Tuesday, May 19, 2009


So its been 2 weeks since the last post. Things are looking reasonably good. But I'll give the run down as things happened.

I was down here for 4 days before I headed back to Sydney. I wasn't really ready to go, but my uncle had to head back, and I'd gotten a ride with him, so I kind of had to. Plus Dad was reasonably stable, but still constantly sedated. And I needed to get back to some sort of routine to keep me as sane as possible.

Now, sane as possible really means functional. I stopped eating, and when I did eat it was a continual thing. Then I'd get nauseous and throw it all up again. I'd get panic attacks, want to sleep all the time if I wasn't working, and my libido has disappeared. My first day back at work was really rough. I was there for a week and for the remainder of the time, I was fixing simple mistakes I'd made on that first day back.

Dad had an MRI on Monday or Tuesday. It showed some damage to the area that controls motor control, cognition, speech, emotions, and learning.

On Wednesday the doctors asked permission to do a tracheostomy. This was done on Thursday, and he was left under sedation for the remainder of the day.

On Friday they let him come out from sedation. And he's been up ever since. I found out mid-morning and immediately arranged to head down for the whole of the next (which is really this) week. I was a bit scared because he seemed unresponsive. And we didn't know if it was because of the coma or the brain damage.

I got in Saturday night and went straight to the hospital. I felt bad because I was shocked and relieved at the improvement, and I started crying, and Dad seemed upset. He seemed to have difficulty focusing, and I didn't know how long that would last for, or if it would ever go away.

Since then he's been coming ahead in leaps and bounds. He still has the trach tube in, so can't really talk. But he did laugh at the fact that I have to wait til payday to be able to afford the trip back. He spoke to me today through the trach tube. I asked him how he was and he said 'yeah, good'. Lying bugger. I don't know how he'll go with recovery. He seems very weak, and he is in pain, serious pain. But he is moving around and lifting his ams. The nurse was amazed at how he's doing. The speech patholigist was there today, doing tests on his swallowing reflex. He may be able to have solid food this afternoon. Well, as solid as squishy processed fruit gets.

Its a relief to know that even though he's going to do it tough, he's still the same person inside. Pretty good to see it, considering the news I got 2 weeks ago.

****FURTHER UPDATAGE**** Dad got moved into rehab today. He's out of hospital wards altogether. woot!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Living Horror

The past few days have been hell on an epic scale. Dad's in ICU. He went in for a routine surgery. A knee reconstruction. He's had one before, with no complications. This time he had epic complications. At 5am yesterday, he was found not breathing, with a blood pressure so low it could barely register. Doctors took 45 minutes to resuscitate him. During that time he vomited and inhaled quite a lot of it. When they managed to stabilise him they called his partner and told her to bring all of the family in.

I got a call on my way to work. Not knowing how bad it was, I waited to hear an assessment from my sister. She rang at 9.20 and told me to come straight away. They didn't know if he'd survive the day. I literally dropped what I was doing and left. I said goodbye to my direct superior, got changed and literally ran out the door. I rang the head of my department as I headed towards the train station.

11 hours of solid, gut wrenching travel ensued. With short breaks to pack, pee and eat a sandwich. I lost it packing my black dress. Absolutely chucked a foot stamping crying tanty. My Dad's only 60. He had his birthday last September. He didn't have grandkids. I'm 25. Too young to bury my dad.

I lost it driving to Canberra to meet my uncle. Remembering how I'd thought to call him on Sunday after the gym, but decided to do it later. Then remembering how I'd received a text from him on Monday telling me he was having surgery, and deciding to call him that night. Now it was Tuesday and I didn't know if I'd ever get to talk to him again. I was crying so hard that I could barely keep my eyes open, but I kept driving. I could not stop. I was well over the speed limit, but I didn't care. If I got a fine, but got home quicker, it would have been worth it. But even if I got pulled over I was reasonably sure I could cry my way out of it.

I lost it when I met my uncle. First family hug since hearing the news. My first words were 'I can't believe this is happening. It was all so fast. We drove down together.

He was still with us when we got to the hospital. I lost it when the doc explained what had happened. It seemed the immediate threat to his life had passed. But they didn't know how long he'd been without oxygen. And because it took so long to stabilise him, there was a 'possibility, more likely a probability' that he'd have brain impairment. They had no idea as to the extent. And his lungs weren't working properly, so his blood oxygen levels weren't high enough to support repair of any areas that had been affected.

This morning he was pretty much the same. But they did lighten his sedation enough to do some quick neuro checks. He can nod 'yes' and shake head 'no'. He can twitch his toes and squeeze hands when asked. We don't know if he can speak. He is still intubated. He remains on maximum life support, heavily sedated. They won't know about his brain function until they can take him to do brain scans, and right now he's too unstable to attempt to put him on a portable ventilator to take him to the scan.

We've been at the hospital all day. The past 2 days feel like a lifetime. Mum's tiny 3 bedroom house is housing 5 people. I'm sharing a bed with Mum and she's a snoring bed/blanket hog. Tonight I'm going to sleep on the floor. I'm tired. Emotionally drained and in need of a good cry and a very long sleep. I don't know if I can update here, but Kez can update in comments.

Do me a favour guys. If your parents are still around, give them a big hug for me. If they're too far away, please call them. They won't be here forever.