Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Week

They tried to extubate Dad on Wednesday. That is, he was to have the tube removed from his throat that had been keeping him breathing.  Unfortunately for that first attempt he was not following instructions well enough to take the tube out.
I had been holding his hand during that first try, and as the propofol wore off and Dad started coming around, he was frantic in that "I'm too stoned to know what is happening, but I know it's scary" mode.  He will fortunately not remember any of it.  I will never forget it.  But once, I asked him to squeeze my hand, and he did.  I was elated and so hopeful.  Then I told him to give Mom's had a squeeze on the other side and he did that!  But that was about all we could get him to do.
Nobody was around early Thursday morning when they did take the tube out.  My friend Matt walked into the room and found Dad awake but not oriented.  Nobody was in the room and nobody was in the waiting room.  Matt asked Dad how he was doing.  All Dad could do was issue a deep, guttural grunt.  Matt called me immediately.  I was in Mom and Dad's living room, explaining to my Mom that sometimes they had to try two or three times before the tube finally came out, and to try and not worry too much.  Needless to say, I was very excited to hear it was out.

Over the course of the next week, Dad slowly but surely regained his brain.  The first few days he brought everyone into his hallucinogenic world.  It was scary and trippy, and again he won't remember much or any of it.  But I will not forget.  He said a great many very funny things, and his vocabulary grew by leaps and bounds.  But he also said a great many disturbing things as his brain imagined and dreamt of nightmarish things.  Horses with no heads would have freaked me out.  But he also found the dream of coal falling into a hole terrifying, and envisioned a herd of blue horses that melted into each other from all quarters.

Pretty soon Monday rolled around again.  Just a week before Dad had died and come back.  Now he was lucid, joking with the caretakers and visitors, and getting back to just being Dad again.  During that second week, Dad continued to improve and the complaints about his sore chest and throat faded into mainly being so very tired.  With more rest and healing Dad was finally released from the hospital on Friday the 1st of April.  He is home now, enjoying his kids and grandkids.  Getting sleep in his own bed.  Gradually recovering his stamina.  His is a long road back, and with proper care he will not be too much the worse for wear.  His story is unbelievably miraculous, and I am unbelievably thankful to those who saved his life.

More Later


Steph said...

I was in the waiting room. I had been in the room until sometime after 3am. They extubated a few hours after I had decided to try to get some sleep sitting up in the small waiting room off the main one, which I had relinquished to an older father/son pair whose wife/mother had been admitted in the room next to Dad's. Matt came and found me there.

I was there.

Steph said...

I had planned to spend the night in Dad's room that night, but they would not let me stay. I think they decided (probably correctly) it would be a smoother process without family surrounding him. They had only a very small window of opportunity to do that - one they created.