My dad's health has rapidly deteriorated since my last post. The events of this past week are so jumbled in mind, I feel the need to document what I remember now, before it's completely lost.
Last Sunday night, my sister and I watched the Packers with Dad in his hospital room. His chest still hurt like hell from the compressions, but he was in good spirits, and even talked about coming home after dialysis the following day. I was skeptical, but it didn't seem out of the question.
I think that next round of dialysis happened Monday, but like I said, my memory is hazy, it could have been Tuesday. Whatever day it was, his heart just couldn't take it. He was moved to ICU and things have been critical since. His heart rate skyrocketed and he couldn't breathe. It was brutal watching him struggle. I told him all the things I wanted him to know. I'd said them all before, but I wanted him to hear them again-it felt like that time. His breathing eventually became so labored, the doctors put him on a breathing tube.
The doctors dropped a camera down the breathing tube to take a picture of my dad's heart. The results showed his heart valve (a whole other medical odyssey) wasn't functioning. He was transferred to a different hospital for surgery, and we had renewed hope. The surgery was postponed a day because his blood was too thin. They got the blood where they wanted it, and the next day was a go. They told us the operation would take 5-6 hours, so when the surgeon came out to the waiting room after an hour, I knew something was up. They had taken another picture of the valve before, and this time the valve looked perfectly fine. The surgery was aborted. This was crushing news; we were back where we'd started.
In the midst of all this, I wanted to keep Christmas as normal as possible for the girls. My family took a break from the hospital, and we managed to have a nice Christmas Eve at our house. Meg and I watched It's a Wonderful Life and got things ready for Christmas morning. We did all the normal things: presents, egg dish, monkey bread. The girls had a good Christmas, and that means a lot to me.
I spent a couple hours at the hospital Christmas Day, and then Meg and I took the girls to her parents' place for Christmas dinner. I hadn't seen my father-in-law since he left the hospital, so it was good to spend some time with him. He was tired, but he's definitely on the road to recovery.
By the time I went to bed, my dad's breathing tube was out, and he was doing OK. I was hopeful. Then my cell phone rang at 4 A.M. Things had taken a turn for the worse during the night. I'm not good with the medical terminology, but in layman's terms, my dad's heart still wasn't working, and the doctors were out of ideas.
We moved my dad to hospice this afternoon. They don't do aggressive treatment in hospice, which means my dad will not be doing any more dialysis. The goal now is to make Dad as comfortable as possible. I don't know exactly when my dad's medical odyssey will finally end, but hopefully what I've written tonight will help me make sense of things down the road.