To my wonderful readers and authors,
I’m sure I’ve missed tour stops and promised reviews in the last week. My dad is in the hospital an hour away and I simply have not had the time to post anything. Right now, I’m getting kiddos ready for school and stealing a minute to update you.
Dad had scheduled surgery for a quintuple bypass on Nov 12. Every hour they called and said that he was doing wonderfully. The second hour was the only time anything was mentioned that was “off”. They had to give him some blood because he was bleeding a little. That wasn’t really unexpected. He is on a lot of meds, including Plavix and aspirin; both blood thinners. Otherwise, everything was “wonderful”–a key term at Winchester Medical Center that I should’ve known by now did not have the same meaning as if I’d say “wonderful”.
So, when they brought him out of surgery, the lead nurse came to me and my Aunt, who had waited with me (his sister-in-law), and said that everything had gone wonderfully and they had only done 4 bypasses instead of the original 5. Told us we could see him in about an hour as he was still waking up. We were so happy to hear that it’d gone so well. Too long of a back story to tell, but he’s really had a rough time since his carotid surgery in July, which in turn caused a heart attack. Then the dr came out a while later and said basically the same, that everything had gone wonderfully and we could see him in a short while.
When our hour was up, we asked to go back to see him and I was prepared for him to look much worse. They had told me he would be swollen and kind of a greyish color. But he looked better than that and I was a bit relieved. He was trying to wake up and fighting the ventilator. So rather than agitate him, we went back out to the waiting room. We checked on him several times throughout the evening before we went home.
I have an hour’s drive each way, so I called the next morning after I got the kids to school for an update. Once again, he was doing wonderfully and they had extubated him earlier. He was alert but tired. I waited until after school to go down because the kids had been so worried and really wanted to see their Grandad. When we got there, however, my sister was hysterical. “He’s not right. There’s something wrong.” That was all she would say. I tried to reassure her that it was most likely the meds–I’d seen it before with clients (I do in-home elder care) and all the time, she was swearing to me that it was definitely not. She said they were worried he’d had a stroke, so they called the heart surgeon in. Since he was in CCU, we had to buzz in and request a visit with him, so I went to see him.
It was horrible to say the least. My dad was NOT wonderful. He was pretty damn close to catatonic. I asked them what was wrong with him. They said it was the meds. He knew who we were, but that’s where it stopped. He couldn’t focus on me. He didn’t know where he was. He kept staring into space with his mouth hanging open. Every few minutes he’d say “Uh-Huh” or “I guess so”…to no one. I asked every nurse that came in if it was normal for him to be this way. Yes, they said. Every. Damn. One. Once, he told me to put the kids to bed so he could get some rest. I assured him they were in bed and he could go to sleep. The heart surgeon came in and explained that since his kidneys were so bad, he would hold on to the meds a bit longer than normal and he would be fine. (Although he hadn’t had anything since 8:30am and it was just about 7pm.) That he was very pleased how he was doing so far. They asked me to step out so that they could put him back to bed (they had him sitting up in the chair). I went back to the waiting room with an update for my sister. About 20 minutes later, I asked for re-entry. They said he was asleep and damn near denied that I go back. I went ballistic. I was not leaving there without seeing my father once again after how bad he was. They finally came out and I just walked past to see him. The nurses are extreme bitches. No heart left in them, I swear. I visited with him a few minutes but let him sleep.
I went home holding to the hopes that this time they knew what they were talking about.
Next morning, I called for an update. I was told that they were sending him shortly for a CT scan because when he woke up that morning, they realized he couldn’t see and couldn’t move his left arm. They feared a stroke. I waited til 1:00 and couldn’t wait anymore. I picked the kids up from school and went to the hospital.
When we got there, they gave me the news. He had indeed had “several” strokes. He thought it was 1992. He had lost mobility of his left arm. He was blind. I bawled. My dad would just give up. I knew it. He is not someone who can be immobile AND blind. He cried when I went to see him. You want something heart-wrenching? Put your father…the toughest man you’ve ever known…in a bed and watch him cry because not only can he not do what he once did, he is also blind.
He knew my voice. That’s about all. I was afraid to let the kids see him. Afraid since he didn’t have grandkids in 1992, he wouldn’t remember them. But they were asking questions and I CANNOT lie to my kids…Keep things from them? Yes. Sugar coat them? Absolutely. But flat out lie? Nope.
So I explained…”Grandad had several strokes…”, I began. Gwen burst “So Grandad died??” Ugh. I thought a 79 year old man crying ripped my heart out. I explained that no, he was alive. He was blind and was unsure of a lot of things but he was still with us. They didn’t know if they could see him. I told them that was okay. After awhile, though, Gwen did want to see him. So I took her back. At first, when she spoke to him, he thought she was his neighbor…but I said “No, Daddy. That’s Gwen.” I was so scared…and so was she. She cried then. But then he said “OH!! My Gwenny!!” So I knew it was okay. I knew he knew his grandkids. He told her he loved her and she told him back.
We went back out to the waiting room for awhile and Tristan decided he couldn’t NOT see his grandad…So I took him back. I said “Daddy, I have someone else to see you” and told Tristan to say something. He said “Hey, Grandad”. Dad said “Oh, my buddy!” Yep. He was going to be okay. He KNEW his grandkids. His world. We visited a few more times before heading home.
We spent the night crying and comforting each other.
Saturday morning, I called for an update. They were moving him out of CCU and onto the regular floor. His sight was back. Boy, did I bawl like a baby. I was in the yard, walking the dog…bawling my eyes out. I came in and announced it to the kids. Tears of joy all around. I called everyone I could think of. “My daddy can see”…They are convinced he will make a complete recovery.
When we went to see him, he was on a soft diet because of difficulty swallowing both because of the breathing tube and the strokes. He was in a lot of pain. Couldn’t move his left arm much (though he was moving it) and could barely get his right arm above his chest. Every time his nose itched, he’d bend his head down to meet his hand. He cried a lot. Was so frustrated because “I can’t do a damn thing, Emma”. I assured him, he was HERE and he could see better than yesterday. I fed him, I helped him blow his nose. I helped him get his drink. We spent nearly the whole day. Because we could. By the time we left that evening, he could pick up his drink by himself and reach his own nose to scratch without bending his head down.
Sunday morning, I had to stop at his house to check on things and my cousin and his wife were at his house…They had built him new steps so it would be easier for him to get into the house when he came home. I cried. I cannot express to you what that meant to me. When we got to the hospital, there was even more good news. He could see better, AND he ate his lunch…by himself. His left arm will now raise up to his meal tray. There is still some swelling in both hands. They got him up out of bed and into a chair, thought it was a slow, painful process. They removed his catheter.
Monday, I got a call bright and early from the neurologist. He assures me that dad will be good as new, though he will need some PT/OT. He said that if he had higher education, it would come back even faster…I believe my dad only went to school to 8th or 9th grade…But he’s smart. Smarter than most…
A few hours later, I got a call from the discharge nurse and she said they’d be releasing him in the next day or two and taking him to rehab. We discussed where to take him and decided the ultimate goal was to get him home and better, in the quickest safest possible way. I waited for the kids to get out of school and we headed to the hospital. BOTH hands are working well. He is still confused on the year. But he says “the year doesn’t matter anyway”…He’s giving stupid nurses hell. He’s eating solid foods. He’s slowly but surely getting back to where he was.
He will be going to rehab later today. SO…If you have missed me, because I know I’ve missed stops…I’ve missed precious reviews for wonderful authors…Please know it’s not because I’m lost…or shirking my duties. I’m doing the most important duty. Taking care of my daddy. Who has taken care of me for 37 years. I will be back to taking care of the blog as time allows. But right now, I just don’t have it.
Please bear with me. I’m enjoying our miracle. And taking care of my daddy.
~Emma~*The books in my reviews have all been bought by me or received for free in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, my opinions are my own. Post may contain affiliate links. Clicking costs you nothing, but helps to maintain Readaholic\’s Reviews, including but not limited to book purchase and website maintenance. Thank you for your support!