Saturday, March 11, 2006

My Dad is a Pain in the Butt

Originally written on 09/12/03


My dad was in the hospital over Labor Day weekend. He was at work on Sunday and he went to the bathroom, sat down, and all this blood came out of him. Now if I was his age I would have called 911. Not him; he's going to drive himself to the hospital, but first he has to turn off the midrange computer at work. 15 minutes later he's in the bathroom again with more blood coming out of him. Now he's scared, but does he call 911? No, stubborn pain-in-the-butt that he is he gets in his car and drives to the hospital. Does he drive to the hospital just up the road from his business? No, of course not. He drives to the hospital where his fricken doctors are registered which is 20 minutes away.

In the hospital waiting room he goes to the bathroom again, more blood. They get him on a gurney and since he looks OK they're not rushing to give him blood or fluids just asking questions. Then the blood comes out of him on the gurney and it becomes like one of those emergency room reality shows where doctors and nurses are rushing all around sticking him with needles and barking orders. At that point he became very pale and lost consciousness.

It's 10:30 am and Donna and I are asleep. This is normal because we're not morning people. Last night we had attended a Rancho Marfil reunion and we were up kind of late. Some friends said that they would call the next day if they were available and when the phone range I didn't get up right away because I figured it was them and I was too tired. Fifteen minutes later I got up and listened to the message.

It was a friend of my parents calling from the church saying my Dad was on his way to the hospital and so was my Mom. Given this wording I wasn't quite sure which one of them was sick, but I had a feeling it was my Dad. I called Ed's house (no answer), Mom's cell phone (not turned on), Dad's cell phone (no answer), Lou was at the shore, and Aunt Betsy wouldn't have known any more than I did at that point, so I threw on some clothes, told Donna what I knew and drove to the hospital.

Mom was sitting in the waiting room and she was a basket case. They wouldn't let her in the emergency room because the nurses and doctors were still a flurry of activity creating the maze of tubes and needles around him. She told me that Ed was at Swan Harbor (his in-laws residence in PA) and she didn't have the number. When we finally got to see him he was very pale and barely conscious. When the admitting person came by she asked about insurance and Mom unloaded on her to the point that I had to intervene. (Don't get her started on her health insurance problems or you'll be talking with her about it for hours.)

Eventually his internal bleeding stopped and the activity around him started to slow down. Many fluids were dripping or being pumped into him, his doctor was there, he started waking up and looking less pale. They assessed the symptoms and concluded that a dyverticulitus polyp must have burst. (They produce a lot of blood and then eventually stop where as other kinds of bleeding in the intestinal system either don't shed so much blood or don't stop.) An angioplasty through the artery in his groin was inconclusive so they admitted him into ICU for observation.

Lou called me from the road crying and Ed drove home that night from Swan Harbor. We all went to dinner at the Bronze Stallion, which is normally very good, but on this particular night sucked. We tried to convince Mom to keep her cell phone turned on 24x7 but I don't think she quite grasped the concept. She didn't even know her cell phone number; we had to dig deep in the phone's memory for it.

The next day the nurses in ICU told us that he constantly bugged them and the doctors to let him go home. Dad spent 24 hours in ICU and then they moved him into a semi-private room. 24 hours after that he was out of the hospital and Uncle Hans drove him home. Mom had to hide his car keys because he wanted to go to work even though the doctors told him to take it easy for another 24 hours.

Apparently he's had some inkling that he had dyverticulitis for some time now and that he should stay away from seeds and nuts. Does this stop from eating poppy-seed bagels every day? Of course not, but all in all, he's doing OK now and I think he's now sticking to the advice. This week he worked a little too hard because they had a show.

Mom has some nausea from the injections but she hasn't lost any appetite and she's actually gained two pounds. I figure that if she ever does start to lose her appetite we could score her some medicinal weed.

Anyway, can't write more, gotta get back to making the doughnuts..

Love, Joe

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