Category Archives: Rambling

Just filling you in on the day….

Another visit…

Went out to see Dad again today, and it was lovely to take the boy with me finally. It seemed to take forever to get there as there was an accident on the M4 just past Wallgrove Road. Traffic crawled for about 3kms then we all took off, couldn’t see any evidence of the smash, hopefully it wasn’t too bad.

Dad didn’t know who we were when we got there, which was a bit sad as he remembered me last time. I was expecting him not to know who the boy was, but was really hopeful he would remember me. When the nurse told him I was his daughter, he just laughed, I think at himself for not knowing. I told him the boy was his grandson, and he laughed again, kind of surprised. I think as he doesn’t remember us, it must be a shock to him each time he is told who a relative is. His speech is still a bit slurry, and he rambles off about strange things so I have no idea what he’s talking about, but I do try to talk to him about me and my family and how we are all connected and different things we have shared together in the past. He seems happy enough when we do talk, but he really doesn’t remember much.

I fed him his lunch today (haven’t done that for 19 years!) and it was good to see him eat it all, even the yoghurt, which I thought he didn’t like. I thought when I saw him on Wednesday that he needed help with feeding, but then he was determined to try to do it for himself. When I walked in the nurse asked me if I would be feeding him. I jumped straight in there, even did the “open up for the Red Baron…” It made him have a good chuckle, so he seems to still have some sense of humour. All of his food is pureed, and he has nectar instead of juice, as he is having difficulty swallowing and not chewing well so he’s at risk of choking. The last time I fed him was when he had his heart bypasses. He’s good about it, but I suppose he has no choice. He looked exhausted after that, so we just hung for a little while and then left so that he might have a sleep. Sleeping through this might just be the best possible thing for him. Our bodies do all their recovery work while we are asleep, so I’m sure it will help with his brain injury.

It does sadden me to see Dad like this, but I’m trying really hard not to dwell on it. I’ve been keeping myself busy as much as I can, doing lots of housework and yard work, reading whenever I’m sitting for a while. I just find that if I don’t keep occupied, I start worrying about things like “what if he doesn’t get any better?” and all the rest. Of course, this doesn’t do anyone any good, but we all know how the brain gets. Being the person that I am, my mind can get pretty dark sometimes, and can stay there for a long time if I don’t keep it all in check. I do have a good psychologist, and I will go back and see him if I feel I need a brain tune-up to cope with all of this. So far, I’ve been travelling okay. I nearly had a good cry about a week and a half ago, but I snapped myself out of it, because I just kept telling myself he’s just sick, he’s not gone so there is no need to cry over it. I know I probably will at some point, I would just like to be in private when it does happen. MOTH is amazing support, but some tears need to be shed alone.

On the mend

Went and saw Dad today, and he is finally out of ICU! He looks much better, but he’s still terribly confused. He told me he was waiting for the wardsmen to come and take him somewhere, but when he asked the nurse when are they coming, the nurse told him he’d already been for his ultrasound this morning. They did an ultrasound on his kidneys as he has apparently lost some kidney function so they just want to see where that is at. His catheter bag didn’t look too good in ICU, but I thought maybe that was because of what he had just been through. Maybe, because he hasn’t taken care of his diabetes well (type 2), he may be having kidney issues from that. As Allan said, it’s wait-and-see again (he usually takes the tablets for his diabetes, but today they gave him an insulin injection to get his sugar back down).

He recognised me, but didn’t know my name. I’m quite happy with that, at least he knows I’m his daughter, and that he has a grandson. Couldn’t take the boy with me today, he woke up with a rash from head to toe. Probably just allergies from this cold that he has been suffering. I gave him two phenergan and sent him back to bed. He was asleep until after I got home at about 3.30 this afternoon. That’s very unlike him to sleep like that, but he really needed it as he is having trouble shaking off this cold. He’s still a bit chesty too, so it was good that he didn’t come today. I’ll give him another two phenergan tonight, and he should breathe easier in his sleep and be totally rash free by the morning.

They won’t let Dad get out of bed yet, he’s too weak. He really wanted to get up and go to the bathroom, but they got the pan for him – oh the indignity of it all! He’s talking quite well, but I don’t know what he’s talking about most of the time. He has no clue of the date, even though I had told him before the neurologist came in and asked him. He read the date on “Ellen”, but that was March 2012. He’s got his television back on, so at least he can watch State of Origin tonight. He knows he goes for the Blues, so that should make him happy. He can lay back and yell at the referees!

I’m really glad he is getting better, but it’s going to be a long road ahead. Again, I don’t know if he’ll make a full recovery, but he’s so much better than when he went in for surgery. At least he can talk now (slightly slurred) and manage to feed himself. He’s not eating much, but that’s okay as he still does have some weight to lose. It’s good to see him not hooked up to the machines anymore. He’s plenty battered and bruised though, and he’s not tied down anymore as he has no tubes to pull out. I’m sure he’s been difficult for some of the staff (not intentionally), but they have been completely patient and supportive throughout this whole process. I made a point of thanking all the staff on his ward today, telling them that they are doing a wonderful job. They were so appreciative, as most family contact is abuse for them. Everyone who has had anything to do with Dad has been amazing.

Yulefest, and Dad (of course!)

What a wonderful time was had by all who attended Yulefest at Allan and Julie’s last night. The food was amazing (as always), the drinks flowing, and the guests all mingled with everyone. I really enjoyed going from group to group and catching up with everyone there. It was good to see Julie’s family (awesome people!) and some of Allan and Julie’s friends that I have got to know over the last 20 years. They are really great people who know how to have a fantastic time.

We dined on roast pork and crackling with apple sauce, roast turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potato, brussels sprouts with bacon, cauliflower and broccoli au gratin, potato bake, steamed peas and carrots. I think that covered all the dinner options. Dessert was sticky date pudding with caramel sauce, apple pie with custard and ice cream, and there were some strawberries and cream as well. I had to try it all, and I could barely move afterwards. We washed all this down with some lovely french bubbly, Pierre something or other…. it was just divine. Allan and Julie were also kind enough to give me a bottle of Chandon and some cash for my birthday last month, both of which are greatly appreciated. The boy got some money off them too for his birthday last month, which he is putting towards his leathers for riding.

Speaking of riding, the boy went for his first road ride yesterday, and I’m proud to say he came back in one piece. It looked like a shaky start, but once he was off, he was fine. He did a few laps of our long street, with sweeping bends, roundabout and big hill and he looked so thrilled with himself. I remember what it was like when I got to drive by myself for the first time, so I can only imagine how exhilarating riding for the first time would be. He went out again today not long before I got home and told me he got himself lost! I had to giggle, we’ve lived in this area for nearly 13 years and he’s still not sure of the lay of the land. It just shows that he doesn’t pay attention to what is going on around him!

So, I called into Nepean hospital on my way up to Linden yesterday to see Dad. His doctor, Sam, showed me Dad’s CT scan and it showed bleeding on the right side of his brain in the area that controls mood, so that goes a long way to explaining his general confusion. They could also see the infarctions (the clots from his carotid artery) and where they had hit, again mainly the right side of his brain. He also explained to me that because they have Dad so heavily sedated, they are worried about his breathing being compromised and they may have to intubate him and put him on life support. The problem with this is if they try to bring him out of it, his breathing may still be compromised, and then he will need a tracheotomy to keep breathing. We are all hoping (including Sam) that it won’t come to that, but if it needs to happen, then so be it. He didn’t wake up while I was there on Saturday and his breathing is quite laboured, so I was feeling quite upset by what Sam had told me. Sam is looking after Dad as if it were his own father, so he is doing everything he can to help Dad. The poor man has his arms strapped to the bed for his own safety, because if he isn’t restrained, he pulls his lines out and resists all attempts to do anything for him. He even managed to pull his catheter out at one point (oowww!).

When I saw him today on my way back home, his breathing was still laboured, but at least he was “sleeping”. The nurse looking after him came in and told me that this morning he wanted to get up to go for a pee. She held up his catheter bag and said you don’t need to go anywhere, you’re right to go. When he woke up while I was there, he told me that he doesn’t need to go for a pee, they got that sorted for him. I found that encouraging, that he remembered what the nurse said to him this morning. He wasn’t awake for long, but it was wonderful to see the recognition in his eyes. Last night he managed to pull out his feeding tube, but they have that back in and sorted for him, so that was going while I was there. He’s lost a lot of weight, but then he had plenty to lose. That’s what got him in to so much trouble in the first place – his love of good food, and copious quantities of it.

I’m starting to allow myself to believe that Dad may recover from this, maybe not to his former glory, but enough so that he will have some functioning when he heals from this. Every time he tries to talk to me he seems to be a little more aware, only minutely, but an improvement is an improvement, and I’ll take what I can at this stage. He’s had lots of visitors (not all at once), so I’m hoping he feels how much we all love him and want him to get better. I’m also taking his fighting as a good sign, that he’s not giving in and letting this beat him. It’s just going to take some time, maybe six to 12 months, but I think he’ll get there. I’m going in to see him again on Wednesday, but I think he’ll still be in intensive care. I’m going to take the boy as it will be good for Dad to see his grandson. I haven’t taken him thus far, as he has had a nasty cold and I’ve been waiting for him to recover from that before I take him. Hopefully Dad will wake a bit while he is there, just so he knows that his grandson cares about him too.

New Reading Glasses and other things…

Awesome! I can see the laptop clearly and I can read books again! MOTH just came with me to Big W at Bankstown to pick up my glasses with me. Thought it was going to take longer to pay them off, but getting our FTB paid back promptly really helped. What with the gas and electricity bill, the car rego and repairs, it looked like slowly paying the balance off on my glasses. But now all is good, and I’m just really excited to be able to see clearly again.

Got an update from my brother on Dad’s progress. He’s still fighting all attempts to help him and he’s still generally confused, but he is slightly better. He was able to ask Allan about his plants and Julie said they were taking care of them. It was great he was able to put a question together, but Allan and Julie looking after plants is a bit scary. Dad is still in ICU, as they aren’t prepared to release him back to the ward just yet. They want to make sure there is nothing else wrong with him, and this could last a couple more days. So, there is positive progress being made, however small and slowly. It’s all still wait-and-see.

I will be going to see him tomorrow, and I am really hanging to get there. I haven’t been since Tuesday, and I put off traveling as I was already going to Linden for Yulefest this Saturday, and I can’t really afford all the petrol driving out there and back too often. I’m looking forward to Yulefest, my brother and sister-in-law always put on the most amazing Christmas feast, and I actually feel like eating it all because it is so cold and the weather is made for the roasting of meat and vegies, smothered in loads of gravy, followed by rummy, fruity pudding and custard. I’ve been keeping the kilojoules down this week in preparation for the feast. It’ll be a bit sad to not have Dad there, but I’ll be seeing him again Sunday, as I intend on staying at Allan and Julie’s overnight.

Today is the anniversary of Mum’s passing, 18 years ago. I always think of it as her independence day, finally free of pain and her mental tortures. For those of you who don’t know, Mum died of cancer only 5 weeks after she went into hospital with pancreatic pain. She went in in the last week of May, only to pass away on the 4th of July. We were only told it was certainly cancer about a week and a half before she passed. It was all very quick and we were only just getting used to the idea of her being sick, and boom, she was gone. At least she didn’t suffer for too long, it was very painful for her and it ate her away. I didn’t recognise her when I first went in to see her in May. I thought “who is this little old lady waving me down?”…. It was her!

I sometimes go to Solander Point on the 4th of July, as that is where we scattered her ashes. It’s lovely out there, and if you are lucky, you get to see some whales frolicking off the coast as they migrate north at this time of year. We chose not to go today, as there was lots we need to get done, and I don’t have the weekend to do it over.

Jay is with MOTH buying a new battery for his bike. Hopefully they have done the chemist and cat litter run while they were out. I have to take Jay later to get his bike helmet at Liverpool. My baby is getting ready to ride! I’m proud of him, but worried about the other idiots on the road. He is always talking about safety and how to handle different situations so I hope he puts it into practice. He has stripped the bike down and made many repairs, and it’s almost ready for him to ride. I’m really excited for him.

Dad’s progress

Well, Dad had his surgery yesterday, carotid endarterectomy, and all went well. He got wheeled in to ICU at about 6pm last night, so it was a bit late for me to take off and go out to visit him. My brother was there to see him, and Dad managed to ask what was happening to him. Not sure if he understood what they told him, but at least he was able to string a question together.

They have struggled a bit with him in ICU. They are having to sedate him more than they would like as he is constantly trying to pull out his drain and drip, and he keeps taking his oxygen mask off. The nursing staff have been amazing, keeping a close eye on him and attending to his every need. I watched him today try to fight the nurses off as they had to put a line in his neck for further medication, and they are hoping he doesn’t try to pull this out (they put it in under ultrasound). He seemed to recognise me today, he said “Hi” to me and held my hand, which I found very encouraging. He wasn’t able to do that on Saturday, so I’m hoping that he hasn’t suffered much brain damage.

It was good to see my brother there today, he has been a real trooper. I know this is hitting him hard and he’s trying not to show it. He’s had to make all the decisions, sign the consent forms and be the hospitals first point of contact, and I think he has done a wonderful job. We’ve been able to sit down and have some really good talks, about all of this and life in general. We may have fought terribly while we were growing up, but we have become quite close as adults, and we really pull together when necessary.

In closing, I have to say I found Dad better than I expected today, and I am so eternally grateful for that. I hope to have my Dad back, it’s just going to take some time. I don’t know that he will make a “full” recovery, but just seeing him realise I was there today was really awesome. He’s got a hard road ahead of him, but he’s a fighter and won’t give in easily, as the nurses are finding out!

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!

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.