Tag Archives: ICU

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.

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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!