Missing for 28 days…but I’m still here! 28 days that are a blur and surreal. 28 days in which my brain nor body would stop long enough to focus on writing – focus is hard for me even during normal times. But between Daddy’s big adventure below, and Mama, poor Mama, two weddings and several portrait shoots along the way, a snow storm, an ice storm and five days with no power…. did all that happen in 28 days?! My mind and body scream OH YEAH IT DID. This might be one time that time flying was a good thing!
I just wanted to share an update on Daddy and where we are today. This post shares a lot and I don’t expect you to have inclination to read it, LOL, but it’s so therapeutic for me to clear my head on paper as many of you can relate to.
The day after my last post, Dad had his knee replacement. Pretty routine these days and this was the sixth new knee in our family so we’re good at it. Just note that I have all my original 1964 parts, rusty, but still working. But out of all the new knees, this one was the best! A big Hootie Hoot to Dr. Hooten, who has done four of the six knees – he is a rock star knee man – and the caretakers at ARMC were incredible to all of us. The only glitch was Daddy’s sudden burst of chest pain during recovery, scaring us all to death, adding a few gray hairs, and a few hours to recovery while waiting for a cardiologist to clear him. He finally did, got to a room that night, and all was great…for three days. Daddy was happy and when Daddy’s happy, we’re all happy- -er.
That’s where happy ends and turns into unbelievable…
MONDAY, Feb. 17: Daddy’s surgery and next three days were great. We had a routine of being with Daddy by day and spending the evenings and night with Mama. My brother, bless his soul, was in the middle of tax season, but was there too, in and out, doing anything that needed to be done, handling Daddy’s businesses, returning Daddy’s phone calls, paying bills, etc… I couldn’t do the part he does. I told him having Daddy’s cell laying on his desk at work, listening to it constant gosh awful country jamboree ring tone was a lot harder than what I was doing, LOL. And we are thankful for Margaret from Home Instead who took care of Mama while we were at the hospital.
THURSDAY: Daddy moved to rehab doing GREAT, almost felt silly going to rehab, but we knew he needed recovery away from Mama’s care. This is where the story starts to change slightly…. he was there FIVE days and had PT twice. Yes, twice. For anyone who knows me, it takes a LOT to get me upset, but this was one of those times. We could have taken him to Hampton Inn for $100/night if we wanted him to lay in bed and watch TV (both of which he hates). Even he wanted his butt kicked with PT, that’s why he went.
MONDAY, Feb. 24: Daddy had started to not feel well. It was like he was headed in the wrong direction and I just assumed it was due to laying around with no activity for 72 hours other than the occasional walks down the hall which he did on his own. He was sinking physically and emotionally, wasn’t hungry, was tired, and we just felt we had to get him home soon. We asked about the process for getting him checked out to which we were told they’d get back to us. They didn’t so yet another night passed.
TUESDAY: I commented that Daddy’s color looked pale and he told me he still didn’t feel well. He begged/demanded that I get him checked out and I made my mind up I was going to somehow. We knew he could get more PT at home or as an outpatient and I knew we could all take better care of him at home. They told us they wanted to keep him at least three or four more days for more PT and REHAB…oh wait, did you say PT and rehab…but that it was his choice. He’d already made his choice and we got him out and home by noon. While he laid down to rest, I called Dr. Hooten’s office and asked for advice on what to do since Daddy wasn’t feeling well at all and they said we should try to get Daddy in with his regular doctor or even to the ER or Urgent Care to get checked out. Being late in the day, we knew seeing his doctor would probably not happen, so I woke him up (with a ten foot pole) and told him we were going to Urgent Care. He was feeling so bad at this point that he agreed and I was shocked. I knew then he was sick and I was afraid he had the flu.
At 4:00, we were at Urgent Care where he sat in a room for 2 hours in a chair -remember, he’d just had a major surgery 8 days earlier, been in rehab for five days, and feeling like a truck hit him. During that 2 hours, Mom and I were in the lobby and she was like a caged puppy. She begged me to leave saying Daddy had his own truck and could drive (he didn’t and couldn’t). She asked the receptionist five dozen times where her husband was, where her Daddy was, where her son was… and that sweet receptionist just answered her every time. And during that 2 hours, Daddy began to turn yellow, like glow in the dark yellow.
At 6 p.m., they called us back and said something was wrong with Daddy’s blood work. His liver numbers were off the chart and we had to get him to the Emergency Room….. four hours after getting him home. I literally gasped, either from exhaustion or absolute horror at having to go to the ER, but I knew he was so much more exhausted than I was. I had chills at the thought of him sitting in that ER all night and I almost burst into tears without thinking. Thankfully, something came over me and I knew I couldn’t; he was on the verge of a breakdown. I caught my breath, found some bootstraps, and said, “Daddy, let’s just go, let’s get this done, so we can get you back home.” I got him and Mom in the car, went back in to get his paperwork, and broke down in the hall and cried. That poor nurse probably thought I was crazy, not knowing the history of my breakdown, but he let me cry. He also said he would call the ER and tell them we were on the way (I really think he told them to look for the crazy lady with the glassy eyes).
We arrived at the ER at 7:00, were taken in immediately despite the ER being full to the brim (which should have been a red flag), and FIVE hours later, Daddy was readmitted to the hospital. They could not figure out what was going on even after extensive tests and blood work. However, he got better and got PT while he was there and even without an answer, they let him leave on Thursday. Their only conclusion was that it could have been “drug induced” as in just a reaction to something, or that even his gallbladder could have been the culprit; they simply did not know. But they let us leave and all was better. Once we got home, after having heard “drug induced” Daddy was afraid to take anything… thankfully.
WEDNESDAY, March 6: I got a phone call from a pharmacy I’d never heard of, not from our area, explaining that they filled the medication Daddy took while in rehab – this was the medication he’d taken for five days while there and which we’d been sent home with for me to give him. They explained the order from the doctor was right but they had mixed it incorrectly and that they wanted him to stop taking it immediately. They had no idea he’d been rehospitalized. I got all the details but all I could think was that because he’d gotten so sick on the day he left, I was never able to give him another dose when we got home, not one. We’ve since learned that if he’d taken it just three more days, he would not be with us today. Three more days…. What if he’d have insisted that he was okay and I’d have given him the medication all that time? What would Mama have done? What would we all have done?
- I am thankful Daddy was insistent to come home;
- I am thankful he got so sick when we got home, as crazy as that sounds, that he agreed to go to Urgent Care which he normally would not have done;
- I am thankful even for the time at Urgent Care and that they saw a problem and didn’t just send him back home;
- I am thankful I did not give him that medication one single time… I could not have lived with myself;
- I’m thankful that someone was responsible enough to make the phone call admitting an error when it could have gone undiscovered… ; and
- I am thankful he’s alive and is getting better.
- I am thankful for my brother and for our family and friends.
Mama is hanging in there as best she can, in her little world which is getting smaller, and has no idea Daddy even had surgery or was gone all that time. Both times he came home it was as if he’d just gotten home from work. She changes before our eyes some days.
Thanks for listening and for all the notes of encouragement, prayers, and hugs along the way. Hopefully I’ll see you again soon!