Dad Goes Back To The Hospital

Dad’s heart surgery was the first week of July. My mom and dad’s anniversary was September 1st, and my mom’s birthday is September 7th. I planned a surprise party to celebrate both occasions. I told dad the party was just for mom’s birthday and asked if he would get her out of the house for a few hours so I could decorate, get the food ready and have time for the guests to arrive. He agreed and took mom shopping at the mall which always took several hours.

By the time mom and dad returned to their home, family members and all their neighborhood friends were there. We surprised both mom and dad and everyone had a really nice time. Dad ate, drank, laughed and seemed to have a lot of fun. He had been making great progress with his recovery. Everything seemed pretty much back to normal for him except he complained of being cold all the time.

A few weeks after the party, dad started having flu-like symptoms but he wouldn’t go to the doctor because he was afraid they would want him to go back to the hospital. Mom and dad had a spare room dad called his “war room” because he kept all his military pictures in there and he would go there to watch old war movies. Dad was a marine and served in World War II. He loved talking about the marines and watching anything to do with what the marines did. He would sit in his “war room” all day wrapped up in a blanket shivering, but refused to go to the doctor. At night, if he couldn’t sleep, he would go back to the “war room” and continue watching his war movies. This went on for days and dad was getting weaker and weaker with each passing day. I called my brother’s to ask them to come over and try to talk dad into going to the doctor. They tried but still dad refused.

Then, one night, mom called me in a panic asking me to come over right away because dad was having a hard time breathing. I told her I was on my way and to call the paramedics. When I arrived, the paramedics were ready to load dad on the stretcher to take him to the hospital and mom was about ready to have another stroke. I told mom to get in my car and we would follow the ambulance to the hospital which we did. When we arrived dad was immediately admitted and tests were started. Of course, mom and I stayed the night sitting with dad as often as we were allowed to be in the room. I called my brother’s and told them dad was in very bad shape and said they might want to come to the hospital.

The next day, we were told dad had staff infection throughout his sternum and it would need to be removed. The doctors wanted dad to be on massive amounts of antibiotics for at least a day before they did the surgery to reduce the risk of any further infections as a result of the upcoming surgery to remove his sternum. Mom and I stayed around the clock with dad. My mom’s sister and her boyfriend came out from Pennsylvania to help in any way they could. Shantel was still in school but Bill was able to change his work hours to get her on the bus and I would run home long enough to get her off the bus when she got home and bring he back to the hospital with me until Bill could come up and take her back home in the evening.

The more antibiotics dad received the more confused and disoriented he became. He was already on a blood thinner because of the heart surgery and we thought that because prior to the heart surgery, dad hadn’t ever taken any medications, now his body just couldn’t handle the amounts he was getting. Little did we know it was much more serious than that.

Dad started saying planes were landing on the battle field and we needed to be careful not to get in the way so we wouldn’t get hurt. He would say things like that for a while, then he would talk perfectly normal. When it came time for me to leave to pick-up Shantel. I told dad I needed to leave but would be right back.  He told me to drive carefully. I said I would and I left.

When I walked into my house the phone was ringing. It was the hospital. They said I needed to get back to the hospital right away. They said dad had just had a massive stroke and my mom needed me to get back there now. I grabbed Shantel and off we went. When we arrived at the hospital, dad had been moved into a private room.  He was not responding at all and his breathing was very, very heavy and labored. Almost as if air was being forced into his lungs then just rushing out on its own. He was not on any machines because mom wouldn’t let that happen. Mom and dad had living wills stating very clearly they didn’t ever want to be kept alive with machines. I called my brothers and within the hour everyone was at dad’s bedside. Mom was beside herself and we were all very worried she might have another stroke too.

The doctors said dad was basically brain-dead and there was no more they could do for him. They said a Social Worker would be in soon to help us make arrangements to take dad to a Hospice Center if that is what we wanted to do.

Next: The Night My Father Died!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gotham Girl
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:39:45

    Sorry that I can’t remember this…were you still working at the time? xoxo love following this along, but love you MORE!


  2. Tracie Blackwell
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:24:49

    My goodness Cindy…you’ve always had your hands full but at the same time were the rock that held everything together.


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