…and the Other Shoe Drops

I was awakened this morning by a phone call from my mother. "I've fallen." With those words, my day changed drastically. I now have two parents in the hospital. My mom has cracked a rib and punctured her lung, collapsing part of it. No change in Dad. One on ninth floor, one on first… I'm getting to know the hospital pretty intimately. More than I ever wanted to.

I also got a phone call as I was getting ready to race for the hospital. My boss called to tell me a co-worker committed suicide. Yesterday. I am so saddened and upset by this. We worked closely together and he was a really nice guy. He had four kids, ages 16 to kindergarten. My husband and I also knew his family and his mother. I guess his wife moved out last week, but they were in counseling and I have no idea what happened yesterday to trigger it (no pun intended). I'm angry that he did it on Christmas – forever to be remembered by his loved ones as the day he did this.

It can all stop any time now. I'm getting my fill…

Counting my blessings that my parents don't still live in Arkansas and I still get to come home to my loving family every night…. and that all my children and their families are safe and sound.  Thanking all of you who have commented and are keeping good thoughts for my family. I haven't been able to thank you individually so hope this will do. I appreciate all of you. 

Christmas Eve

Here's hoping you all have a good Christmas!

Sounds like we aren't the only ones who have seen a whole bunch of lousy weather. It is winter, I know, but did it have to be this bad this winter? Guess we don't have much say in it.

Dad still has not regained conciousness. They put in a trachostomy (sp?) tube in his neck a few days ago and also put a feeding plug into his stomach, so they were able to take the feeding tube out of his nose and the ventilator tubes out of his mouth and throat. The past couple of days they've been 'weaning' him off the ventilator. They keep some air flow going, but it is very little – just enough pressure so he doesn't have to work as hard to take a breath. Mostly he is breathing on his own, however. That's the good news. The bad news is, no sign of improvement. My mother keeps grasping at straws and gets her hopes up everytime he barely opens his eyes as they are moving him around, but the doctor still seems to think that is reflex. They did a new CAT scan yesterday with the newest neurosurgeon (they are on a rotation basis at this hospital and we're on our third guy)… he says there has been no change.

A few days ago they also started physical therapy with him, so that's also good. Keep him moving around. They did some tests and right now the only things he responds to (smell, sound, touch, pain)… is pain. Better than nothing, but not great. They've also had him on antibiotics for about four days but he still seems to be spiking fevers, even though they can't really find any infection. Say it just may be his "wiring" all screwed up.

I'm trying to stay optimistic, but isn't easy… especially if I have to be the voice of reason.

The weather has kept me home off an on. Is kind of lousy this morning, but am going to try and go down tonight. My mother-in-law is having her normal Christmas Eve plans tonight, then tomorrow a  couple of my kids are coming for Christmas dinner. Friday night the rest of them are coming for a belated gift -opening and pizza for all the kids who had to go somewhere else on Christmas. I'm hoping the weather allows them all to make it. I realize it could be so much worse – could be one of those people stranded in an airport right now. Ugh.

Didn't want to bum you all out… just keeping you up to date. On a last, happier note. I got a package in the mail night before last. I had just ended a particularily frustrating day with my mother (more later on that) and got home to see this package on the front bench. I looked at the return address, as I do, and saw it was from my friend in Northern California… the pie man. Well, seeing as I had already gotten my pie I couldn't imagine what he was sending. Opening it, I laughed  – first at the "man-wrapping". Wrapping paper taped together with packing tape. I know, I know, it wasn't duct tape, still… it is obvious to any woman that THAT was a man-wrap.  Opening it, I found to my glee a World of Warcraft stuffed talking murloc!! Most of you don't know what that is, but for any WoW person out there, you know. I would link, but am too lazy. You can google it if you want to know. They are creatures that in the game are troublemakers and in my case, kill my character. A lot. We joke on the game that if anything goes wrong in the real world, it must be the murlocs! It made my day. I now have my own personal murloc to torment when things go wrong. What a thoughtful… and fun…. gift. One I will treasure for the laugh it brought on that gloomy day.

On that note, I once again wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope you and yours are warm, safe, in good health, and happy!

Time Passing

Time is getting away from me in more ways than one. I'm sorry I haven't posted… I think you'll understand.

A week ago yesterday, my dad slipped and fell in their garage and hit his head on the cement floor. He was briefly knocked unconcious, but woke right away and as usual, refused to let my mom help him up. She called for an ambulance while he was out so they came and helped get him in the house but he again refused to go to the doctor. No surprise.

She said he ate lunch then, seemed okay, but as the day went on she caught him staring into space and eventually he got less and less lucid. She called the ambulance back, but by the time they got to the house he was unconcious. We got the call at 9:30 p.m. that she was in the emergency room and they were going to perform emergency brain surgery on him to relieve pressure caused by bleeding in his brain. He'd been on blood thinner and that complicated things and made his fall worse.

We drove down there as quickly as we could (about an hour away) and met mom and found out they'd be taking him into surgery about 11:30 – and that it was a 4-5 hour procedure. They'd warned mom that the prognosis wasn't good, but you need to take the chance. I found out later that when they brought him in one of his pupils was dialated which isn't a good sign – means there was pressure on the brain stem and that there will most likely be permanent damage. They just can't say how much. If he will be paralyzed, a vegetable, or what. They said there was a chance he could wake up after 36 hours, or because he is an older man (77) he may not wake for a week or more.

Surgery went fine. He's been on a ventilator ever since and has yet to wake. They put a feeding tube down his nose on the second day and he's been having fevers that keep going up and down – they're not sure what that is, if he has a touch of pneumonia or what. They've done some cultures to find out and started him on antibiotics a couple of days ago. He was scheduled to have a tracheotomoy (sp?) put in his throat on Wednesday, but that was before they started antibotics and they decided to wait until today (friday) to put it in along with a plug in his stomach for feeding. That way they can get rid of the nose tube and the tube in his mouth and upper throat which will make it a bit more comfortable for him. Also, they started some physcial therapy on Wednesday as well. Moving the life support to the neck will make physical therapy easier.

We've had cardiologists coming in as well because his pulse keeps fluctuating so badly. They think he needs a pacemaker, but we're not going there yet. The blood pressure has been regulated and they never did get the results of the parkinsons test – they were to meet with that doctor next month! Also, of course, they've been trying to thicken up his blood ever since the accident, too, which the neurologist wants and the cardiologist does not. Is nuts.

We got their puppy boarded at their vet the first day and their neighbors have been cleaning off their driveway and sidewalks.

I had a hard time getting mom to go home after the first day. We were at the hospital then until almost 4:30 to see his surgery complete and got him settled into the ICU. We then drove mom home (she lives right there in town, about a 15 min drive) and we headed home, exhausted. Almost home we got a call from the hospital. Dad's blood pressure had dropped dramatically and they called us back. After than I couldn't get her to leave, but at least got her to eat. It is very cold in the hospital rooms and because of his fever they'd even put a fan on him at various times that made it even chillier there. She spent the first night then with him and froze… not getting much sleep, so I got her to go home the nights since then.

I've been getting her to eat and go home to sleep, and making sure she takes her medicine. She has a cold and I keep telling her if she doesn't take care of herself there is only one of me and I can't be in two rooms at once.

I've been keeping extended family informed on a daily basis about what is going on and should have told you all sooner, but just couldn't seem to find the time. Yesterday we got a bad ice storm, then about 8" of snow on top, so I told mom to pack a bag and plan on staying there last night and I stayed home – and am home today. All the nurses and doctors have been very nice, but they can't do anything to change the situation… we just won't know anything until he wakes up. He has stimulus to pain, but that's all and my mom keeps clinging to the fact he'll grasp her hand – but the doctor has told her that is just a reflex and not to put too much stock in it. If they can tell him to release her hand and he does that, then he's getting somewhere.

On top of everything else, yesterday was my birthday. Oh, well… if there is any kind of positive thought I can have about this it is that he didn't die on my birthday – I seriously was dreading that possibility.

So, now you know what's been going on. Keep a good thought, please. It is one of those situations where I love my dad, but I really don't like my dad. As an only child I know there is a long road ahead for all of us – no matter what the outcome. Thank god my parents don't live in Arkansas anymore. That's one saving grace.

No Christmas cards this year (again)… not putting up the tree. I did put a few things out just to make the house a bit more festive, but it's going to be a pretty quiet Christmas, most of the kids won't be coming until the Friday night after Christmas as they were all to our house for Thanksgiving and I have to share them. Is okay. I may be at the hospital at least part of the day. Just taking it a day at a time right now. If I don't get back to say it, hope you and yours have a good Christmas and a blessed New Year.