Sunday, May 09, 2004

Long, Raw, and Way More Info Than You'd Probably Want.....

Last week was a very long week, and I'm glad it's over, but there's still more to come, none of which I'm ready for, nor do I really want to face.

My father is 79 and has had many strokes and other life threatening ailments throughout his life - most happening in the last 20 years. He lives with my brother and gets around pretty well - being quite self-sufficient, but still needs someone to keep an eye on him, as he has a habit of being forgetful and leaving things on - including the stove. He does some odd things, and has been getting a little more "unusual" and needs watched a bit more, so the arrangement at my brothers works pretty well.

At the beginning of the week, DH went to my brother's to work on our Explorer. The work well together, and sometimes I think it's more the need for male bonding than for help :-) That evening, DB had to do an errand and told DH he wouldn't be back for about 2 hours. A few minutes after DB left, my father went to get out of his chair, and had terrible pain in his hip. He tried to get it to work out, but instead it got worse, so he called down to my DH to come help. DH ended up calling the ambulance thinking it was either dislocated or something possibly worse like cracked or broken. DH called me and asked if I wanted to go to the hospital, or should he just go down and have my other brother meet him there. I suggested it's best he go, as it would throw him a good hour off, and they may need someone there for answering questions or paperwork, med. info, or something until my other DB gets there. DB only lives 5-10 minutes from the hospital, so he should have been there when the ambulance got there, or a bit after.

Well, DB (who lives by the hospital) decided he didn't have to show up since DH was there, and DH was left "holding the ball". Anyhow - DB #1 gets home to a house that's locked and didn't have his key, as he didn't need it since everyone was there and should have been when he got back, so he took over 20 minutes to finally find a way in (and a little repair work to do), to find a note that told him all that our Dad was in the hospital. He called me and I told him to wait and see what was going on, in case DH was on his way home with my dad - or to at least hear from him when he knew something.

Making a long story short, DH was with Dad until almost 2am - told DB#1 not to come down, since they were admitting him, there was nothing more he could do. They found that he didn't have a hip problem, but an aneurysm of his artery behind his knee, and a blood clot below it. They would be doing tests the next morning and keeping him on blood thinner until then.

The next day, I called to find out what they found, but no real information was given, except they did a chest x-ray and would be doing other tests. At 1:30 that afternoon I called, and was told he was in another test, so I decided to call back later to see how they came out. I got online to check email, and do my online class, expecting them to have results by 3. I guess just about the time I got online, the hospital was trying to call, to say they had to operate. Well, come to find out, that was known in the morning, and that is what the test was for, but no one said that. DH came rushing home as soon as he found out and got us there before Dad went into surgery, but they wouldn't allow us to see him, as we were supposed to be there an hour before. However, all the other family came down from having seen him up until the time of his surgery. More mis-communication. UGH!!!

The operation was over 7 hours long - another thing they forgot to tell us, allowing us to believe it was just the clot that was to be taken out. HA! All 3 main branches of his arteries below his knee were clogged so badly that they couldn't open them. They ended up doing a graft, and weren't confident that it would work. This was all explained after the operation, and that's when we found that it was not only a clot, but a very big possibility of a limb removal.

Days have gone by, spending my 40th as well as every other day in the hospital, visiting Dad and trying to get answers. The graft has worked some, but his toes are now black and they as well as part of his foot has no warmth to it, although now he can move his toes. Tomorrow is the deciding day of what they will do. According to the nurses, it looks like it is an almost probable removal. Dad thinks it's only his toes, but according to what I understand it will still be just below the knee, as there weren't really any good arteries, except for a couple of small ones that weren't clogged, and he felt that wasn't going to be promising to keep that whole leg alive and well.

Another bit of good news is that he has an aneurysm behind the other knee as well, so this will happen to the other leg in time, which means another operation on the other leg.

There does not appear to be any good outcome to this situation, and now he is running a fever, doesn't have an appetite, and is very quiet. I'm worried about infection, and depression. He's watched many family members including his parents lose their legs, from complications of diabetes, so he knows what the future holds.

If he does have the leg removed, he will be forced to be wheelchair bound - making it very difficult for DB#1 to take care of him. DB#2 said he can't and won't as he has other obligations (can't figure out what - as he has no kids, can't hold a job or anything else), and DS can't as she has a husband with a bone condition and a mother to take care of. That leaves it to DB#1 and me. With a wheelchair, Dad can't stay here - there is just no way to get back to the bedrooms or bathroom. My Grammy stayed here when she was ill, and had to be carried to bed and to the bathroom as the hall and doorways were too narrow. We have one working vehicle, so I can't go help him till DH comes from work - unlike DB#2 who has a car that my father bought him just a month or so ago.

My father is frustrated with DB#2 - as he hasn't visited him since the operation and feels that since he is going to be taxed with hospital bills, Dad won't have the $ he used to give to him. Sadly, that's the only time he's around is when he needs something from someone. It frustrates me to no end, and I keep praying he will prove me wrong on that kind of thinking, but so far, not. :-(

This post is way too long, and way too informative, but I needed to air it. Everyone I can talk to is way too close to the situation, having their own thoughts and feelings to deal with, and I don't need to add any more to theirs. Please keep my father in your prayers, as he is really going to need them. I keep hoping for a miracle, but as time goes on and his toes get darker, I don't really see one coming. I don't know how this fits into God's plans, but I won't question them - but accept and try to help the best I can.