I’ve been away from this source of therapy for far too long…but Mark mentioned to me last night that maybe I’d feel better if I wrote down my thoughts. I think he’s right. (Don’t tell him…let it be a surprise.)
For those that may not follow me on Facebook, or who may not know me in real life, I’ll fill you in: about 9 days ago or so my Dad was taken to the hospital via ambulance. That’s nothing new in my Dad’s life. He’s an old hat when it comes to hospitals, ER’s, doctors, etc. Except this time was different.
We don’t really know what all happened. We’re not sure if Dad had a stroke, a bad fall, a bad infection…and I guess it doesn’t really matter, because it doesn’t change with what we’re left with today. And that’s the shell of the man my Dad was last week.
We do know a few things: he had sepsis (to the point that the doctor told us frankly that only 50% come back from), he had a bladder infection, his gallbladder took a dump on him and his kidneys were in trouble. Let’s add to that Stage IV Congestive Heart Failure, COPD, GERD and a host of other things…and let’s just say that Dad was a hot mess.
Somehow, someway – he made it through. Or at least, his body did. The man that doctors warned at the age of 50 that he wouldn’t live to see 52…well, he’s now 77 and he’s still beating the odds. At least, on the outside.
But right now, we’re dealing with a new normal. My Dad can’t walk much on his own. He needs oxygen almost 24/7. And he doesn’t always know what’s going on. And he gets very angry and confused.
Last night he told me to not go home through Ripon…because traffic may be bad. For those that may not know, Ripon is in Wisconsin. We haven’t lived there for more than 40 years. But he was there last night.
He was also angry with the nurse and I because his chair “wasn’t spliced properly! The damn alarm is gonna blow this whole place wide open!” We looked at each other and tried to assure him that it would all be taken care of – the alarm wouldn’t go off unless he fell. He still grumbled and swore that he was rewiring the damn chair. (To which, I had to warn the next nurse not to give my dad a scissors or finger nail clipper or anything that may be tool-like…because he actually does know how to re-wire things. And I’m most certain the next time they looked in on him, they’d have a huge surprise on their hands. Kinda funny in this whole mess.)
For those that may visit, or have visited, and all of those praying, I can not say thank you enough. You have all been amazing. Sometimes he’s awake and alert and although maybe a little hard to understand, he attempts to talk…and sometimes he’s not.
By the grace of God, Dad is healthy enough to be discharged from the hospital. But unfortunately, we cannot take care of him at home. And there is where the problem lies…
and I’m broken.
We have tried to explain to my Dad that rehab is the only place where he is safe. And that once he gets some strength back, he can come home. But he’s adamant that he won’t go. And the hospital told me today that they cannot force him to go. Which places it solely in our laps.
I can’t even begin to describe what this does to my family. Or how the dynamics play out. Just know that the last few days have been difficult at best. For nine days I have sat at a hospital, doing what I can, praying for answers, talking, researching, holding a hand, rubbing a back, massaging lotion on skin stretched too taught, deciphering, translating, communicating…and yet…
My Dad is angry with me. He doesn’t want to talk to me. He hung up on me earlier when he tried calling my mom, but she couldn’t understand him. He’s frustrated. And although I know he doesn’t mean it, it hurts when he says those things. Although we have been there since 9 this morning, he accused us of not having stopped to see him today. He said I don’t care.
I know he doesn’t know what he’s saying sometimes…but still. This is my Dad. And I’m not alone in this. My siblings and my mom have all had to go through this together. But I’ve always been the one that “takes care of things.” Like paperwork, medical records, treatment plans, etc.
Everything that my Dad never wanted to go through…it’s all happening right now. And I cannot do what he wants me to do. I need to protect him. And my Mom. And it breaks my heart.
Even though you will probably never read this, Dad, please know that I love you. Through it all, I have always loved you. And above all else, I just pray that you find peace and relief from your pain. You’ve worked so hard…and you have earned your rest. I just don’t want you to hurt any more.
That is my Christmas wish.