Monthly Archives: June 2014

The continuing story….

I haven’t gone to see Dad today, but did speak to my brother, who was there earlier today. Not much has changed, he is still unable to communicate and apparently he became quite agitated and it took 4 nursing staff to hold him down and settle him. He must be so frightened by what is happening to him and around him. Before yesterday’s episode, he was packed and ready to come home, not that that was happening. Now, he is unable to feed himself or toilet himself, so things are quite rough for him. I only hope they can get him into surgery quickly before any more damage is done. I’m hoping that he’ll make a full recovery after surgery, but I really think that is unlikely. He’ll be turning 69 in December, and I would like to see him be able to enjoy it.

I really feel so useless, as there is nothing I can do to help him. I know he appreciates the visits and such, but seeing him as an empty shell is hard to take. He’s always been really loud and vibrant, someone you couldn’t miss. Now, he just looks at us with a blank stare. He sometimes tries to smile when he seems to see you, but you can see that is really hard for him. I can only imagine how he is feeling. There is no dignity is what he is going through and I plan on taking measures now so that I’m not in this position in another 25 years. I walk everyday, but I really need to watch my diet. I’m going to have a blood test soon to check cholesterol and the like, so I can see where I’m at.

The good that has come of this is that my floors are scrubbed and sparkling, and different jobs I’ve put off around the house are finally getting done. I’ve got to do something so that I don’t dwell on what is happening around me!

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Dear Old Dad….

Well, I slept in until about 8am this morning, and it was wonderful. MOTH came for a walk with Jordy and I, and that was lovely too. MOTH was taking the boy to some motorbike parts suppliers this morning, so I thought it would be perfect to scrub the kitchen floor. Got that finished – it looks awesome – and was making a cup of tea when the boys called me. They had taken my phone with them so they could use navigator as the boys’ phone has no credit, and MOTH has no internet access on his phone. Lucky they did as they went into Liverpool, which they hadn’t planned to do.

My uncle Bruce called my mobile while they were out and the boys called me. My dad had gone completely unconscious and the nursing staff were working on him when I called him straight back. I rang my sister-in-law straight away from the home phone, as her’s was the only mobile number I could think of. I spoke to her and my brother and let them know what was happening and said that I couldn’t contact the hospital as the number Allan had given me was on my mobile, which I didn’t have. They were already on their way to Penrith, so they went straight to the hospital. Just before the boys got home, Bruce had called me back on my mobile and left a message to let me know they had Dad conscious and on a drip, so he was okay for now. Not too long after, about 11.30am, the boys got home and I checked that I had 5 missed calls and 2 text messages, but the boy had spoken to Bruce and was told everything was alright.

Poor Bruce was beside himself, I was really worried about him when I spoke to him. He was really taken aback that this happened while he was there. I had tried to explain to him over the phone that it was really bad and that this might happen, but he freaked when Dad “keeled over and didn’t move”. I did explain the blockages to him and that they may shed, causing stroke, but he wasn’t really expecting it to happen right before his eyes.

I decided, as soon as I found out about Dad when the boys called to tell me Bruce rang, that I was going out to see him today, not wait until tomorrow, as was the original plan. Bruce told me that he was going today, so I thought I would stretch the visiting out and go Sunday, but I was really concerned as to how Dad might be. When I got there, I was really shocked. He can’t communicate, he just looks at you. I was glad to see my brother there when I walked in, his wife and Bruce had gone looking for the kiosk. Dad was just sitting on the side of his bed, his feet on the floor and kind of leaning sideways against the back of the bed with the pillows on it – it had been wound up. He was just vacant. Every now and again he would try to smile at me, but it was a real struggle for him. I tried to get him to turn around and rest back on the bed, maybe get some sleep but I couldn’t seem to get through to him. I even tried to move his legs for him, but being the big bugger that he is, I had no chance.

He spent the entire two hours that I was there sitting like that on the edge of the bed. He had his clothes on over his pyjamas, which I think was going to make his life awkward later on. He is still getting frustrated with himself, apparently trying to get a hanky out of his pocket and only coming out with the lining (which must have felt just like a hanky) and getting really cranky in the process. He wasn’t able to say what he was after, which is really bad. At least his face didn’t seem to be frozen, but he was struggling to show any understanding. As I said before, sometimes he would look at me and smile, but it was hard for him.

I’m really concerned about him, but Allan is going to talk to the vascular surgeon on Monday and get this carotid endarterectomy done as soon as possible. If he’s having strokes like this while he’s in hospital, he needs to be prioritised. Hopefully early in next week, fingers crossed on that one. Dad doesn’t seem to have too much understanding of what is happening to him at the moment, so my brother is making all the decisions that need to be made. I am glad and forever grateful that he has taken charge during this crisis. Hopefully these strokes haven’t done too much permanent damage, and that he will improve once the procedure is done, the sooner the better. I felt awful leaving him there, but I can’t stay all evening, I need to look after my boys and see that they’re fed and loved.

I would love to thank my dear sis Amanda, for all the love and support she is showing through this. She has always been amazing to me, and her love and understanding at this time, while she faces her own problems, has been truly and deeply appreciated. I love you sis, and always will. I thank all of you who have expressed kind thoughts, deepest wishes and prayers for my Dad and my family. All of this is greatly appreciated, and it’s wonderful to see how many of you truly care. I love you all and thank you for being a part of my life.

I don’t plan on going back to the hospital until Tuesday, but if he manages to have surgery on Monday, I may be able to head out there before the traffic gets too bad. I am looking after little man on Monday, and I’m really looking forward to that, as he’s an awesome little dude to spend some time with, and he really enjoys hanging out here. MOTH is taking the boy to the paediatrician on Monday, so I’m really hoping that I don’t need to go to the hospital before Tuesday. Anyhoo, will be thinking as positive as I can, and I know that he is in the best place possible for the time being and is being well cared for, better than anything Allan or I could have done for him.

Thanks for showing an interest and taking the time to read this.

What’s been happening this week…

Well, Dad went into hospital on Tuesday morning… he wasn’t able to put two words together and wasn’t making any sense. He was wandering around the freezing cold kitchen without his slippers on and he was shivering. My brother and sister-in-law had the good sense to take him to Nepean Hospital Emergency, where he was seen to.

I visited him on Wednesday, and he really wasn’t making a lot of sense when I was trying to have a conversation with him. He couldn’t name things and would get frustrated trying to find the right words, so I was agreeing with him, even though I had no idea what he was talking about. His lunch arrived, so he wanted to go to the kiosk and get a sandwich for lunch. He said he knew the way, but when we walked out the doors of the hospital, I knew why the lock the ward that he is in! I went to enquiries, then took him to the kiosk, where I got him a nice chicken salad sandwich, which was huge, and took him back to his room. He went “Oh, lunch is here” and sat down to eat the food that came for lunch. I thought “poor man”.

Apparently, the Occupational Therapist did an assessment of him making a cup of tea, which he takes black with one sugar. He made added water to the cup with the bag in it, added two sugars, an artificial sweetener, and some salt. The bag fell of fthe string while he was jiggling, but he kept jiggling, he didn’t notice.

He had a carotid ultrasound, which showed a complete blockage on the right side, and an 80 – 90% blockage on the left. He’s still getting blood flow to the brain, however these blockages are dangerous plaque build up that breaks away, causing everything from micro and mini strokes called TIA’s, to full-blown stroke.

Thankfully today they were able to do the MRI on him, which showed evidence of multiple strokes on both sides of his brain, more on the right than the left. The vascular surgeon said that this was caused by the plaque build-up in his carotid artery flaking off. He is going to call my brother on Monday, as it seems they would like to perform a Carotid Endarterectomy. That’s just a fancy way of saying that they are going to remove the inner lining of the carotid artery. This will remove the plaque and improve the blood flow. Hopefully this will restore him to his happy old self and that the strokes haven’t done too much permanent damage, and it should prevent further strokes from occurring. They expect that they will operate within the next 9 days, depending on their case load and triage.

Apparently Dad was agitated this evening, ready to leave the place. My brother is going there to sort it all out and smooth him over. Thank goodness my brother has stood up and taken the lead on this. He and his wife have been amazing. They opened their doors and took him in when he had nowhere to go after breaking up with his girlfriend in January. Now this has happened. His now ex said that he had been having problems, but she never took him to be examined while he was having these problems, so maybe this could have been resolved a while ago. Anyway, he’s in hospital now and that’s what matters. We should have this fixed, and then get on with the job of getting him healthy. He is severely overweight and this is certainly not helping him at all. The only reason his sugar has been good (8.8 when I was there on Wednesday) is because he is eating hospital food, and not getting into his Tim Tams and lollies and lord knows what else!. He can’t get his treats in there, and they won’t let him have them if we do bring them.

His half-brother is visiting him tomorrow, and I believe his sister and father will be visiting him over the weekend too. I intend going on Sunday, around lunch time, so I know that he gets his lunch and get him to eat it. I’m really disappointed that this has happened to Dad. He was told 19 years ago when he had 5 bypasses on his heart that if he didn’t change his ways, this was going to happen to his carotid arteries in 20 years time. Well, here we are…. as my brother pointed out, he hasn’t given a shit since mum died (04/07/96). He’s been depressed and angry all these years, and has eaten his emotions. I’ve asked him a few times to do some counselling, but it was never going to happen. I feel helpless, but I have seen this coming with him. There is nothing I can do other than offer him my love and support, and be there as often as I can. I just hope the damage isn’t permanent.

I’ve had lots of love and support from a couple of close friends, and I am honoured to have them in my life. I thank them for their warm embraces, and their words of love and encouragement get me through some of the darker times. I love you to bits, and I thank you so much for being part of my life.

I will update this as I know more