Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Things for Which I'm Thankful

It's been over a month since my last update. It's been a very busy time; Daddy has really had a rough time in the past few weeks.

On October 28 he had a radiofrequency ablation performed. It seemed to take care of the extreme nerve pain he'd been suffering in his lower back, but the injection sites were very painful and didn't seem to be improving.

On November 7 I took him to the doctor who treats his rheumatoid arthritis (a regular follow-up for his RA). When Daddy told the doctor that he was still having injection site pain, he asked if Dad was still taking his pain meds as prescribed for his RA. Actually, it had been having such a bad effect on him (drowsy, weak, apathetic) that Mom had weaned him down to half his regular dose. The doctor insisted that he be given the full dose as prescribed.

So, Mom gave him the full dose that day; the following morning he couldn't even transfer himself from the couch to a wheelchair. He fell in the floor, and Mom and I couldn't lift him; he was dead weight. We had to call in friends to help us get him back on the couch. What a nightmare!

On the following Friday (November 15), he and Mom had a lab appointment to have their blood work done for an upcoming regular checkup with their primary care physicians. I took them to the lab (and then to another doctor's appointment for a small skin cancer on Daddy's nose), then we took him back home. He got back on the couch, exhausted, and said he'd take a nap while Mom and I went to run a few quick errands.

When we returned from our rounds, we ate a Chinese take-out lunch and rested a few moments. I planned to come back the next morning to help Mom with cleaning their dog's enclosure and such, so I said I'd go on home and do a bit of household drudgery.

As I reached the end of their driveway, I heard Mom shout my name. I stopped the car and she ran up to the window. Dad's primary care physician had called and said that his lab work showed that he was extremely anemic and to get him to the ER as quickly as possible.

The next three days were a blur of tests and transfusions. We learned that his hemoglobin was down to 7.1 (should be 12). They gave him a total of 3 pints of blood over that weekend. He went through periods of confusion which was really frightening for us all.

Mom stayed at the hospital with him at night; I came home and fell into bed each night then was up and out the door early each morning to go back to the hospital

An EGD revealed that his stomach lining was very irritated (probably from pain meds he's been taking for the past year), he had a hiatal hernia (which we already knew about), he had a small polyp in the top of his small intestine (which didn't seem to be an item for concern), and a couple of spider veins in the small intestine that were probably the source of the blood loss. The gastroenterologist said that he wanted to do a colonoscopy as soon as Daddy's stronger, but that he didn't want to do it while he was so weak.

On Monday afternoon (November 18), they moved him from the hospital to a rehabilitation center. Because of all the inactivity in the past year due to the back pain, his back, arms, and legs had become so weak that he couldn't walk properly any more.

For several days he didn't seem to be making much progress; I feared that he'd simply given up. Then suddenly yesterday was a better day. He'd done well in his physical therapy session and his appetite finally perked up. I'm hopeful that this is the turnaround we've been anticipating.

So Thanksgiving is going to be different in my little world this year. Instead of the usual overabundance of home-cooked goodies, Mom and I will go to the rehabilitation center to have turkey and dressing with Daddy there. Even so, there are many things for which I'm thankful. I have a loving family, good friends, good health, and a sometimes-slightly-insane cat to keep me company. I have a comfortable apartment where I feel cozy and safe. I have my knitting to keep me centered and sane. I have a gorgeous grandson in Australia who likes to laugh with me on Skype.

And Daddy's slowly getting better. Yes, I'm thankful for all these things and a host of other things too numerous to list.

Sometimes life is tough, but there's always something in our lives that deserves a little gratitude. I hope that you all have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, and take a moment from the turkey and football to give a bit of thanks!


Debra Senft said...

It's hard when we have to start taking of our parents. I will be praying for you and your family.

I am looking for my father's family. His name was Willard Sweeney and he was killed in a coal mine in Clinchco, Va. in 1959.

Please e-mail me if you can help, I think we are cousins. sendb6@aol.com

Debra Senft said...

Hope he is doing better. I know how hard it is to have to start taking care of a parent. I will be praying for you and your mom and dad.