Heading home

Apologies for not updating more frequently.

Dad was discharged from Virtua Hospital on Jan 3rd, and transferred to an inpatient rehab center, Powerback of Moorstown.  He was transferred to regain strength, mobility, balance and motor skills.  He was doing Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, each 5x per week.

Good news is that he’s now ready to check out of Powerback.  He’s being discharged tomorrow (1/16) and headed back home.  He’ll continue his therapy at home.  Therapists and nurses visit at home starting on Wednesday.  He’s got several follow up appointments with the various doctors who have seen him over the past few weeks.   He’s not permitted to drive for at least 6 months, so there will be someone staying with him for a few weeks.

Thanks to all who asked about Dad and prayed for his health.  He still has a lot of work to do and isn’t totally out of the woods yet.


Relatively better and out of ICU

Since being removed from the Keppra, Dad’s been doing better, relatively. I had a phone conversation with him while he was sitting and watching the Mummers Parade yesterday. A few days ago, he could only mumble, not really even open his eyes, failed a swallow test, was not allowed to get out of bed. Now, he’s sitting in a chair, chatting it up with the nurses, eating lunch, and brushing his teeth.

It’s clear his brain has been affected. Not sure if it was the fall, his strokes and TIA’s, or the seizure, but probably a cumulative effect of all of them. He seems to be able to recall info from the past, but is having difficulty with the present. For example, he thought he was a Carolyn’s house instead of the hospital. He said he had two desserts, but he only had one. Said TV went out for a few minutes, but it didn’t. He’s easily confused.

Dad was well enough to be transferred out of ICU last night. He’s still in the hospital, and will likely be transferred to an inpatient rehab facility in the next few days.

He is well enough for visitors now, and it would actually be good for him. If you’d like to visit, let Carolyn or me know, just to make sure he hasn’t been transferred to rehab. Here’s to a Happy New Year!

Phil – New Years Eve update

Dad had a much better day today than the past three days.  He was even able to get out of the bed and sit in a chair, and even had a good phone conversation with him.  He knew today is New Year’s Eve and that tomorrow is the Mummers Parade, on Channel 17.   I asked if he was going to go out and be a party animal tonight, and he said that he didn’t really ever go out on New Year’s Eve night.  Much more coherent and able to converse today, unlike past few days where he was really out of it.  He’s even reading the newspaper.

The doctor said the EEG showed diffuse slowing, which means Thursday’s incident was a seizure.  He was being treated with Keppra for anti-seizure and Haldol as a relaxant and anti-anxiety med.  He may have had an adverse reaction to Keppra, so they switched over to Vimpat.  He’s still easily confused at times, but it’ll take a while to get the Keppra fully out of his system.

Taking it day by day, still in the ICU, to monitor, and make sure he’s stable and doesn’t have another seizure.

Again, asking for no visitors please.   We’d be happy to pass along any emails or cards.  Send any cards to Carolyn’s address and she’ll take over to him.

Happy New Year!


Update on Phil

Here’s a quick update on my Dad, Phil. We’ll use this blog to post updates so we can get the word out on his current status.

My Dad was leaving dinner at Carolyn’s house on Christmas night. As he got into the car, he fell and hit his head on the ground, and had a few cuts on his face and scratches on his glasses. It seemed like he got knocked over by the wind or slipped. Around his eye didn’t looks so great, and since he did hit his head, Carolyn and John took him to the ER to get checked.  Turns out the reason for the fall was a small stroke.

They admitted him and he was originally being kept for evaluation and observation. On Thurs night, he became extremely agitated and somewhat violent (Dad?!), needed to be restrained, and then sedated. More tests and doctors concluded the cause of agitation was a seizure, possibly hospital psychosis. Was transferred to ICU and is still there now. EEG’s, CT scans, blood tests, etc. He’s very groggy, and easily falls into sleep. Not totally coherent, but is passing many neurological tests and vitals are somewhat ok. Difficulty swallowing. Was slurring his words yesterday, but a bit better this morning. He’s not doing well.

We’re hoping he’ll be well enough to be discharged to an inpatient rehab facility soon. Asking for no visitors right now, please. When it’s ok for visitors, we’ll let everyone know. Will post more as conditions change.

NOTE: you can subscribe to receive updates via email on the right side….

2015 Florence M. Grous Scholarship

If you are donating in memory of Eileen Ridgway, thank you.  We love and miss our treasured Aunt Eileen!

Donations – make checks payable to “Rutgers University Foundation” and write “School of Nursing-Florence Grous Memorial Scholarship Fund” in the memo line.

Mail donations to:

    Marianne Wiatroski, BSN, RN
    Director of Development, School of Nursing
    Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
    180 University Avenue, Room 338
    Newark, NJ 07102

Donations are tax deductible and you will receive a donation receipt.

To give online, be sure to specify the scholarship – http://support.rutgers.edu


I’m very pleased to announce that tomorrow, May 15, 2015, we will be presenting the Florence M. Grous Scholarship to the 2nd annual recipient at a small ceremony on the Rutgers campus in Newark, NJ. The Scholarship is awarded annually to a Rutgers nursing student nearing the end of their studies.

Here’s a Rutgers School of Nursing Facebook posting of the 2014 recipient, Sara Weissblum, BSN, RN, and photos from last year:

2014 Recipient 2014 Recipient

If you are a Rutgers Nursing student, here’s details on how to apply – http://nursing.rutgers.edu/scholarships.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the scholarship fund, please see this page for details – http://blog.grousfamily.org/florence-grous-memorial-scholarship-fund

Merry Christmas!

Hey Macareindeer


Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree


Elf Snowball Fight (The Parents vs The Kids)


Winter Wonderland


Twinkle All the Way


Sled Race


Elf Fun Factory


Santas Twerk Shop


All About That Bass


Award Ceremony on May 16th

I’m pleased to announce that the Florence M. Grous Scholarship Memorial Fund has raised $8,220 to date.  Amazing!  Thank you to everyone who has donated!  The Scholarship will be awarded annually to a Rutgers nursing student nearing the end of their studies.

I’m also very pleased to announce that on Friday, May 16, 2014, the very first Scholar will be presented with this year’s award.  There will be a small ceremony with the the Scholar, the Dean of Nursing, Nursing Administration and Staff, and our entire family.  Dad, Carolyn, Alice, Jerry and I are all looking forward to attending at the Rutgers campus in Newark NJ.  We will meet the Scholar and have a tour of the nursing facility.

This scholarship will be awarded annually.  If you are looking for a great place to donate your tax refund, please consider adding to the amount raised so far so that we can keep the scholarship going for many years to come.  If available, matching funds really help too.  We hope to raise at least $50,000 over time in order to have it endowed.  Details on how to donate are in a prior posting, or contact one of us.

“Golden Coins”

“Golden Coins”

December 5, 2013
by Philip P. Grous

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Time to start cashing in some of those Golden Coins from my memory bank.  I watched a beautiful show tonight, “The Sound of Music Live!”, a live 3 hour performance on NBC.  I was really impressed by the great production and performances.  I know Mom would have loved it too.  As I watched and enjoyed the show, I realized that, all of the beautiful moments that we ever had, we shared them together.  It would have been great if we could have watched it together tonight.

Then I recalled what I said in “Precious Tears”.  When things get a little tough or I feel sad about her not being here, I need to recall the good times that she enjoyed.  That is what adds value to those Golden Coins.

The was so lucky (no, I don’t mean at the Casino) but she was lucky there too.  She had a very enjoyable and satisfying life [Coin].  She loved traveling around our country; both on my business trips and on vacations [Coin].  Maybe not the camping trips too much.  Day or night trips to AC and Chester, [Coin] and she didn’t even know about the Great Lottery Ticket scratch-off at her luncheon or the family Memorial trip to Harrah’s afterward in her honor.  Then there were the cruises [Coins], the trips to colleges, trips to Florida and Massachusetts [more Coins].  Vacations to the Shore and elsewhere.  They were great.  She even liked it at work where she was really the background boss according to her old boss, John Gahagan [Coin].  She was the go-to-person for soft pretzels, group lottery tickets and office pools.  She liked her co-workers and she was very good at her job [Coin].

But most of all, she enjoyed her children (and her grandchildren even more) [Coins].  A sad thing though is that she didn’t get to see how you rallied together and around me too in our very darkest hours.  She would be so proud of you. [Coins]  She did a great job.

There is so much more.  She enjoyed thirteen years of comfortable retirement, doing whatever she wanted whenever she wanted.  Friday night Bingo. [Coin]  She had many good friends and neighbors who all enjoyed each other.  Evidence of that is the large attendance at her viewing and Mass. [Coin]

Oh, and she loved a game of cards with a little money on the line.  We often played with the Guims until late at night and once she even played Pinochle with her family all the way through the night until the next morning. [Coin]  A trip to Florida was never complete without a few sessions of Contract Rummy (but not #2).  She helped start the Neighbors’ Game Group and tried to get the Senior Citizens interested in playing games at our meetings. [Coin]

So, that’s a lot of Coins that I cashed in.  I hope there are a lot more left in my Bank because I’ll probably need them in the future.  You know, it really does help ease some of those Precious Tears.

 – – –

“Precious Tears”

“Precious Tears”

November 21, 2013
by Philip P. Grous
Read during Florence’s internment ceremony on November 26, 2013

– – –

As we prepare ourselves, physically and emotionally, to take Florence to her new home, we recall that we have shed many tears over the past two months.

e were concerned about her periodic “crying” episodes when she would almost come to tears for no apparent reason while talking with someone.  There were a few excited tears of happiness when she emerged from her hip surgery with a new vigor to continue on with the rest of her life.  We cried a river of tears in Kennedy Hospital with each new piece of discouraging news from the physicians or every sign of her discomfort.  We celebrated her 76th Birthday at her bedside, but the words to the Birthday Song were particularly difficult to utter.  There were community tears when some of the dedicated nurses came into her room and cried with us.  Even Hospital administrators were touched by our closeness as a family looking out for our Mom and Wife.

There have been good times in the past too.  When we were just newlywed, we went to Strawbridge & Clothier to buy our furniture.  They weren’t exactly tears, but rather shock as we took on our first “large” debt, over $600 for the furniture.  But what a joy!  We were on our way to actually setting up house.

There were anxieties too when each of our four children were born.  So happy to have them, but would we be able to handle it?  We were excited about their futures, and our job together as parents.

The good times were repeated often when we traveled around the country and sailed on our Caribbean cruises.  She enjoyed her family gatherings, the children, our friends, and especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  She would call them on the phone, or they would call her, and she actually had long conversations with them.  She was fond of a little “gaming” too (see her frequent trips to Harrah’s in Chester or Borgata in Atlantic City).  Her favorite trip of all was to Las Vegas, where she could play all night.  And she was always looking for a good card game where she could win a few dollars.

Think of each of those tears as Golden Coins and deposit them in your Memory Bank.  Then, when you feel a little sad about Florence, cash in a few of those Golden Coins to bring back some of the precious memories.


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