DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,
DailyAfirmation
dailyafirmation

A torn miniscus, some knee surgery to be scheduled, and dad in ICU...

I got in to work early this morning, so I could leave on the 12:30 bus, to get home and then to the doctor's office for 1:30, where I had my MRI read.

Some tweets from the doctor's office, where they have free wireless, and from which I tweeted on my iTouch:

in the waiting room to get my MRI results. 7:26 AM Nov 21st from mobile web

Another $40 co-pay. Wish I'd put more $$$ in my HCFSA for 2008. 7:29 AM Nov 21st from mobile web

in the dr.'s office now. No dr. Yet though. 7:38 AM Nov 21st from mobile web

Just a LITTLE bit of knee surgery in my future. 8:04 AM Nov 21st from mobile web

doc said "I'd like to have seen THAT" I said not really I'm not a pretty twirler even when I'm not hurting my knee. 8:06 AM Nov 21st from mobile web

"that's hysterical" he said 8:08 AM Nov 21st from mobile web

The tweets gave away the ending, so I definitely have a torn meniscus; the MRI pictures were very cool.

They'll call me, probably on Monday to schedule the arthroscopic surgery.



After my appointment, I worked from home before heading to Jacksonville to help out my mom, and to see my dad who's going on his fifth day in ICU at the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune.

I was very taken aback when I first saw my dad. His hair was as long as I've ever seen it (he's a 30-year retired marine—"high and tights" were always the order of the day). His hair was all sticking up, and he had a gray, and reddish (surprisingly), very scruffy beard situation going on, his eyes were a little wild-looking, almost child-like, and his speech was slurred. My first thought was, "My god," and then, "He looks like an older version of my brother," followed by, "He doesn't look at all good."

My sister had been there since 2AM Tuesday morning, when my mom called her crying for some help. My dad went in with severe gout in his right hand, and in both feet—to the point that he screamed when the bed sheet touched them. Once there, they also diagnosed renal shutdown to a critical level, and then worked on diagnosing chest congestion that has been going on for three months now.

To top it all off, he's experiencing frequent bouts of ICU psychosis, which, evidently, is quite common, but to friends and loved ones who have never witnessed it, it's quite frightening.

My dad, just as serious as ever, called my mom over to the bed, and whispered, "This is all a conspiracy. You've got to help me get out of here. That man over there? Call 9-1-1. He's supposed to come over and help me get out of here, but he's not coming. Call 9-1-1!"

And another time he said, "This is a make-shift ICU unit. It's a very good make-shift ICU unit, but it's not real. Get my clothes so I can get out of here."

Those particular incidents happened when I wasn't there. When I was there, he called me over to his bed to help him get out of the bed. Fortunately my mom had warned me about this, that on a previous day, he called her over and said, "Put that down," pointing to the bars at the foot of the bed. And when you look at him, because you're perplexed at what and why he's asking, he raises his voice, and says, "Put it down!" The thing is, though, he's so serious, and you think he knows what he's saying, until you figure out where it's going.

So, he called me over to his bed, and he starts lifting his leg up, and says, "Help me get out. Put that bar down," indicating the side bar by his leg.

Mom started shaking her head back and forth letting me know it was "an incident," and I said, "Dad, you can't get out of bed."

"What??? I have to pee," he said looking at me like it was the most natural thing in the world that of course he had to get out of bed to go pee.

"Okay, just stay there, we'll get the corpsman."

"Well you'd better hurry up!" he said a little wildly.

It was all just so disconcerting.

What made this especially trying is that my dad is the quintessential jokester. And so, when they were asking him questions to assess how lucid he was, when he was having "an episode" he gave nonsensical answers, but when he was lucid, and being his joking / prankster self, the questioning went like this one time:

Doc: "Can you tell me that last four digits of your social?"
Dad: [State them correctly.]

Doc: "What was your rank when you retired?"
Dad: "Sergeant Major." [Correct.]

Doc: "And where are you now?"
Dad: "I'm in I-C... I-C-E... something like that."

Doc: "And what's this overall place called?"
Dad: [Looks confused.]
Doc: "This place. Where would you expect to see people dressed like this (indicating her doctor's uniform)?"
Dad: [Still trying to figure out what she's getting to] "I don't understand what you're asking."
Doc: "The building that we're in, what's that called?"
Dad: "Sears and Roebuck."

However, it seemed to both me and my mom that he was saying that to be funny, which is so like he would "normally" do. I was ambivalent: on the one hand I welcomed the part of him that I know, but on the other hand I was thinking, "Oh, this is so not the time to go for the laugh."



Mom and I stayed with him from about 7:30PM until about 10:00PM. During the day he had made good progress in the area of his kidneys returning back to as normal as they get, which is not full-functioning, but better than the level to which they had degraded. It was enough progress to remove his catheter and he was making urine regularly and a good amount.

He was in and out of it in terms of being lucid, though, and he received a "breathing treatment," as he's having a lot of trouble breathing. There are various things they're doing for that, and what I witnessed was a mask over his mouth and nose for about 10-15 minutes, and his bed set on vibrate, neither of which looked very comfortable.

We left him sleeping at about 10:00, and mom and I went home, where she had the most sleep, by far, that she's had in the last four days, sleeping for 11 hours.

When my dad first went in, he would call her in the middle of the night when he woke up. The second night he was there, I think it was, he called her at 2AM and said, "Come pick me up. They're discharging me."

This was before she was aware of the psychosis, and of course she found out once she got to the hospital (about a 20-minute ride), that no one was being discharged at two o'clock in the morning. He called again the next night in the middle of the night. After that, she had them move his phone away from his bed.

When my sister arrived on Tuesday, and she and my mom ended up staying there, sleeping in the ICU with him, as if people experiencing this psychosis have family members around when they wake up and are most disoriented, it's the thing that helps them calm down the most.

So, it was good for her to have a sound night's sleep away from the hospital.



Editorial comment: I know this entry is not very well-written. I'm tired. It was a lot to relate, and it's been several days now, since it actually happened. I just wanted to capture my thoughts and feelings of the day in general.
Tags: family, health, travel, work
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