In this space two weeks ago, I outlined my plans to spend the next two months in Arizona visiting my dad. But like the old saying goes: “Man plans, and God laughs.”

On the Thursday before the Saturday I was set to fly out to Mesa, Arizona, I received one of those phone calls that we all dread.

One of my dad’s caretakers phoned to say that Dad had been rushed to the local hospital after possibly suffering a stroke at home.


Well, before I get too dramatic, I will let you know that he did not have a stroke and spent four days in the hospital before being transferred to a rehabilitation center.

Turns out he had a very serious inner ear infection that threw off his balance and caused him to exhibit some medical conditions that mimic a stroke.

I had my plane ticket purchased months ago to leave Indiana on Saturday, Dec. 9, and since this all happened on Thursday, Dec. 7, I stuck with my original flight.

I visited Dad at the hospital, and he was in pretty good shape considering what he went through. His doctors said he should be moved to a rehabilitation center, seeing as how he is 90 years of age and pretty much blind due to macular degeneration in both eyes. That’s a condition he has had for nearly 20 years.

Dad and I talked, and he thought it was best that I return to Indiana as soon as possible so I could spend Christmas with my wife and daughters instead of visiting him at the nursing home and staying by myself in his home.

I reluctantly agreed and flew back (this time to South Bend) on Friday, Dec. 15.

I talk to Dad at least twice a day, and he is making good progress. But he’s having trouble with his knees, and the doctors and therapists feel it’s best he stay in rehab for a longer period of time than first imagined.

So now I am in a position of finding a long-term solution to my dad’s living arrangements, a job that millions of others of my generation have to face on a constant basis.

Do we keep him in Arizona (which is his first choice) or start the process of finding an assisted living center up here in northeast Indiana?

There’s a lot of paperwork to get him the help he needs through the state of Arizona, and I pray for guidance from above that I am doing the right thing and that he is happy with my efforts.

Hopefully, I will return to Arizona in January and get him moved out of his home and into a long-term care center. He’s not looking forward to having to get rid of his home’s furnishings, etc., but knows it’s inevitable and the right thing to do.

There are other chapters to this story, and I hope I haven’t bored you with these details of my personal life.

But many of you have met my dad on his many visits to Noble County, and I wanted to let you know how he is doing.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year.

Bob Buttgen is not letting the fact that the Green Bay Packers will not be in the Super Bowl distract him from celebrating with his family.

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(1) comment


Joan Lunden "a place for mom" Seniors may might work there.

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