Western education 2013

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

.....when the phone rings....

....and wakes you out of a deep slumber, you know it can't be good. "Your Dad has fallen and has hit his head", the nurse tells me through the fog. I pull myself up and note the time is 7:44 am. She continues, "Your Dad struck his head after tripping on his feet. He was chatty and joking around and suddenly he was down". I am dumbfounded when she tells me that he is lethargic and that is vitals are dropping. She is calling to let me know that he will be taken to hospital by ambulance and would I like her to call me to let me know where he will be. Of course she can and I hang up the phone on my way to the shower. Max let's me know a few minutes later that he has gone to UH.

I drive Lydia and Amber to school and wave to Shelley as we pull into the parking lot. It is now work traffic and I try to pick the fastest route to the hospital that does not involve construction....but it still takes 40 minutes to get there and find parking. I glance at the wall clock after entering into Pod A in the Emergency department where Dad is in bed 4. In April, he was nestled in bed 2 with pneumonia. I bent down to kiss Dad and noted how cool he felt to the touch. Even his hands were cold??? They are always soft and warm to the touch. I sit down after speaking briefly with the intern. He wants to know some medical history and I oblige him. I look up at the clock again and it is now 9:25. I look over to Dad and watch as the color completely drains from his face and the distant clouded look of his eyes as they begin the roll upwards. "DAD, DAAAAAD, DAAAAAAADDDDDDY!!!! STAY WITH ME! SOMEONE HELP US!!!!". The monitor is flashing orange, a big 0 and a long beep tells us he has flatlined. The staff are moving in and I catch my breath....the tears are falling and I am wiping them away. Dad is moving in the bed now and the beeping has resumed. I am able to rejoin him within minutes and no sooner do I sit down but I can hear the monitor beep begin to slow, Dad's palor change and the eyes rolling back. "DAD!!!! DADDDY!!??". The staff have returned and the activity has me moving out of the way while the staff are busy trying to evaluate the second incident. The male nurse witnessed this second event as it was happening. An X-ray machine is moved bedside to rule out pneumonia which he has been treated twice for since April. The tears are coursing down my face for the second time in as many minutes. Again, his heart has restarted on its own and he is now sitting up in bed and cracking his first of many witty remarks of what would prove to be a very long day.

The staff just thinks he is so sweet. I am his buddy and I feel so helpless standing by. I call to him and he waves to me. Later he will ask me if his heart stopped. I tell him yes and then listen while he asks me if I can hear the voices speaking in a language he does not understand. He tells me that he almost touched the ceiling.....the ceilings are at least 9 feet tall...I believe Dad had experienced an out of body experience. I asked him if he had seen me holding his hand and he said no, because he could almost reach the ceiling. I noted the calm in his demeanor and the cloudy far off look. I checked Dad over as much as I could and I have not found any bumps or bruises, just a minor rub on his elbow from what could have been caused by sliding on the floor - the skin has rolled showing he slid on it. He did not complain about any pain?? I believe that his heart likely stopped prior to his fall at the residence. They thought the fluctuating and dropping vitals may have been the result of a head trauma but where was the bruising? Swelling? An intern from Cardiac came in to evaluate Dad where they had moved him to a cardiac triage unit. He gently squeezed Dad's Carotid artery in his neck and we watched as his blood pressure dropped and then went back up when he released the mild pressure. He called for an ECG using ultra sound. The technician arrived at 2:30 and spent the next 1/2 hour going through a full evaluation of the heart valves and chambers. It was fascinating watching the valves open with each beat from so many different angles. In one series of pictures you could see the Venus blood and arterial blood enter and leave the chambers of the heart. I had to help keep Dad in place while they completed their examination. By 3:15, the warmth was coming back into his external limbs and I no longer had to ask for warm sheets to cover him with. Poor Dad, so many holes poked into him to take blood and give IV fluids. Never mind the dozen or so sensor tabs and the two external defib pads that had to be removed....and all the hair!!! Sarah Brown dropped by earlier in the afternoon with a wonderful packed lunch which i shared with Dad after getting the OK around 5. Just as he was finishing up the last morsel, dinner arrived!! He Voraciously consumed the hospital offerings. By 7 pm when it was time for him to be loaded into the Voyageur patient transfer to go back home. The nurse had been on for 12 hours and the sharp tone in her voice bearing commands did not go over well when sundowners hit. I got his attention and placed my hand on his face while looking into those now crystal clear eyes. I love you so much Dad was all he needed to hear and quieted down. I helped to dress and stayed with him until the girls from transport arrived. I hugged the tired nurse, kissed Dad on his forehead and laughed as I walked down the hall when I heard him describe how rare the seat belts were that were used to buckle him in. I could hear the girls laughing with him as they rolled him down the hall. I met up with transport outside his residence and escorted him up to his room. After another snack and plenty of fluids, he was ready for bed. Gail helped me dress and ready him for bed. Night night Dad, sleep well!

It was a long day but I am ever so grateful to the staff at UH who were there for us, the ambulance attendant who wanted to hold my hand when the second incident started and especially to Sarah, whose kindness and help meant so much to my Dad, myself and our family in crisis - I love you so much. Xo

1 comment:

MysticalGemini said...

This is a beautiful blog and I am so happy that it had such a wonderful ending. I am glad that your dad was able to come home and that you were both given a new opportunity for growth in your relationship. Hopefully everyone is snug in their beds and fast asleep - or soon to be. You are an amazing daughter to your father and he is lucky to have you at his side.