Aug 19, 2014

My dad's odyssey


Last Monday afternoon I received a call from my mother saying that my dad, who'd had a pair of strokes last summer, had suffered some sort of seizure and had been flown to a CCU in a Medford, Or. hospital. My boss approved time away as soon as I told him and a couple hours later I was driving south.
Summer lightning lit up the sky a number of times on the way down, causing additional wildfires in that region. The air was sticky hot the whole way, still 80 degrees when I stopped for gas at 10 pm. When we arrived in his room the next morning he was still heavily sedated and would remain under for another 24 hours. He was hooked up to breathing and feeding tubes and the only sign of life is when he would start to gag on one of them from time to time.
For as quiet and uncertain that day was the next would be decidedly less quiet but equally uncertain. He woke in the early morning and was incredibly belligerent to everyone. He didn't know where he was, why he was there, what day it was, and pretty regularly who I was, often confusing me with one of the nurses. Hospital staff were couldn't say whether this attitude would last or if it was a passing thing, since in many ways he was acting like a dementia patient.
I made the 4 hour round trip to my parents home that afternoon to get my mom some clothes, feed their animals and water their vegetable garden. When I returned that night my mom had already retired for the evening so it was just us, and we watched the last inning of the Mariners game, though he had a hard time seeing the TV. He was far closer to his normal self by then and had begun to feel badly about he he had been earlier, though honestly it was not his fault. He didn't even know he was doing it, but apologized to the hospital staff just the same.
By the following day he was back to being himself and was sent home the next day following a second 24-hour brain wave scan. The doctors still don't know what happened or why, nor could they offer any information on how to not have it happen again. But he called me Sunday, discussing the improvement of the M's and their playoff chances and it was a return to the norm for him. To say the least, it was an incredibly strange week for all of us.

-DKM