Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More good news :)

I usually get my Dad news from Mom, which is probably not the best way to do it. I know I should talk to the nurses, but I figure Mom will give me the scoop since she's there all day and asks a ton of questions.

Apparently there's some questions she needs to ask more often. I just found out that his right eye is briskly reacting, while the left eye is sluggish. Hey, it's improvement, I'll take it. Also, he doesn't have the art line anymore and he's been doing more time off the vent. Of course I didn't have the heart to tell Mom that if he gets totally off the vent he'll be out of the ICU. I tried doing the whole "anticipatory guidance" thing with her earlier and she just about freaked at the idea of him having less attentive care. But that's why they put the I in ICU - it's only for people who need that level of care. Not to say that the floors can't do a good job also, but Mom really needs the one on one attention a little more than Dad does ;)

I had been asked to call my grandmother (Dad's mom) who lives in Seattle. I haven't seen her or talked to her since Steve's wedding. We were never very close although she's always been very nice when I'm around. I didn't think about it, but she told me that Dad always called on Tuesday nights to check on her. She sounded so desperately sad. I was able to give her a good update and she was thankful. This whole thing has really thrown her more than anyone. I mean, Dad was in almost perfect health and in great shape, but he is 63. It's not unusual for someone my age to have a father in a medical crisis. But this is her son. I can't imagine if someone did something this awful to one of my children. How do you deal with it? She's 87 years old and she's losing her vision. There's no way she'll be able to travel all the way to the Southland to visit her son. I can't imagine how helpless that feels.

Thanks for the idea, Jen!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Great news!

Mom called when we were on the way to dinner to tell me that they had taken Dad off the vent around 1pm and he was still off! They did a blood gas, and he's still off the vent, so obviously he's oxygenating well.

I love hearing good news, but it's rough because Mom is so critical of my every reaction. No matter what I say, it's not the right thing. I'm not excited enough or I don't have the right words to say. I've tried coming up with different answers and sounding as enthusiastic as I can, but it's hard when I'm trying to talk in front of the kids. They know some of what Pepa's been through, but I'm trying so hard to spare them the rest. If I am too enthusiastic, then they'll wonder why.

Initially I had an extremely guarded prognosis for Dad. I have always thought that he'd pull through physically. He was in awesome shape before the wreck. But the brain damage is what I worry about so much. It doesn't help that most of my (limited) adult experience is with neuro patients in an ICU. By the time they're off drips and off the vent, they're out of my unit and I have no idea how they're doing. So it's hard for me to think about how this might turn out. It's possible that Dad will totally recover (even though all the docs have said this is not an option). It's even more probable that Dad will partially recover.

I'm not an optimist by nature. When I looked in Dad's eyes (yes, I snagged the flashlight and did a pupil check) I didn't see him in there. And his pupils were SO sluggish. When Mom had told me that his pupils were reactive, I didn't think to ask how brisk they were responding. So when I arrived, hearing 600 miles of interpretations by Mom, I found that Dad actually looked a lot better than I thought he would. But he was less responsive than I thought he would be. And that was more worrisome.

So please keep Dad in your thoughts and prayers. He's come a long way but he has so far to go.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Six Flags - St. Louis

Apparently, Six Flags over Mid America has changed its name to Six Flags St. Louis, which is a little confusing because why are they flying the Illinois flag? Anyway, I took Chris (10 years old) to Six Flags for an impromptu trip. He's been scared of the park ever since my lovely MIL lost him at the park several years ago. So if we ever want to take the family again, I figured I needed to take him one on one.

Our first stop was the Ninja coaster. I had Chris watch several revolutions of the ride and he convinced me that he was ready. But I think that he really wanted to ride it because he likes Ninjas. He was a little bit traumatized after the ride!

Next we tried the Mine Train, which turned out to be too fast for him. After that we hit the bumper cars, water rides, and some of the kiddie attractions. Since the aim was to get him over his fear of Six Flags, I let him make all the choices.

As we drove to the park, I told him that he could choose to go on whatever he wanted, but that I really wanted to ride the Screaming Eagle. I was 8 the last time we visited, and I always wanted to ride it. We came upon the Eagle after the coaster debacles, so I just ignored it. But Chris told me that he would wait by the exit if I wanted so I could ride it. What a sweetie! I told him that we'd just do it another day when we had the whole family.

I was surprised to see another ride, the Highland Fling which was basically the old Spinnaker. If I remember correctly, the Spinnaker was removed shortly after a similar ride caused injuries or death at the State Fair. One of the compartments fell off. Which makes the name "Highland Fling" just a little creepy!

It was a good trip overall. Chris got over his fear and I got to reminisce at one of my favorite childhood spots. One of the fun things about being in this area is that every once in a while I get surprised by memories of my childhood, and it's so fun to share those with my kids.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Asking for Prayers

It's been ages since I've posted, but this has been a terrible summer. My Papa (whom I was SO close to) died of pancreatic cancer. Thankfully this was brief and he didn't have a whole lot of pain. I was a little freaked out because my other grandfather also died of the same cancer, but they were both in their 80s.

My dad was involved in a horrible car wreck last week. I rushed down to Bamaland to visit and I wasn't pleased with what I saw. He had multiple fractures and a head injury. The fractures can heal, but the head injury is very concerning. He still hasn't regained consciousness and that REALLY worries me.

This was a crime and I can't give a lot of details right now. But basically Dad was trying to avoid some kids who were trying to rob him. They got mad and rammed his car, then climbed in to steal his wallet.

We have a lot of prayers going out right now, but I'm going to be greedy and ask for more. Mom is staying at the hospital and has an elaborate support system. I'm pleasantly surprised at how well she is holding up. My parents have always been a unit and they adore each other, so this is incredibly hard for Mom.

I'm asking for prayers for healing for my father, and coping for our family. My children have always been so close to Pepa and this has been very hard on them.