Sunday, July 29, 2007

Strokes & major illness suck...

Thursday was a bad day. It was a sign of how bad that my little brother and I were actually getting along. Another sign was the discussion of funeral arrangements, my fathers wishes under a boilerplate living will, and possible end games with elements of planning for the future. We had doubts Dad would make it through the night, as he lay there post-cardiac and pulmonary arrest, unsedated but thoroughly unconscious and unresponsive. That there is MRSA involved isn't exactly a source of reassurance. The gowns and gloves are a constant reminder of the seriousness of events.

Friday morning he's more coherent than he's been in weeks. All excited about his new "letter-board" that lets him spell out words and communicate (he's a very social sort under normal circumstances), conversing via letterboard with doctors, nurses, and visitors, and generally having about as much fun as you can have with a respirator stuffed down you. By the time I made it over in the afternoon, it was plain he was tired, but he was still coherent, asking me to ensure that his flatbed scanner was turned off so the scanner light wouldn't burn out in his absence.

Today was a different story. Dad was obviously exhausted, and we discovered, sedated - it seems he'd tried to extubate himself during the night according to nurses. No real communication today, but he at least managed to open his eyes and acknowledge our presence in a second visit during the evening. Before we left, he responded he'd like the television on. He slept, sedated and otherwise, most of the day away.

The day is not easy, and all of us are very tired. Perhaps tomorrow will be another good day. Regardless, in addition to supporting Dad, life insists on going on - jobs must be performed, regulatory requirements met, bills paid, and issues resolved. Todays big adventure was taking Mom to the Emissions Testing Station before visiting Dad.

We don't know, from day to day, what the future holds for Dad and seldom hear any unalloyed positivity, or unqualified opinions. Friend, family, church, and employers provided support and prayers, and we are grateful...but the sense of running the Red Queens Race looms large.

I'm trying to help Mom to become more self-reliant (no outcome I've heard involves Dad returning home in the short term), teaching her to operate household controls herself, searching out a simplified thermostat to replace the 1st-Gen programmable nightmare that requires a PhD to program, and encourage her to resume daytime driving at a non-freeway level.

My concern is that she not turn inward under the stress of all this, but either hold her ground or expand her horizons in the face of these challenges. Folks that start looking inwards excessively seem to reserve a seat on the early departing train, and I'm not really enthused about that notion as it might apply to my Mom.

We'll see. All we can do is our best.

1 comment:

Queen of Dysfunction said...

Regardless of the outcome your parents are very lucky to have a son like you.