Terry Garey

First post: Sep 27, 2019 Latest post: May 19, 2023
Terry is in long-term memory care at Yorkshire of Edina. She appreciates visitors, but doesn't speak clearly enough for phone calls. You can send cards or packages to the address below. 

Terry Garey
Yorkshire of Edina
7141 York Ave. S., Room 421
Edina, MN 55435

Denny died peacefully on April 15, 2023 from acute leukemia while in home hospice.
Denny's memorial board: https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/xRExNJQo/dennylien
Denny's obituary: https://cremationsocietyofmn.com/tribute/details/74280/Dennis-Lien/obituary.html#tribute-start


January 20, 2023: Both Terry and Denny were in the hospital. Terry was transferred to long-term memory care at Yorkshire of Edina. Denny was diagnosed with terminal cancer (first kidney, then leukemia) and was released to home hospice. 


March 15, 2022: Inexplicably, Terry suddenly didn't have the strength to move herself in and out of the wheelchair. So she was taken back to Abbott-Northwestern. It was never clear what was wrong. This time Walker declined to take her back (they felt they had done as much as they could). So on April 2, 2022, Terry was transferred to North Ridge Care in New Hope (a northern suburb of Minneapolis; address: 8611 55th Avenue North, New Hope, MN 55428). It was farther for Denny to drive, but turned out to be a pleasant facility in many ways. Despite being uncooperative about PT/OT exercises sometimes, Terry managed to regain strength and was released to home on June 23. 2022.


January 13, 2022: Terry was unable to rise from the wheelchair. It took two EMC techs and three firemen to get her up out of the wheelchair and transferred into a device that could get her down the steps and into the ambulance, Terry screaming in pain as they lifted/moved her. She was taken to Abbott Northwestern. On January 18 she was transferred to Walker Methodist. Unfortunately, she didn't make as much progress at Walker as she had in the past. On March 9 she was released from there to home, but less than a week later had another episode. 


November 14, 2021: Terry was having more frequent delusional episodes where she didn't recognize Denny and thought he was an intruder who meant harm.  She tried to leave the house to get away and was screaming for help. This time she couldn't be calmed down, so Denny finally had to call 911. They took her to Abbott Northwestern for evaluation. They didn't find an obvious cause like a UTI, but did find some infected sores on her feet that need treatment. On November 17 she was transferred to a memory care unit in a long-term care facility, The Cedars in St. Louis Park (a terrible facility, not recommended!).  On December 21 she was released to home.


May 29, 2020: Terry is home!


May 17, 2020: Terry was scheduled to come home on May 4. Unfortunately, on April 21, she fell while getting out of bed in the middle of the night and broke her hip. She has now had a partial hip replacement and is well on the road to recovery, though the incident has set her back a bit re her memory issues (why she's there, what's happening). She is now scheduled to come home towards the end of May.


January 11, 2020: The Story, as told by Denny. A summary of events

During the summer of 2019, Terry started being lethargic, spending most of the day lying down, reading and petting cats, eating almost nothing (mostly yogurt and saltine crackers), drinking the usual amount of (watered) wine, and cancelling a couple of medical appointments because (she said) she had quarreled with her doctor. I suspect she also was missing some of her daily prescription meds and was failing to monitor her blood sugar, which (if so) I didn't realize until later.

This included being too tired to interact with visiting friends, and by mid-September had progressed suddenly to being unable to stand up and walk unless I helped her. A week or so later, she couldn't do so even with my help. (We worked, not very successfully, with adult diapers; I also rented a wheelchair but it's not practical in our house, and even if it were, I couldn't get her into and out of it. Terry also twice fell out of bed, trying to get up, and I had to call 911 for firemen to get her back into bed.)

On 21 September, urged on email by her brother, I finally gave up and called for an ambulance to take her to the local hospital (Abbott-Northwestern, about six blocks north of our house). She was diagnosed with a "massive bladder infection" and (a bit later) with a bleeding ulcer, and staff there supposedly combatted both, so that a few days later (24 September) she was transferred to the Walker Methodist Medical Center for rehab.

But after a few days at Walker, she regressed (notably in no longer being able to speak understandably) and was sent back to Abbott (28 September) for further treatment, including several days in intensive care. On 12 October, she was sent back to Walker; by this time she had a feeding tube inserted through her nose (for nutrition and medicine).

For most of the next month at Walker, she was at first mostly a comatose lump in the bed, staring at the ceiling, taking meds and food via feeding tube, with self and friends grasping at any small improvement (facial expressions, an understandable word) as a sign of progress. Slowly she got better (in spite of further setbacks including full-body spasms and constant hand trembling, both of which eventually went away).

On 26 October, she pulled the feeding tube out of her nose; she was sent back to the hospital for re-installment, but pulled the next two installments out as well.

On 27 October, staff opinion seemed to be that, since the nasal tube no longer worked, she would have to have a tube surgically implanted into her stomach. I argued that she had been displaying progress on many fronts, and that she should have a chance to see if she could start eating and taking medicine by mouth again.

For the next day, she had no meds or food. On 28 October, Nurse Practitioner Patty S.; speech therapist Kathryn (also the "swallowing expert") and I gathered in Terry's room, where Kathryn gave her ten small bites of applesauce. All of which Terry swallowed without incident.

On 29 October, a conference with the above plus Walker medical honcho Doctor Duncan resulted in decision to try to move Terry over to eating and taking meds by mouth, and also to living in the wheelchair most of the day (including all mealtimes), way up from the hour or so a day she'd been logging.

At first, Terry needed specially chopped-up food, and Kathryn or I fed her. After a while, she began feeding herself, using utensils, and she began routinely spending many hours and then most of the day in the wheelchair.

Along the way, there were moments when it appeared that the physical/occupational therapists would have to stop working with her for a while because she "wasn't making enough progress to justify the expense." The most serious threat started on 27 November when she came down with persistent cold/flu symptoms which pretty much stopped all progress for over two weeks (she spent most of her time either dozing or coughing, largely for that time uncooperative and unresponsive), but she rose to the occasion at the critical moment with the p/o therapists and managed to convince them to continue. Kathryn did stop working with her for one month for the same reason, but has since resumed and is now impressed.

In the past three or four weeks, Terry has made amazing progress. She has transitioned from needing to be hoisted out of bed into the wheelchair to using an EZ-stand machine, and it looks like she may soon be able to transfer to the wheelchair under her own power. She has managed to stand for minutes at a time and take steps using the parallel bars. She can speak clearly and fluently, is taking interest in the world and activities, and is displaying her very Terryish personality. James, one of the aides who saw Terry two-plus months ago as an inarticulate comatose lump on the bed staring at the ceiling, and who now interacts with her as a funny and snarky lady (with, admittedly, some memory issues) who makes all of the aides laugh and cheer her on (even if she does get to be a problem on sleepless nights) has twice come up to me to volunteer that he thinks he is seeing "A miracle." I think he's right.


O.K., that went on WAY longer than I expected. But aside from catching up newcomers on this site, it does represent "The Story" -- which is what I try to tell Terry (minus or plus an extra detail here or there) whenever she seems able to deal with the "what am I doing here?" question.