(Wednesday, June 4, 2013)
I've spent the last three and a half days at the hospital with my father.
Those of you followed this blog know the "back story" to all of this. So I'm not going to bother with the history. I'll just tell what happened since that call came in at 4:17pm on Saturday.
While in town picking up a pizza on Saturday, I got a voicemail (for whatever reason it didn't ring through, just went straight to voicemail). I was standing inside of Pizza Hut listening to a two minute message of nothing but my father's mumbled groans, cries for help, the television in the background...
I left right away, called Troy (who I knew was almost home from dropping off Kayli), told him to get to Dad's, something had happened. Troy arrived at Dad's and called me immediately.. "call an ambulance.. he's unconscious on the floor", he said... I called 911 while driving to Glenburn like a madwoman. I called Mom and Sharla in Portland and told them to get up here. I got to the house just after Troy, and well before the ambulance.
The scene when I got there was something I'll never forget... Dad, sprawled out face down on the floor, barely clothed, immobile, injuries from a fall, mottled skin, unresponsive, lying in his own filth.. (I have no idea how long he'd been down, or when he was finally able to get to a phone).. He was in and out of consciousness. I tried to keep him calm while we waited for the ambulance, although I'm not sure if he even knew I was there. The paramedics finally came. He cried out in pain every time they tried to move him. After much ado, they were able to get him rolled into a hammock of sorts, and got him into the ambulance.They had to stabilize him before transport, his blood pressure was dangerously low, and his heart rate was in the 180's.
Off to the ER.
Side note... to our astonishment, there was no alcohol in his blood panel.
After several hours in the emergency room, they moved him to ICU late Saturday night.
And that's where he is now, three days later.
Acute liver and kidney failure. Heart damage, a likely heart attack. Pneumonia. And still the encephalopathy ("wet brain", swelling of the brain and lining, a general term for brain injury, due to years of alcohol consumption). A ridiculously high white blood count (despite antibiotics), indicating infection, which they can't seem to locate the source of. Dislocated shoulder (and who knows what else), which they will address after the critical issues (liver and kidneys). The acid and bilirubin in his body are still at toxic levels despite all the medications, antibiotics, and fluids... again, from years of consumption. He is as yellow as a dandelion.
As of Monday, the doctor gave him a mortality rate of 50/50... Said that if he had family, he would tell them to come. And so we did.
As of yesterday, his liver and kidney levels showed a HAIR of improvement. Still pneumonia. Aspirating on anything by mouth, so he now has a feeding tube.
He is immobile. He couldn't get out of the bed even if he wanted to. Painful arthritis, years of deconditioning (with this last year being especially bad).. He told the nurses that he crawls at home to get from point A to point B. The "rug burn" looking wounds on his elbows and the bruised knees are evidence to that.. That was even news to me. If I had known, I may have been even more furious than I am now.
He's sometimes lucid, and sometimes very silly, mumbling and telling stories and not making any sense. That's from the encephalopathy, not the drugs.
Now we sit and wait. Wait for every 24 hour period to pass... To see what his levels are. To see if his kidneys and liver will recover. That's the first thing. Then, IF they do, they address the heart attack. Then the pneumonia. The self-inflicted brain injury. Then the injured bones. Then the mobility issues.
Rehabilitation. Maybe nursing home. But no one knows. It's still too early to tell. He's only 62...
What IS evident is... the man who was once an active jeep enthusiast, the man who played bass guitar and sang like Hank Williams Jr, the man who mowed his lawn every week and planted in his "fairy garden", the man who fixed all my cars and lawn mowers and leaky faucets, the man my children called Dzadzu, and who called my Dawson "Hubba Bubba", the man who kept us laughing with his wit and grinding our teeth with his grumpiness... is gone. He's just.. gone.
Keep us all in your prayers (or positive thoughts, vibes, or whatever)...
Pray that my sister, the nurse and rock through it all, can continue to shoulder the medical explanations, the 20 questions we all give her.. that she can continue to bear the brunt of my anger and frustration, and bridge the gap between me and my mother, or at least make sure we don't kill each other.
Pray for Troy, that he can separate this horrible experience from one very much like what he went through with his mother and step-father. And that he can stand by me and not choke me when I am losing my shit. :)
Pray for my mother, who is probably experiencing sadness and anger (and possibly guilt) of her own right now. Who, no matter how angry I am with, has been losing sight of her dreams while living with an alcoholic husband for 40 years (my therapists words, while trying to help me understand her position).
Pray for me. That I don't kill anyone. That I can hide my crying fits from my children. That I can continue eating, sleeping, and simply maintaining, while spending these exhausting, draining days at the hospital, watching my father unravel.
Pray that Dad can survive, and somehow gain some of his self back. Pray for my father.