I am guessing you have already seen some of my random posts and/or updates about Dad this year, but I have been asked this question a number of times, so figured it easier and more clear/consistent to write briefly about it. I toyed with doing a video, but that’s NOT my forte, so figured I’d go the writing route. The question I have been asked many times is this:
WTF HAPPENED TO GIL?!
I ask myself that question all the time honestly, especially this year. But I’m not going to write a full biography here, just a summary of how my Dad’s 2017 has gone. Here’s a hint – NOT very good at all.
The timeline for this year has been as follows:
January 10 to March 4 (53 days)
This was for his scheduled VP shunt “revision” (which is a fancy way of saying that the drain in his head required for fluid buildup needed a tune-up). This required cutting into his head (where the shunt is) and his abdomen (where the drain ends up). They basically had to replace the plumbing on it – slightly more invasive than having your oil changed. It was a tough post-surgery recovery for him – spent many days in ICU and was unresponsive to the point of having a discussion about his DNR with the ICU doctor. That said, he did recover and then spent 15 days at Marionjoy Rehabilitation Center for “acute” rehab and then about 3 weeks at Rosewood in St. Charles for “sub-acute” rehab.
MARCH 4, 2017 – Dad gets to go home!!!
I picked him up around mid-morning and we grabbed some lunch on the way back to Heritage Woods, which is the assisted living place that he has an apartment at. That night he called me as he was happy in his comfy chair watching basketball on his big TV (the ones at Rosewood seems to be about the size of an iPad mounted on the wall). Sunday afternoon we spent at my house, in the garage, going through boxes of his stuff that I had pulled from storage so we could sort through it. That was a really good afternoon – he got to hold Stella (our puppy) for a while, eat some Portillos, and we made 4 piles from his stuff – 1 to go back to his place, 1 to keep at my place, 1 to donate to Goodwill, and 1 for garbage. He chilled in his chair and it was pretty funny the stuff we uncovered, including Mom’s ID from West Suburban Hospital and the original mortgage from their house in Oak Park. Crazy stuff. Anyway, that was a good, albeit tiring, afternoon.
March 7th to TODAY (15 days and counting)
Now we are starting the WTF part of the discussion. The morning of March 7th, about 7A Dad called me (which is not uncommon) and said he was having some diarrhea and could I bring some medicine over for him. No problem – brought that right over, made sure he took the first dose, and chatted with his CNA about it. They had some “stomach bug” going around there, so in typical Dad fashion, he picked it up. I called him back around lunchtime to see if he was any better – not so much. He was breathing fast, not really answering my questions, and seemed confused. The CNA was in the room so I spoke to her – his heartrate was elevated, he was breathing fast, and seemed confused. So she shipped him out to Sherman Hospital. I have become pretty good and picking up on the intonations of medical professionals, and I detected concern in her voice, so I went to meet up with him. Dad successfully destroyed at least 2 bags full of linens with his “stomach bug”, but they didn’t like what they saw in his CT (which turned out to be an incorrect reading), so they felt it best to ship him to Delnor, which is where his neurosurgeon is based. While it was a bad read by the neurologist, the move to Delnor did make sense for my Dad overall.
I could write many pages about our 15 days so far at Delnor, but the short version is this: he entered on Tuesday, was slightly better on Wednesday into Thursday, started with some severe chest pains Thursday night and most of Friday (was not a heart attack), and then the downhill slide really started on Saturday. They did all sorts of tests, bloodwork, MRI, CTs, ultrasounds, labs, etc – and they found NOTHING remarkable. No “smoking gun” on what was causing his issues. His health deteriorated over that week and last Saturday we were left with a decision on if we wanted to attempt a repeat of the surgery that was done in January. Given his health and mental status, it was very risky at best with a very questionable outcome. So we decided not to do that, and Dad started hospice on Saturday, which is where we are now as I write this.
Since I’m a numbers/data guy, I did some math. As of today (3/22), there have been 80 days in 2017. Of those 80 days, Dad has spent 68 of them in some sort of health-related facility. That is exactly 85% of the year. While he has received some stellar care in that timeframe, it makes me sad that more of this year was not able to be spent at home, in his comfy chair, watching his big TV, listening to his music on his Amazon Echo. I won’t get all philosophical on that point right now – maybe another time. I share that to give you some perspective on how 2017 has shaped up for Dad. So quit your bitchin’! 🙂
That is my report for now. Maybe more another time. Back to chillin’ with Dad…