Monday, April 30, 2012

When it rains it pours? Try a freaking monsoon.

I would not say that 2012 has really been the best of years.  I know there is a lot of year left, but the next 7 months have a lot of dazzling to do to convince me that 2012 wasn't a huge pain in my ass.  Those who know me well know that I don't like to complain but I swear if I didn't complain about this year, I don't think I would have anything to say.  As usual, the trials in my life invite me to really ask myself what I can do to improve myself and I what I can learn from the situation.  I'm still chewing on that one.

After the Summer of Surgeries last year, Bill and I were really hoping for some reprieve.  Unfortunately, 2012 started off with Dad having a knee replacement and hasn't slowed down.  Dad's knee replacement went well.  In February I had a second bunionectomy on my left foot.  I had my left and right repaired in college but they've grown back.  I started having a ton of pain in my left foot last year and after a lot of exploration it was determined that the bunion had to go if I wanted to feel better.  Walking is pretty important, so we had it fixed February 1st.  I recovered at home for a month and then went back to work on a knee scooter for another month.  We all got sick halfway through my month at home, me with the worst sinus infection I've ever had.  We rotated illnesses and we sick for almost a month.

Going back to work caused some anxiety but I had a lot of help and it turned out not to be a big deal.  We were coasting along when we got some bad news about Dad.  Despite the knee replacement, his pain in his hip had not subsided so Dad had some x-rays done and it was determined that he had 3 aneurysms in his pelvis and required surgery as soon as possible.  It was expected that he would be in ICU post surgery for about 2-3 days and then out of OHSU in a week.  Dad went in on April 17th and was in surgery about 11 hours.  Overnight he took a turn for the worse and they reopened him the next day to see if they could determine the problem.  Nothing was found, and he returned to ICU.  He suffered from ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) and his body basically went into shock from the blood loss during surgery.  He has been on a ventilator for almost 2 weeks.  They will be putting in a trachea breathing apparatus as the ventilator is very uncomfortable and they usually don't like patients to have one more than 10 days.

His lungs have improved significantly in the last week, and as the fluid they gave him during surgery and immediately after continue to drain, doctors expect he will make a full recovery.  But it is going to take time.  Each day they tell us that he will be in ICU at least another week or two, but that time frame has never gone down as the days pass.   His other body systems are improving, but we don't expect he'll be able to leave the hospital sooner than a month from now.  After that, he'll need to go to a rehab facility to regain his strength before he goes home.

He can't talk to us.  He's been very sedated to keep him calm as the ventilator is uncomfortable and can cause patients to panic.  He's restrained so that he doesn't pull the tube out.  When he wakes, he can look at us and he knows we're there, but he falls back asleep almost immediately.  As his family, it is hard to see that he is improving because we don't understand the numbers or how the machines work, but we trust the doctors and nurses and know that he is getting excellent care.  One of Kate's nurses while she was in ICU last year was Dad's nurse for a couple of days last week.

To say we've been worried and stressed and anxious would be an understatement.  Kate flew into Portland the day after surgery to be with Dad but had to leave a week ago.  Now she has just as much worry only she has to do it from thousands of miles away.

To top it all off, Camille has hand, foot and mouth disease.  This is not really all that big of a deal, she just has to stay home from school for a couple of days so Bill will be home with her since I'm out of leave.  But until we know I'm not going to get it and be contagious, I have to stay home from the hospital.  I can't risk giving Dad any nasty germs.  Staying at home when I want to check on him is really hard.

So, there you have it.  We've been so blessed to have colleagues that are supportive and friends that offer love and help whenever they can.  We continue to pray that Dad will be home soon.  And I also have been sending up prayers that God will give us a break in the rain.