It has been a month since my dad died. I miss him everyday and I keep thinking I should call him since I haven't heard from him in a while. When I try to really grasp the concept that he is gone...really gone I can't breath.
On the Tuesday after Labor Day I got a call from the nursing home saying they were taking dad to the hospital to get him checked out. His oxygen level was low and he didn't look good. I knew right away that something wasn't OK. Dad had been in and out of the hospital a handful of times over the years but usually only during the night or on weekends. Not during the middle of a day when the nursing home or his doctor can handle most things.
The ER decided to admit him to the ICU. The nurse said that he was septic but they were still waiting on tests to figure out where the infection was and get it treated. He was awake and talking and they thought he looked OK. He is a high risk patient with his blood pressure, diabetes, weight, etc so the ICU was so that they could manage all those things.
I asked Bret if he thought things were serious and he never really had a solid answer. The general census was that things were OK but that they could be serious. I called my sister who lives three hours away and it took me several calls, texts, and messages on Facebook to get a hold of her. She was in the movies. I think that because I couldn't get a hold of her immediately by the time I did talk to her I was in a sort of panic with no explanation. Without me having to ask her or tell her what I thought my sister said "I am coming, right now". It was such a relief and I am so thankful that she did.
I called my brother and he said "call me if it gets serious". I called my aunt who was close to my dad and she got very upset and told me that we should think about what we would want to do for arrangements if it came to that. I remember thinking at the time that we were no where close to that point and it was very strange that she brought it up. I was very taken aback.
The doctor found that dad had a UTI and his blood tested positive for infection all though not the same strand. The antibiotics were working and he was looking and feeling much better. Katie, our spouses, and I spent a lot of time visiting and hanging out with dad on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. By Thursday they were discharging dad out of the ICU to the regular floor with plans to send him home Friday. Katie decided to head home on Thursday with plans to come back the following week once dad was back in the nursing home.
When Katie went to see dad on Thursday before heading home dad had lunch brought in. Shortly after he finished eating he started to get sick. Between coughing and throwing up his food dad started to choke and couldn't breath. Katie ran to the nurses station and got help. When she came back to grab her things from my house before leaving she told me about it and that it really scared her.
Dad had been having trouble keeping food down for over a month. His doctor thought a lot of it had to do with him eating lying down more recently. They were treating him for the nausea and vomiting and it was getting better. He was also making a point of getting out of bed into his wheel chair to eat more regularly too. At the hospital they decided to have him not get any more food until they did a swallow study to see if they could figure out what was going on.
I went to see him on Thursday night on the regular floor and he said he wasn't really hungry so he was fine. I had to leave because we were having the Emily's cheerleading team and their families over for an end of the year party that evening. I told him that I would bring the kids to see him the next day.
On Friday morning they took dad to get the swallow study done and found nothing. He was cranky at lunch so they brought him a tray.
Bret got home on Friday around 12:30 because the clinic is closed Friday afternoons. I spent the morning cleaning up from the night before and was getting the kids ready to go see dad after lunch. Bret and I were sitting in our room talking about our plans for the weekend when Bret got a call. Within a minute I got a call also. Dad had the same thing happen after eating his lunch and passed away.
It was such a shock. He was supposed to go home that day. I thought we had more time.
I have so many regrets, I wish I had done more, I miss him so much.
Everything that happened after felt like a whirlwind. Here we are a month later and it felt like yesterday.
My feelings and emotions are so complicated. Taking care of dad and being the only one here with him was hard and took up so much time. He was a complicated guy and sometimes we struggled with this new role in each others' lives. At the end of the day I know how much he loved me and I know that he knew how much I loved him. I pray that he is at peace.
What caused my dad's death could have happened at anytime at the nursing home. Instead he was sent to the hospital for something completely out of no where and unrelated. This hospital visit was a chance for my sister and I to spend some time with my dad before he died that we would never have gotten otherwise. I am considering it a gift and such a blessing to have those last few days. Everyday is a gift.
The love and support we received from our family and friends was overwhelming. The cards, texts, phone calls, flowers, memorials, meals, and prayers were so appreciated.