The Remarkable Transformation of Grandpa Bob - Livin' the Good Life
Feb. 16th, 2010
12:08 pm - The Remarkable Transformation of Grandpa Bob
As many of you know, my dad, "Grandpa Bob" lives with us for part of each year. In the summer, he goes to live with his niece in Idaho where the weather is appealing to him, then he spends a month or so in Oregon with my brother, and the rest of the time he's with us. This is the way he likes it, because he has never wanted to stay in one place for very long. He's definitely a gypsy-type. Anyway, he apparently had some kind of a stroke when he was living in his favorite place, Colorado, a few years back, so he came to live with us. I noticed his memory was very bad. He also walked very slowly and unsteadily. If he turned too fast, he would fall down. But the main difference with him was that he had lost his enthusiasm for life. That was disturbing to us all, because my dad was always interested in EVERYTHING. He was a walking encyclopedia. He was usually the life of every party. People loved talking to him because he knew something about whatever their main interests were and could carry on a stimulating conversation with them.
Then, my dad had all his teeth pulled about 10 years ago and got dentures. But, he hated them! He wore them less and less until he finally refused to wear them at all. This made him change his diet drastically. He used to be an enthusiatic raw food guy. Suddenly, he stopped eating raw foods, and started drinking large quantities of milk and chocolate milk. Comfort food, to be sure, but not a healthy diet.
When he arrived here last November he had developed a sharp pain in his abdomen. He told me he needed to see a doctor. (I knew it was bad, because he never admits to pain and he avoids doctors.) I won't go into the details of his diagnosis, but it was a blessing in disguise because it caused him to make some big changes. He did not understand or remember what the doc told him, but I did. I went home and started researching. I explained to him what I learned and what he might do to help himself dietarily and that he needed to start exercising. He didn't seem enthused, but he was willing to go along with the program I proposed. I took full control of his diet. No more milk or chocolate milk. We bought a juicer and put him on a diet that was heavy on vegetables and nutritious soups. The goal was a 70% vegetable diet daily. (We couldn't do it without the Champion juicer!) I ordered him supplements to address his conditions. I suggested that he walk out our road to the mailbox every day (a long walk for him).
That was a couple of months ago, and I have been witnessing a steady transformation in my dad. Every day I notice a new change. He walks faster. He has good color. He thinks of small projects to do around the yard and does them. He can quickly buckle his seatbelt now which had previously been a struggle for him. Just yesterday we were driving someplace and when we got there he had already unbuckled his seatbelt and was opening the car door before I was at a complete stop! This is exactly how he used to be. Very speedy. He eats faster and with gusto. He's listening to health shows on the radio and telling me about them. He told me the other day that he heard a doctor/nutritionist say to do all the things that I have already been doing with him. I told him, "Yeah, Dad, I've been doing my homework!" He looked pleased.
The main difference I notice, though, is that he is more alert and enthusiastic. He was developing into a sweet, very slow, passive, elderly man. Lately he's been positively fiesty! I've been watching in wonderment as I see his old self gradually returning. It's been really great to see him enjoying life more fully. I know he is happier too. And though I have no illusions of a full recovery at his age, I'm tickled with any improvements we can get! We'd like his last years to be healthy, happy ones.