Monday, December 16, 2013

To What Purpose?

Here we are, 12 days out, and my dad is still on a ventilator.  Vague promises of weaning him off, but fact is, he's still having food jammed down a tube.

Did I tell you they knocked out one of his teeth while intubating him?  His wife was very concerned, didn't know where the tooth had gone.  Feared he may have swallowed it.  Which is probably the case.

Things sort of blend together, so I don't know if I mentioned he's been moved to a long-term care facility. Step-mom doesn't think he's being "warehoused."  But then again, she thought he'd be home last weekend, too.

She wants to call today, in ten minutes, in fact, so I can "take part" in a meeting with doctors and nurses.  I have no idea what use I may be.  Considering they've got that crap-assed "VOIP"-type phone service, all cut-outs and blank spots and echos and voices cancelling each other, I get the feeling this is going to be a total wash.  What do I ask (provided they can hear me)?

Are you warehousing my father?

How many tens (or even hundreds) of thousands has 12 days of ICU already chewed through?  Have you bankrupted him yet?

Is he ever going to be able to be HIM again?

Is he going to go home in anything but a wheelchair or an urn?

If his lungs look good, his heart function is improving, and his color improved, why do you still have him sedated out of his gourd and on a vent?

What were the results of the CT scan you performed two days ago?

Really, that last one is the only one for which I can imagine getting a real answer.

He is never going to recover from this--it goes against everything he's cobbled onto that bullshit facade of his. That "I'm healthy as a horse (hack, hack, hack), I don't need to see a 'mechanic,' I'm the strong one in this marriage/family/neighborhood/town" crap.  And it is crap, and I've always recognized it as such.  But I had no idea he had a umbilical hernia so large it affected his pants size (I have one, too, but mines about the size of the end of my thumb, and I've had it for 16 years).  Apparently, NO ONE knew he was diabetic. I'd asked about it, but he always made it sound like diabetes was something that happened to sloppy fat people (like me), not to strong, healthy guys like him.

Except, it turns out, my dad is weighing in at over 250 pounds. And, while he likes to brag he's 6+ feet tall, fact is, he is not.  Closer to 5'9.  I was struck by how NOT tall he is when I saw him back in 2003.  I can't imagine he's gotten taller.

Just got off the phone.  It's sounding like the ventilator may be a "forever" thing.    It's already been 12+ days, and he's still at 20/60%.  So it's time to look at a tracheostomy.  While the doctor did say that doesn't necessarily have to be a permanent thing, fact is, he sounded like he was talking permanent.

Thankfully, my medical jargon filter is still mostly intact.  Here's a refresher.

What a mess.  Apparently, "Lungs look good" was something they said to my step-mom to reassure her that the didn't find any clots or cancer.  Fact is, his lungs look like utter trash--severe edema, and the nether regions utterly worthless, at least right now.  "Air space issues," the doctor said.  He's on Lasix, and I did ask to make sure that the Lasix is entirely for the edema and not for blood pressure problems.  It is.

Here's a little something about Lasix and pulmonary edema, if you're curious.

In the blink of an eye, huh?  Just two weeks ago, he was, in his own mind, strong as an ox.  Now his wife is having to bend his arms and legs and they're working to keep him safe from bedsores.  He hasn't been able to speak for almost 13 days.

His wife says he smiled when he heard my voice.  That's something, isn't it?

If you're still smoking, stop.  Because this is what you have to look forward to.

I don't see how he's going to survive this.


Back to a little bit of regular blogging--we bought an incredibly sad, ugly tree. It's not as hideous as the Charlie Brown trees, but it's pretty sad.  But it was cheap, and cheap is important right now.  Maybe decorations will perk it up.

Our trip to Higgins for that one, last time (they close forever December 31st) is going to be . . . miserable.  Hubby's boss wouldn't let him take an extra day (even though he's got "use or lose" leave out the backside), so we're going to have to drive for 7 hours, stay one night, hit Higgins the  next morning, then drive BACK another 7 hours.  That sounds like pure hell to me.  We'll be taking the dog and, because it's so cold in Massachusetts, we'll have to take turns going out to the car and running it to keep him warm.

Doesn't that sound fun?

Prepping for the "pre-surgical" appointment for my biopsy.  They moved the physical up by 2 weeks, not happy about that.  Gearing up for the "statins and metformin" battle.  Because doctors aren't happy if they can throw drugs at you, and the more often they can make you come in, the more money they can get from the HMO.  Do I sound jaded?  That's because I am.  I am so close to canceling this biopsy entirely.  Four physician copays plus the surgical center copay, Plus any scripts.  

Plus anything that goes wrong.

I'm scared to death that this guy's idea of a biopsy is different from mine.  Markedly different.  He wants to put me under with Versed.

Same stuff they're using to keep my dad sedated with the ventilator.

And the final bit of fun?

I think that root canal is failing.  In fact, I feel pretty confident of it.  And our insurance won't cover a "retreatment" until 12 months have passed.

So I'm likely losing that tooth.  After sinking 500 bucks into it.  Let's hope it doesn't take the other teeth around it with it when it goes.

Oh, and one last, funny thing.  I think I got "out-atheisted" at the Christmas tree lot last night.  Guy handed us our ugly tree, and I said, "Merry Christmas."  Because hey, no skin off mine and I felt pretty confident of my audience--North Carolina hills tree farm?  Guy paused for a moment, and then said, "Happy Holidays to you, too."

Hmm.  Either I miscalculated, or he's been told not to offend anyone by being non-specific.  Either way, I felt I'd been outdone.

So hey, Fancy Festivus, huh?  Snappy Saturnalia, too!  Yummy Yuletide!

Or whatever does it for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment