Thursday, November 11, 2004

No One Should Have to Do This

Those of you who read The Broad know what's going on and why I haven't posted in almost a week.

I just got back home last night from Tennessee. My little sister, Karen, called me around 1pm on Saturday telling me that my dad was in the emergency room and that my mom had left a message for her that if she wasn't on her way to the hospital, she needed to be. At that point, Karen was on her way, but she didn't know anything else. We both knew that message was bad, though. My dad had a really severe stroke back in June and our mom got mad at Karen and another sis, Kim, for coming to the hospital because she knew my dad was going to be okay. This message? Not good.

I jumped on the phone with Winston to let him know what was going on that that I may have to go to Memphis. While I was on the phone with him, Karen called back. She was crying. Another not good sign. Daddy had a second stroke and was very bad off. I needed to go.

Got back to Winston and told him I needed to go. To Memphis, go. He said he'd be right over. I'm glad he did. In the 1.5 hours it took for him to get there, I progressively fell apart. I had just put clothes in the washer and needed to finish those up. I cleaned dishes, emptied trash, paid bills, and talked to myself like a crazy person. by the time he got there, I didn't know what to do anymore. He helped me pack and load my car.

At 3:30, Karen called to see if I had left yet. Told her I'd be on the road in 20 minutes. I asked how Daddy was. At that point, they were admitting him into a room so that we'd "be more comfortable while we waited." She didn't say it. She didn't have to. My daddy was going to die. Soon.

I completely broke down and sobbed for about 5 minutes. But, I knew that if I was going to get there before he died, I needed to move. He was 580 miles and 9-10 hours away. I grabbed my cat, Mickey, threw him in the car and took off.

I drove like a bat out of hell and made it in 8.5 hours. At 12:30 am, I walked in the Emergency Room door of the tiny hospital in Bolivar (about an hour east of Memphis--basically, the job of this hospital is to stabilize patients in order to move them to a bigger hospital). Two of my sisters (I have 3) were standing right in the door. Kelly turned around and said, "Daddy's talking." I just about fell over. Around 10 pm, he woke up and started talking. He asked where he was and my mom told him the hospital.

Daddy: Did I have another stroke?
Mom: We don't know yet.
Daddy: I think I did. I feel like I did the last time.

So, he was awake, talking and coherent. From the first stroke, his left side is paralyzed and they're working on that in physical therapy. He's walking now and has some control of leg muscles. He has no control over his left arm, but the physical therapists think he will eventually. Mentally, he has stroke-related dementia that is bad. Some moments he's completely lucid. Others? Not at all. The fact that he was coherent now was great. All the docs are saying is a miraculous recovery--no medical explanation for it. The ER docs/nurses kept coming to his room on Sunday to verify that it was true and that he was awake. No one could believe it.

He was moved to a hospital in Memphis on Monday for tests, but he doesn't seem any worse off after this second stroke than he was before. Physically, he's tired, but that's to be expected. Mentally? He's no worse, but that's not really saying much.

My mom is a mess. Understandably. She's had a very rough 5 months and these past few days have been excrutiating.

I'm exhausted and feel like I've been run over by an entire convoy of trucks, both physically and emotionally. I just feel very raw.

Last night, after I got back home, I called the hospital to tell my mom I got back okay. I got on the phone with my dad and he cried and thanked me for coming down and told me he loved me. I said, "You're my daddy. Of course I came down. I love you." Which made him cry more. Which made me cry. We're a mess.

Snidge, thanks so much for the email. I didn't get it till today (not been near a computer much), and you're so sweet. Invisible internet people can be really good people and not just scary stalkers.


Blogger kalisah said...

Hey - I'm in Memphis & I read your predicament on Region Broad. I lost my dad to stroke when I was in my early 20s so I can totally relate. Anytime your here & need a friend you can contact me. I promise I'm not a stalker.

8:36 PM  
Blogger So Lost said...

My heart goes out to you and your family during this tiem of crisis. God bless you.

8:35 AM  

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