Monday, April 25, 2005

My Papa

My grandfather is in the ICU unit in N. Augusta. He was taken to the hospital last Thursday. My Dad called me that night five minutes before 5 (when I leave work) to tell me. What happened was this.

Papa had a cold last week and had been lying in bed for several days. Nana had started nagging him (if nagging was an Olympic sport she would be a gold medalist) to get up and eat and drink something “time to join the land of the living!” He did but he told her he hurt- he couldn’t tell her where. He wouldn’t eat the food she fixed and she thought he was just be ornery like usual, so she kept on him. She started becoming alarmed when he started leaning to far back in the rocking chair and threatening to tip it over. He wasn’t responding to her and she wasn’t sure he was seeing her when he looked at her.
She managed to get him back into to bed when my Aunt Barbara called to see if Nana wanted to go grocery shopping with her. Nana told her what was happening and told Nana to call 911. By the time she got to their house they were there loading Papa up in to the ambulance, so A.B got Nana into the car and told the driver which hospital to take Papa too.
A. B. got to the hospital, unloaded Nana, parked the car and got back to the waiting room and waited another 15 minutes for the ambulance.
Apparently there is set route they take and so the “emergency ambulance” went the long way to get to the hospital. Of course A.B. has been thinking they had to pull over and treat Papa which would be the only reason that is took them 3 times as long to get there as she did in her NON emergency vehicle.

Papa was put into a triage room and they ran CT tests and all that to see if he had, had a stroke or heart attack.
The good news is that he hadn’t. The bad news is that all they knew was that he had some sort of blockage in his digestive system which was what had caused him not to want to eat. His stomach was completely full. He was slightly dehydrated but they couldn’t treat that very much because he had fluid in his lungs and surrounding his heart which if it rose would result in heart failure. (The sack around the heart fills with fluid which makes it impossible for the heart to beat).
This is about the time that Dad called me the first time. He was upset and as he told me what was going on he started crying which I don’t think he has ever done. He didn’t even cry when he told me Nana had breast cancer and would have to have a double mastectomy and undergo radiation.
He asked me if it was true that I knew what sex Matthews’s baby will be – which I do but matt is annoyed with the pressure of begetting a boy, plus a little offended since he is partial to Stella, so he asked me not to say anything to anyone.
Something I pointed out to Dad. He said he knew that Matt had asked I not tell but that if there was a chance that they could tell papa that there was a boy on the way it might be that little extra something to pull him through. It was obvious that Dad was looking for anything and everything to help his father live. (I would continue this little conversation with you but you have to wait a few days to fins out the end. Because I defiantly cracked and told Dad everything.)
The biggest indicator that he was upset was when he asked me to call my siblings and tell them. He does NOT hand over the phone tree! I of course told him I would. I asked him if I needed to go to N. Augusta, but he said no, I couldn’t do anything anyway. I asked if I should go to Boone, but didn’t get an answer. So I called my cousin Traci and asked her what she was doing and said I would do that.
Abby was easy to get a hold of. Katie as well. But I couldn’t get a hold of Becca! I called her cell phone (the only number I had) and left a message that I had urgent information for her and asked her to call me back. Nothing. I tried to look up her house phone- they are unlisted.
I called Mom to try and get more information about the situation and she seemed to think that Dad was just freaking out because it was his Dad. (Her father had died about ten years ago)
After that I just waited to hear news from Dad.
I went to work the next day and thought things were going to be Ok since dad had called and let me know that papa hadn’t gotten worse and that he was gong to head down to N. Augusta after his morning apts. About an hour after that – he called and said he had cancelled his apointments and was on his way – did I want a ride? Tracie called and said she was going down at 2:30pm and I could ride with her if I wanted. I didn’t know what to do- Dad was upset again, I had only just mentioned to my boss that my Papa was sick and we had just moved offices… I hate taking time off work because I worry the whole time. I don’t like disruptions in my routine but I knew I needed to go to N. Augusta!
My boss just said to do what I needed to do. So I left with dad. Packed really badly, my clothes barely matched and the temp dropped into the 30’s after being in the 80’s all week, so my clothes were on the chilly side.
As I got into the car I saw that Dad had packed a suit and because I am dense I assumed he had because he planed on going to church.
He had packed it to wear to the memorial service.
I did my job and kept a constant stream of chatter going for the three hour drive and we arrived in time for the 5:30 visiting half hour. (Actually we missed it but A.B. made them let us in)
I hadn’t asked and no one had told me what to be prepared for so it was a big shock to see Papa in the bed. He looked really small and fragile lying in the bed (he used to be able to do one handed pushups). He obviously had wires coming out all over the place since he was hooked up to the monitors- he is in ICU after all.
I knew a little about the numbers on the monitors and what they meant health wise because I’m not retarded despite how dense I can be and also because Jason spews this stuff out when he tells me about his day.
He had a tube in his nose which I thought was administering medication but I later found out by listening in on a conversation that it was pumping the bile from his stomach.
He wasn’t really conscious when we got there – his eyes were open but he didn’t seem to be focusing on us at all. He could hold our hands and he had a fairly strong grip which was comforting to me. We talked to him a little and then it was time to go.
When we came back at 8:30pm he was a little more lucid but still really out of it and he kept having stomach cramps. He knew who we were and seemed to be able to actually see us. Dad talked about the Braves game that was on and Traci went into babble mode because that’s what she is good at. The rest of us were having trouble keeping a steady flow of conversation going. This time he was in soft restraints because he kept trying to pull his tubes out. It was hard to see him like that but really encouraging that he knew who we were this time. He was tired but didn’t want us to go but we still had to because of the visiting limit. We would take turns in the room, because we were supposed to only have two people in at a time (a rule we rarely followed).
Becca and Joe arrived with Katlyn that night. I had left a rather abrupt message on their home phone on my way out of the office earlier that day.
The next morning the Dr. decided they had to do something about Papa’s kidneys they weren’t working and his blood was turning toxic, so they ordered dyalasis to begin. It takes about four hours so we didn’t get to go to the morning visiting, but he was looking so much better when we came that after noon. He was trying to talk and he was moving his eyes to communicate with an occasional shrug.
By that night he was sitting up and in soft restraints again because he had tried to get out of bed, he was telling everyone that he wanted to go home. Dad had to get firm with him and told him that he was staying in the bed and that the tubes were there to help him and that he was just stuck in the hospital until he was better and he just had to deal with it.
Later Papa told us about the “young” Dr. that had told him what he was or was not going to do and just laid it on the line for him. He liked that Dr.
We think he got Dad confused with being a Dr.
His real Dr. were amazed that papa was still alive let alone improving. His cardiologist had told A.B. on Friday morning to make her calls and start planning for a funeral.
Abby had arrived on Sat night because dad told her to finish her work for the week and go to class. She was upset about how Papa looked but I told her that it was like night and day from when I arrived and that he was doing wonderful. It was hard when as soon as Dad left the room Papa asked us to untie him- Abby asked how much money he had on him. He asked everyone except Becca, she thinks because he knew she wouldn’t do it.
I was so relieved that he was doing better. When I saw him the first night I was sure he was going to die. I was praying (literally) that he wouldn’t (because I am just not emotionally prepared for that to happen right now- I am the most important person around.)
Things could still turn – he is still in the ICU but we felt like we could safely leave for the week and return this coming weekend. My cousin Marlo will be coming in on Monday, to distract Nana and give papa visitors now that he is awake and will get bored in the hospital. Then Tracie will come in on Friday, Dad and I will run our ½ marathon in Greensboro and head strait from there to Nana’s to do our turn at distraction unless something happens- then I will go down on Thursday until Traci arrives. I guess hording my sick time will pay off right now.
Then Megan and maybe Katie and Samantha said she will drive in with Isabella and see Papa and entertain nana with a great grand child for a few days. That’s as far as we have planned but I’m sure there will be a couple more trips in there.


Matthew said...

I've got a stella video here to mail out today. Who should I send it to so it gets to the grandparents the fastest?

Terra said...

send it to me!