the waiting room. Darlene stayed with Dad until 3 AM when they got him into a room.

Ten years ago he never forgot a name and now he doesn’t know where he is.

Exhausting, emotional, and painful.

Mom is at the Assisted Living facility– Marigold Place.

I think a major part of the decline has been his constant care for mom. He did just about everything for her and now his mind has seized up from exhaustion.

The whole week has been filled with appointments, decision, and dilemmas. Dad gets in a gear where his only goal is to get back to Mom. And when Dad gets the thought in his mind, IVs, nurses and bed rails are merely obstacles to that goal. Last night we had an especially difficult time. I was able to call Dennis Phelps and put him of the phone to pray for Dad. It settled him into a peaceful sleep.  I get choked up when I call Dennis because he has been such a blessing to our family. When. I hear his voice, memories and emotions rush to the surface

When Dad wakes up, he’s concerned about missing a church service, a game or an engagement.  His mind goes back twenty years, it seems. It’s heartbreaking to see him suffer, especially when I know I’m going to have to explain everything to him over and over again.

Yesterday evening he was trying to coach one of the nurses to sing- perhaps looking for a soulful new member of the Foundation singers.

We are having to feed him because he can’t get the food up to his mouth by himself. Plastic urinals, restraining straps and gospel CDs… This is where we live these days with dad.

Mom doesn’t quite understand it either. She has her own issues. And so the rushing, explaining, providing and caring continues. In the midst of it all, I play the movie forward and wonder if I’ll be in this bed in my 80s.

I have so many concerns that I often overwhelmed. Every day is a sprint and a marathon.

I’ll continue to post updates so friends and family can find out how things are going but also as a form of therapy for me.  Please pray for Mom and Dad and the family as we travel this road walking Mom and Dad home.


11 thoughts on “A Difficult Week

  1. Will be praying for your dad. What a wonderful servant of God, and what wonderful family to care for him. Glad Dennis could help. They just don’t. One any better than Dennis Phelps.


  2. Dear Matt and Melinda, thank you for continuing to honor your parents. We admit quickly that there are no perfect parents, just as there are no perfect children. Nevertheless, your parents have given so much of themselves to so many others … and mostly for the sake of His Kingdom. You and Melinda are reflecting the selflessness that your Mom and Dad have modeled. The pictures on your blog help us peek into this new but challenging chapter in your lives. I do not believe in over 45 years have I ever seen you dad feel helpless. Yet now he depends on others for even the most basic daily needs. Still, there is One Who has met his needs for decades and even now is Present in his room and by his side, sufficient for this chapter … full of grace, mercy, and love. This One remembers every mile traveled, every song sung, every school visited, every person encouraged, every sacrifice made, every crisis battled, and every tear shed even in quiet privateness. This One has carried him and you throughout your lives … and in these days of weariness, loss, and pain, He remains strong enough to carry us high on His shoulders, like a Good Shepherd with an exhausted lamb. He knows we are but human and that we come to the end of our own resources quickly. Yet, He is able to do what we cannot. May we all find ourselves drawn in desperation to His presence for help … just as your Dad has led us so many times before when we did not know where to turn and had nowhere else to go. With prayerful love and assurance …


  3. Matt, your precious Mom & Dad, you and the rest of your family are being lifted high in prayers. Yes, Dennis is a blessings and an angel to many…and especially to the Tullos family.


  4. Matt and Melinda– definitely praying for an abundance of strength and patience. You, your dad and Melinda were a big part of my life in my teen years. I was in the Alpine Youth group that went to the World’s Fair– can’t remember what year that was – the trip and those years were influential in my spiritual growth. Thanks so much for your updates.


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