Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday, 25 Oct. 2009

Woot! Dad's doing better everyday. Yesterday he got his catheter out, and his oxygen taken off. His memory is still jumbled and his letters are still weird, but his attitude is all Dad. ^-^

He remembered that we had two dogs. But then he thought it was three dogs. Then back to two. He couldn't remember any names. He did know we had two cats, but we didn't ask him their names (since we haven't had them that long).

Mom asked him if she should get a cover for the pool this year, and he asked her what kind of pool we got. We've live in our house ten years, and (well, Mom and Dad) bought it with the in-ground pool. Still, like I said, his mind is jumbled. Anyway, she said it was in-ground, and Dad tried to remember, but couldn't. She suggested bringing some photos of it to show him, and he agreed to that.

So guess what I get to do? ^_^  Anyway, he also asked Mom for some things the day before, stuff to exercise his arms and mind. Mom gave him a two-pound weight to lift, and a Fill-In word puzzle. He did both, but got a headache after the Fill-In (though he'd just gotten a breathing treatment, too) and got tired fairly quickly after lifting it with his right hand a bit. Still, progress.

Today Mom said he was improving more and more, though he got "Loopy" when given Vicodin. She'd suggested Tylenol, but I guess they didn't realize how much the meds would affect Dad.

Anyway, things are looking up. Keep up the prayers and well-wishes, and we'll be getting out of this sooner than most consider possible. ^-^


- Kim

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday, 23 Oct. 2009

Yay!!!!   Dad's doing great. He knows who people are, and he's able to help the nurses move him around and everything. He also knows when he has to go potty, which is a good improvement according to his nurse.

He got moved from CCU to the fifth floor (I forget what it's called). But this does mean that he's getting better/stronger, and that he doesn't need as much medical attention as before. Everything is out except a few lines for IV, a couple meds, and his oxygen thing for his nose and wires to monitor his BP, HR, and O2 levels.

His memory is funky, going in and out on details. But he knows who people are and some things about them. Still, yesterday his friends from work visited in the morning and he'd forgotten by the time we got to the hospital (about 3 to 4 o'clock).

Mom said he was twitching his legs and complaining that he had to build his muscles up so he could walk. The physical therapist didn't really work with him yesterday, but he did sit up in the chair again for about a half-hour.

Mom's going down after work today, so we'll see what happens then.

- Kim

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday, 21 Oct. 2009

When Mom and I walked into Dad's room, he was sitting up in a chair beside his hospital bed. His eyes were wide awake, aware even, and he definitely knew who we were.

We'd gotten there as he was eating his breakfast, and he'd already eaten most of his omelet. He then proceeded to drink all of his orange juice, and then dug into the fruit (I'm not sure if it was peaches or oranges, but something like that) with gusto. Sliced into the regular pieces that most people take two bites to eat, Dad speared two with his fork and stuffed them into his mouth. I tried to caution him that those bites were too big, but.... (*sigh*)

He then proceeded to drink everything within reach. He downed his milk, wanted his coffee--I dumped two creams in it as he prefers--and then kept slurping at his ice water, which only had his ice. They did give him some more water, but I know they didn't want to give him too much liquid just in case.

As he was eating (er, drinking, for the most part) the nurse asked him his last name, and he answered "Kawaguchi" easily enough. Then she asked him who I was, and he said, "Kimberly Kawaguchi." She looked at me to make sure. He thought the month was August, but when I said he'd just had his birthday, he realized it was October. He completely guess the year, saying it was 2031. Mom came back into the room (she'd had to have another potty break), and the nurse asked him who she was; he couldn't quite get her name out, but I think his brain was overworking that one.

Right when they were cleaning up his food tray, my brother and sister from PA came into his room. He knew who they were when asked, but instead of continuing the nod he started, he stopped that and said, "Nah," instead. Everyone laughed.

My sister showed him pictures of her three kids, and while he knew them, he was clearly surprised at how big they were and how old they appeared.

I left to let my grandparents have some time with him, and the next I knew was when everyone was asked out for them to take out the drainage tube in his lung. Dad's long-time friend, Kevin, arrived at this point.

Once people were let back in, my brother Craig and I went in to see him, and saw that he was undergoing some speech therapy. The lady was just asking him who we were when I said "Hi Dad." The lady then said, "Well, she just told you now." Then she asked who Craig was, and he said his name.

Our sister Steph (this one is from Pennslyvania... again, don't ask) came in at that point; they wanted to say goodbye before they left for the lunch date they had with our uncle. Mom and Kevin came in as soon as Craig and Steph took their leave, and though Steph left quickly, Craig loitered and shook Dad's hand on the way out when Dad made the first gesture.
The lady therapist said he was doing okay, talking clearly, but when you asked him what an object was, he kind of got confused. We saw it ourselves when she asked him what was on his feet (socks). His first answer was plastic, but when she said the worded start with an S, he got it.

There were other such things, but he knew my name (calling me "Kimberly" this time), and counting from one to ten. He didn't know all the objects when asked, and couldn't always remember even when told. Another of the [tests/games] he had to do was finish the saying.

The first one the lady tried was, "The grass is always greener...?" And Dad answered, "On the other side." He got "Never place all your eggs in one...?" Basket was the answer he couldn't get. But he got these: "Two bird of a feather...?" "Flock together." And "Kill two birds..." "With one stone."

Next the lady wanted to see if he could write.

His first try was the closest, spelling his name "T I R M." His second was weirder, and eventually he got too tried to try. The lady tried different ways, including spelling it for him and then writing it big, but he kept writing down Rs, but he has none in his entire name.... >_<

After that he was tired, and wanted to sleep, but his nurse wanted him to eat his lunch first. It came late, and while she told him if it wasn't there by 1:15pm, it came at 1:16pm, and he (not really patiently) waited that one minute. Oh, and was watching the clock very closely, and proved that he could tell the time.

Kevin left about this time, and Dad tried to shake his hand, but couldn't since his was stuck behind the tray. Once he ate (mostly just the turkey, and all of his pudding) he wanted to sleep. They helped him into bed. He slept well for a couple hours, until the x-ray guy came by. By this time, my grandparents, sister, brother and his family came back.

They went up to see him (I volunteered to stay with the baby, having already seen him eat twice today). I had to go up anyway because they said he asked for me. But when I got there he was already eating and didn't appear to really notice my appearance soo..... (^-^)

Anyway, I noticed he was eating his meat and veggies, but leaving the rice alone. He ate a bit of his soup (chicken noodle) but then a bite of his meat and veggies caused him to cough. Mom and Craig were all set to get the nurse, but he was still coughing (and it was clearing up) and his breathing ratings were holding steady. He didn't want anything else, including the bit of [cake/pie], but when Mom held up a container of vanilla ice cream, he went "Yumm..." Everyone laughed and Mom opened it to spoon it to him.

At that point I decided I'd seen him eat often enough to today {and I really wanted to finish this, due to technical difficulties} so I went back down to type on {Craig's} laptop. ^-^

I think that's all for today, and of course I'll update it further if I need to.

- Kim

Dad Today Sitting Up, Talking, and Laughing With Mom.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday, 20 Oct. 2009

When we got to Dad's room today, he was sleeping soundly. A nurse came in to see if he could make up, and though Mom was there, she had to visit the bathroom. As she left, she ordered me to help the nurse with Dad.

She was actually a speech therapist person, and was trying to get Dad to talk properly, and to see if he could swallow well enough (for ice cubes, water, food, etc.). First, though, Dad had to be awake fully for anything to be decided.

She called to him to wake up, open his eyes. He did but he didn't keep them open. I told him they wanted him to keep his eyes open, and he focused better on that. And he did. So the lady gave him some ice cubes, and when he did well with that, she moved on to thickened water, and even let him sip from the straw a little bit and eat some Jell-O. Dad had breathing exercises to do, blowing through a whistle (and trying to keep the tune, but he couldn't build his breath up to last longer than a second), and inhaling regularly to blow out a straw (it's to slow down his breathing, because he was taking shallow breaths).

Mom came back in, and we were talking to him, telling him about how they wanted him to stay awake for a while. The nurse still hadn't gotten him to talk or to say "Ah" like she wanted. Mom came in and said "Hi, Honey" and Dad took a deep breath (the deepest he'd taken yet) to say (probably "Hi, Honey" back) and he started coughing a bit. Sounds weird, but it was reasurringly familiar--his old, regular smokers' cough. Once he got that out, he said, "Hello." The speech therapist was impressed. Mom tried to ask him what his name was, and the nurse joked that that was a long word. Mom then went on about how the grandkids know them as "Honey" (both Mom and Dad.... don't ask) and how he never really says her name.

Mom then asked Dad if he knew who she was. His lips moved, and eventually sound came out. "S-Sherie Lee." Ha. We suspect he was listening to every word.

After that the physical therapist came in. She had Dad move his right arm up and down, at first helping him, and then later letting him do it. He did very well, reaching almost straight up, flexing his grip when she said, and holding it for a few moments. She was impressed and said so, and then decided to do one more thing.

She needed someone's help with it, but when she asked me if I had a bad back, I had to say yes (since I do... >_<). But Mom was there, so they helped Dad sit up on the side of the bed. I was to make sure the wires and whatnot weren't tangled or pulled. It was great to see Dad mostly roll his own body to the side of the bed, and manage to sit straight for a few moments (not minutes like Mom was saying but a few seconds anyway). The nurse had Mom rub his back for a bit, saying something about how lying so still in the bed is so uncomfortable.

When Dad was tired, he let his body fall back into the bed, and could barely nod when questioned. Still, he tried to help them arrange his body, and kind of responded to questions. Ten minutes later, after he was arranged back together (pillows in place and all) two more ladies (what's with all the ladies??? ^-^) came in to give him a breathing treatment (Albertol and one other one that I will never remembering, probably). They held the mask up to his face and he breathed in fine, so Dad was more/less allowed to sleep through that.

Once those two were done, a lady in a lab coat--which I'm thinking means doctor, but she never said one way or another--came in and started reading his vitals and looking over charts, and trying to wake him up. Aunt Sandi arrived around this time, and it also happened that Dad's blood pressue went down, enough that the [doctor] wanted some things done to him--an A-Line, and an EKG. Mom shoed Aunt Sandi and I out, and shortly after my grandparents, my sister, my brother and his family arrived. They said not to go in for forty-minutes though.

An hour later they finally let Mom take two people in, and now we wait....

- Kim

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday, 19 Oct. 2009

Dad did good today. Mom got a scare when the doctors wanted her to come down and talk to them in person, and Steph went with her. When they got there, Dad made a hand gesture as if "Where've you been?"

It took some time for the doctors to talk to Mom, and it turned out that the nurse had misheard the doctor--telling Mom they wanted to speak to her face-to-face, instead all the doctor said was something like, "I can't really talk right now, if/when she comes in later, I'll talk to her face-to-face then." (*roll the eyes* people, roll the eyes....)

Dad also said, "Where's Kim?" Mom explained I had a test, and he was okay with that. Later, though, he didn't recognize Mom--this was after therapy, and when Mom told him she was his wife going on 19 years, he said, "I wish I could remember." Some time later, he did, recognizing Mom again before she left for the day.

- Kim

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday, 17 Oct. 2009

Overall, Dad's getting better. He's eating, talking (limitedly, but still, talking), smiling and laughing. He goes in and out of being "here"--sometimes recognizing the people around him, sometimes he doesn't. His appetites generally good, and while he does look ill right now, his coloring is better and his gaze sharper (though not what it was).

Yesterday Mom and I went to visit him and got there just before his dinner. Mom fed it to him, and while he didn't eat much, the nurse said he'd eaten every bit of his lunch, and might therefore be still full. Also, I think it was matter of what they were feeding him. He's still on a liquid diet, so his food looked like stage one baby food. They gave him spaghetti with meat sauce, chicken noddle soup, Jell-O, custard sauce, juice and coffee for dinner. Mom didn't give him any coffee, only juice (which he drank all of), and Dad was done by the time he'd eaten half the Jell-O and a few bites of the spaghetti and the soup; I personally didn't like the smell of the stuff, and I doubt the taste was any better.... (^_^)

Afterward, Mom showed him a picture of Dad and Nicole together. When she asked him if he knew who Nicole was, he nodded and smiled a bit. She then told him Nicole said she wanted her Grandpa home now. He chuckled a little.

We talked to him for a bit, but eventually he got tired. He told us he was tired, and Mom asked him if he wanted us to go home. He nodded his head wearily. So we left, Mom promising him to be there in the morning.

This a good example of what he's been like for the past few days, and it's my own first-hand account. Still, there's not much change, and no further word on any tests. The doctors are talking to Mom about sending him to a rehab center near our home, and then eventually letting him go home to recuperate fully until surgery (which could be a year from now; then again, they're also still debating on doing it sooner). They have medications to keep the valve disentergration in check long enough for Dad to build up his strength. Once they have the results of further testing, I believe we'll know which course they'd prefer to take. And, of course, I'll post it up here as soon as I know.

- Kim

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday, 14 Oct. 2009

Mom got Dad's MRI results; turns out he actually might have had a couple of (not just one like we thought before) minor strokes, but that would be back at Lancaster Community Hospital. They were definitely in the left side of his brain, hence his difficulty with his right arm. Everything else seemed okay, though.

The nurse told Mom that when she asked Dad some questions, he was in the year 2007. And then when she asked him again later, it was 2008. So, he's getting closer to the present, anyway. Mom herself doesn't really talk to him, since they're either testing him or he's resting.

Mom actually came home early today, in time to eat dinner with us. Yay! She's going to work tomorrow, but will probably head to the hospital right after her work ends.

I'm getting a lot less to write about now; I think I'm going to skip days unless something specific happens or changes. Right now the only thing we can really do is take it day by day.

- Kim

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday, 13 Oct. 2009

Okay, Dad's surgery is off for tomorrow. The doctors want him to get stronger before they operate; as of right now, the surgery might be in a month--I'm not sure if that's a minimum or maximum amount of time (whether its within a month or if they want to wait at least a month). So we'll see.

They put a filter in his lungs to help with the blood clots. I'm not at all sure how that works, but I suppose it's good--from what I hear it sounds almost like a routine procedure. At the very least, it's not as rare as the rest of the stuff Dad's undergoing... and surviving....

Dad knows who Mom is off and on, but that's about all I've heard on that front. Mom's limiting his visits in the hopes he'll get better with more rest--thus less disruptions.

I'll be on again later if I hear more, otherwise I'll just post something tomorrow.

- Kim

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday, 12 Oct. 2009

Let's try this a different way, shall we?  --- Nearly 2 o'clock. ---

Mom went to peek in on Dad before we went out for food. She said that he'd seen her and beckoned her into his room with his hand. She went in and spoke with him and then she came back to the waiting room. She said he wanted to see me. We go in, and Dad's sitting there, sort of looking about.

He said, "Hi Kim." Which, yeah, made me feel a bit better. Then Mom asked him how old he was. He said, in his not-quite-truthful tone, "Twenty." Then Mom said, "What about 54?" and he said, "Naw, 74." It was a bit strange, though.

But then he got a bit side-tracked, and I think he actually believed he was twenty. He decided the year was 1974 (he would've been 19-ish). Mom tried to tell him I was twenty, and then he started mumbling things. He did say, clearly, that he wanted her to cut off his bonds, and that he wanted to go rest [at home, I'm thinking].

When she asked if he knew if she was his wife, he said, "Yeah. I don't care. You've got to finish it." He was quite angry about it, too.

"It" turned out to be "the swimming"--all of this coming painfully slowly from Dad's frusteratingly slow and inconsistent words. He was getting mad, then, and tried to get up out of his bed to go rest. Mom decided we should go--which is what I'd been trying to tell her for a few minutes--and she promised him that she'd finish the swimming. He seemed calmer at that, but he stilll tried to get up a bit later.

Mom informed his nurse of his condition, and we left her to calm him down as we went down to the cafeteria to [not] eat.

Also; Mom spoke with the doctors a bit earlier. They said that Dad has blood clots in both lungs, which means surgery might not happen on Wednesday--they have to clear those out first. On the other hand, the doctor also said--or implied, according to Robbie--that the blood clots could have been mistaken for the tears in the heart. This means surgery, or at least, surgery to replace the heart valves, might not be necessary.

One last note; Mom just came in with news from the doctor. Dad's lung (I think just one) is being filled up quickly with fluid (blood). She had to sign a release form, and they put a tube down into his lung to drain it out.

- Kim

Mom and I went bright and early to see Dad this morning. Right now I'm actually at USC Hospital, using their internet to access this blog, so I can keep this thing up to date pretty well today.

So, we got here about the same time as my brother, Rob, and his wife, Tiff, got here. They let Mom and I go in first, and Dad was sleeping quietly at first. Mom woke him up with a bright, "Hi Honey," and his eyes popped open wide.

He said, "Oh, Hi Honey." But when Mom asked him if he knew who I was, Dad thought I was a grandkid. Oops. Mom blamed it on my fedora (which is a hat), but hey, I've been wearing it for at least a year.

Anyway, we had to go out as the doctors checked him over, and then we went back in--Mom taking off my hat as we did. He kind of recognized me then, but Mom says he thought I looked too big. If we got the year right (for him) I would be about 15, and so, yeah, I have actually grown a bit since then (shocking, I know).

We left before long so Rob and Tiff could see him. Robbie said that Dad was trying to be sneaky again.

Tiff said it started off with Robbie mentioning his new car--some convertable thing or other--and Dad was ready to get up and go. I think they said he was looking around for Mom, as if making sure they could get away with it. And then Rob was like, "Not yet Pop."

Dad grumbled, and took his hand away from Rob. Then, very slowly, he began to sneak his hand over to pull something out as Rob and Tiff went back to talking to him. Rob snatched it back and was like, "No, Pop, you can't get out yet, you got to get better."

Dad did then what all good parents do--he gave Rob the guilt-inducing look. Rob felt very bad, and was still moping about it when he and Tiff got back to the waiting room.

Now I'm taking a break, and will probably be back on before to much longer (it's very boring here).

- Kim

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday, 11 Oct. 2009

Supposedly, Dad is going to be transported sometime this morning. We'll see in the next half-hour or so...

They'd said he was going to be transported at 10 o'clock, but Mom's still filling out paperwork, and [they] are still getting Dad ready, or getting things ready for Dad...

It's still USC Hospital, though. Mom's going to be driving herself down, and I think Tracey's going with her in case they drive back late.

That's all I know right now. I'll get back on here as soon as I hear more.

- Kim

--- Nearly 2 o'clock. ---

So, Dad made it to the hospital. Mom and Tracey are there as well, and Dad's getting a CAT- Scan check up. Can't say much more on the subject just now, soo.... signing off again...

- Kim

--- About 6:15pm. ---

Dad's undergoing a bunch of testing today. They decided to do the surgery on Wednesday; Dr. Gill and another doctor are going to be there tomorrow, looking stuff over. I doubt there'll be further updates today, but if there is, I will try to it today or first thing tomorrow.

- Kim

--- About 11:20pm. ---

One last memo. By all accounts, Dad's getting better. Lancaster Community Hospital apparently doped him up too much on the morphine, and USC is now flushing the drug out of his system. The result is a more lucid and, yup, wise-cracking Dad. Joyful.... no, really, though, yay! ^-^

I'm not sure the order of events, but these are the things I know happened.

Aunt Sandi (Dad's sister) peeked her head into his room to visit. He gives a bit of a shrug/nod in acknowledgement. Aunt Sandi asked him if he knew who she was. Mom said Dad grumbled a bit, and said, "Ah, Craig...?" very sarcastically. She also added that he rolled his eyes and smirked a bit.

Everyone laughed at that one.

Next, he tried to get Tracey to untie him. She wasn't about to do that, and was kind of like, "Uh, I don't think they want you unrestraint. You have to stay here..." blah blah. He's up to his usual antics again.

Finally, he told Mom he loved her. Yup, mushy stuff, but it all collects into one big good chuck of good news. Mom said she wasn't sure she heard him right, and when she was like, "What?" he said it again, "I love you, Honey." She admitted to crying then, on his chest and all. I'm not sure what, if much of anything happened after that. Mom got sidetracked (something not unusual, of course) in her story-telling.

He kind of knows what happened, but Mom didn't tell him that he has surgery on Wednesday. She did mention his first surgery and his pneumonia, which he seemed to take it in--not that it stopped him from wanting to come home. Mom said he kept asking his nurse, Rudy, if he could go home. Hah.

So, that's the end of this day. Now we just wait and see what tomorrow will bring.

- Kim

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday, 10 Oct. 2009

Today Dad's getting a biopsy on his lungs to see what's going on in there. He's having difficulty breathing, and might get the tube down his throat (and possibily into his lungs) again. They've finally given him Nicotine patches, which Steph says is about time; Mom says the patches have calmed him down.

So far this is all I have to report; I realize these things are getting short, but without first hand experiences (by me or told to me) I cannot go into detail. And since I can't go see Dad as ill as I am..... This is what we get. (*sighs*)

--- For those who read this blog earlier, those words were apparently incorrect. ---

Dad's heart valves are still deterioriating, and blood is now seeping from there into his lungs. He definitely needs surgery now, and will be being transported sometime today or tomorrow. Right now Dr. Gill is trying to find a hospital that will accept him, but so far they all claim he is too high a risk.

That's it. Keep checking this post and my facebook for further updates; I'll try to keep it as current as I can.

--- Last update for Today. ---

It looks like Dad's going to transfer sometime tomorrow morning. Mom's not sure where, but the when is more or less set. I'll post tomorrow, hopefully as soon as I know the locale.

- Kim

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday, 9 Oct. 2009

Okay, so I skipped yesteray's posting because there wasn't really much to say. Mostly that Dad got pneumonia (ha, I can spell that without looking it up, very sad...) and was in a great deal of pain.

Today, he's still in both conditions, but he's also somehow doing better--perhaps the meds kicked in or something, I'm not sure. Anyway, Mom was telling me about what happened when Steph walked in.

Dad had said something to the gist of, "Oh man, now what?"

Steph didn't think Dad recognized her, since she was in scrubs. But when Mom asked him, "Tim, do you know who this is?" Dad replied (and gave her a look), "It's Stephanie, our daughter." That made Steph feel much better.

At some point they got to the subject of me (yawn-inciting subject, I know) being sick, and Dad was mad at Mom for not being home with me and making sure I'm okay. Since I was watching two 4-year-old kids, no, I wasn't okay, but it had nothing to do with being sick. They got to talking about it, and at some point Dad was like, "Okay, I'm ready to go."

Steph and Mom were confused. "Go where, Tim?" asked Mom.

"Go home," said Dad. Both Mom and Steph were all over him, pressing him back, telling him he was sick (stuff that isn't any different than before, really).

But Dad really got mad at Mom this time... Even Steph saw it, and said, "Mom, you're going to be in soo much trouble when you (both) get home."

Anyway, that's what happened with Dad, so far this day. Mom also had a conversation with the doctors, telling us that Dad has disintergrating heart valves, and that he would need further surgery. The only thing is, they want to move him to (some Saint hosptial in) L. A. Since he has pneumonia, they kind of want to hold off transporting him until he's stronger, so the specific "When this will happen" is still up in the air.

Mom mentioned Dad's doing better, restraints are off and all, but he also is coughing up blood. The nurses reassured her that that's normal, but Mom sort of wanted to panick.... Lucky they were there before she could.

I'm going to stop this here, and see if more comes up later....

- Kim

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday 7 Oct. 2009

Dad's doing much better. He's coherent, almost the same as Tuesday, and he's eating again. His hands are restrained and he's still got the oxygen mask on, but (I say) one explains the other (you know he'd pull the mask off otherwise...).

He'd had breakfast by the time I'd gotten to the hospital (some time after my classes, which was about 12:30pm). His boss, Steve, and co-worker/long time friend, Jesse, were in visiting with him. When they came out, the said he'd tried to say something to them, but they'd been unable to make out his words through the mask.

Mom and I went in to see Dad once the guys had taken their leave. His breathing is definitely labored, and he looks very tired, but otherwise appeared alert. While we were there, his lunch came, so they put him on the oxygen thing with the nose... (yup, I'm not medical personale)... and hand fed him lunch. He ate quickly, and was clearly very thirsty. He couldn't talk too much probably because of that dry throat, but he nodded and shook his head easily enough.

I'd just come from school, so I began to get hungry myself (^-^). When I told Dad I was going to go home and get some food myself, he finally mustered a "Oh, Okay." Hah! I said (laughing a bit) something about this being his standard reply.

Mom had stayed to wait for him to finish his lunch, but she got home not long after me. She said she'd asked him about the pool's filter, describing the leak to him. He said, "Yeah." She asked something about what device she had to, and he said, "Honey, you need a gasket." Even the nurse lady feeding him got excited about his realizing what we needed.

After she returned a few hours latter, she said Dad had had dinner. He'd been relaxed and "there" enough to not strong too much. When he got tired, he said was going to sleep. Mom asked him what he wanted her to do (stay or go) and he said, "Go home. Back?" Mom said, "I can go home and come back in the morning...?" Dad nodded to this, and that's what Mom decided to do.

Now we just need him alert enough to give him all his birthday presents.... ^-^

- Kim

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday 6 Oct. 2009

So, Mom goes shopping early this morning, getting Dad several things for his B-day. A Connect Four game, some car magazines, words puzzles—all the stuff Dad likes to entertain himself with.

She makes up his b-day bag and walks into the CCU expecting his "Hi Honey" once she got to his room. Instead, the nurses inform her that he went into congestive heart-failure at about 4:00 this morning and when she saw him, she said he looked worse than he did after surgery.

After some running around to get my friend to watch an ill Nicole and Gavin, and to pick up Taylor and Alyssa from school early, Mom and I were finally able to get back to the hospital.

When we got to the CCU doors, Grandma and Grandpa were sitting outside them, and a lady in a lab coat was talking to them (probably a doctor, or one in training; she didn't seem to be as assured as even new doctors are). She told Mom that congestive heart failure is not uncommon after heart surgery, and that he was responding very well to medication. Within a twenty-four hour period, Dad's condition should improve (provided he keeps responding to the meds) and one way or another, the next steps can't be decided until the morning.

I saw Dad very briefly, and he was resting quietly for once. Mom decreed that Dad get only sparse visits because he tends to want to go home when he sees people he knows.

Mom, Grandma, Grandpa, and I sat and wasted time in the lobby. After awhile, Mom and I went outside to walk around and update people. There, Grandma found me and sent me to go with Grandpa to put Dad's balloons in his room (the nurses said it was okay).

I went in and said "Hi Dad"—squeaky voice (meh). I shoved the balloons in a corner and said, "Happy Birthday, Dad."

He responded. "Oh, thank you," I made out through the oxygen mask he had on again.

His body shook from the pain the nurses had told me about. They were going to give him meds, so Grandpa and I left to give him time to relax (and let the meds take hold). Also, it was pretty clear he was Hurting.

Shortly after, Mom finished her phone calls and talking to Steph and Tracey. She decided to take a quick peak at Dad.

She said he was sound asleep. They finally got him out. Yay!

We decided to go home some time after that, since we couldn't do much more than sit around.

One final thing I would add. Aunt Sandi got a hold of a friend who is a retired heart surgeon. He said that this was all {something like routine, though just because it can happen, doesn't mean it will happen} and that Dad was a miracle. His chances of surviving that surgery had been 3-5%, and technically (according to this retired Dr.) Dad shouldn't have lived. Instead, he managed to walk nine days after surgery. Huh; I guess we're getting the fast pace recovery we all want, and just don't realize it.....

- Kim

Monday 5 Oct. 2009

Hmm... Sorry people; didn't feel like writing yesterday...

So, Mom gets a call early in the morning. It's the hospital, calling to update Mom. The nurse said Dad thinks he's Long Beach; Mom figures that's an improvement since it's closer (than the North Pole). The nurse also mentioned that she asked Dad if he knew who he was, and he looked to his wrist band. The nurse corrected heself, saying, "Okay, without looking at your wrist band do you know who you are?" I never really got Dad's answer to that one....  Oh, and she said that Dad had sat up in the bed by himself.

Mom went down to see him, and he knew her immediately. He was the most coherent he'd been yet. Speaking pretty well, knowing people around him. He copped a feel twice from Mom (gross, I know) looking around sneakily for the nurses as he did so.

She asked him where he was, and he answered Lancaster. He knew our home address, and he even mentioned his birthday on the morrow.

Mom also made the (sort of) mistake of mentioning I was sick at home with a fever, which  is why I haven't visited him. Dad told her to go home and check up on me, to make sure I was okay. (*rolling my eyes*)

He did a second therapy session, and was actually able to manage a couple of baby steps. Mom had said he could go home as soon as he could walk; when she came back after this session, Dad was all, "Can we go home now?" Oops--doctor said there's a bit more to it than that.

Later, I was able to visit him (took some Tylenol to get my fever down). He was not as there as he was in the morning, but we think he was very tired after the double sessions. His responses were mostly restricting to "Oh, Okay" and "Sure". Not unusual, perhaps, but Dad had managed an actual sentence or two before....

We had to leave soon, but returned (a bit later than expected) that night.

He did a couple of things last night, but I'm going to have talk to Mom because I can't really remember them well. This incident I do remember....

We'd been watching football with him (okay, so he'd been kinda staring at the screen, Mom'd been staring at him, and I'd been reading, but....) when the game finished. He turned the TV off, and said he was going to bed. He tried to get up, glaring and muttering for Mom to help him. Mom didn't quite know what to do, and though (she says) she'd signaled me to get the nurses, I was still reading my book..... (^-^). A noise started going off as Dad levered himself up; this got my attention, and panicked Mom slightly--she was concerned he'd pulled something out. The nurse came in quickly, and turned the noise off--it was an alarm on the bed. They'd set an alarm on him, ha!

Anyway, Mom told Dad that he was in the hospital and had to stay there. He grumbled, but did, turning the TV back on as he laid back down. We left, though Mom with obvious reluctance. On to tomorrow....

{Today's update will come later; sorry again for not doing this, and sorry for any typos. I'm writing this as I watch 2 sick and fighting 4-year-olds soo..... Yeah, I'm going to look over this later...}

- Kim

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday 4 Oct. 2009

Mom went to see Dad early this morning. She said he saw her and said “Hi Honey” really brightly. He was eating his breakfast and behaving pretty well.

No one’s really told me what happened after that, so I’m skipping some hours.

Mom had come home by this time, and Rob and Tiff came over to our house with their kids to visit a bit. They’d also come by to help around the house some.

I went with Rob, Tiff, and Taylor to see Dad. I told the nurse, who was familiar with me, that we would be really quick. She let the four of us in, and we saw that Grandma and Grandpa were already there as well (it’s only supposed to be 2 visitors at a time). I’d also asked for a mask, since I seem to be stubbornly sick.

Grandpa left, but Grandma didn’t. Rob and I went to Dad, so that he could see us. Grandma kept saying, “Here’s Kim, here’s Kim. Do you know who this is? Do you know who’s on the other side? That’s Rob, Rob’s over there.” She never really gave Dad enough time to answer, but even she ran of repetitive questions eventually.

When Tiff and Tay said “Hi” to Dad, Dad replied with a normal, “Hello.” It was great. He’d also managed to smile (Rob describes it as “his shitty grin”) at Rob in recognition. He couldn’t get the name, but he knew who Rob was.

Dad mumbled some stuff to us, in response to our questions as well as Grandma’s—one of the clearer things he said was “So it’s the black and blue.” We aren’t sure what he meant, though Tiff, Tay, and I were wearing black and blue shirts. At the same time, he was staring at the ceiling as he said this, and there wasn’t anything black and blue up there.

A lot of the time Dad said “Oh, okay,” as if agreeing with whatever comment or remark we made. Some of our talk was generic (e.g.: how you feeling) but Rob asked Dad about some sports, and Grandma followed suit.

Then Grandma repeatedly asked him whether he liked the Raiders or not. Dad smirked, the left side of his lip tilting up ironically. His mouth worked hard at a word, and we waited for him to say it. Did Dad like the Raiders? “Occasionally,” he finally admits. Hah.

Rob crows in excited success. He asked Dad if he really liked the 49ers, and Dad did his shitty smirk again.

Dad got a bit tired then, and closed his eyes for the most part.

I asked him if he were tired, and he nodded his head yes. Then Grandma mentioned his lunch was coming, so I told Dad his food was coming and asked him if he was hungry. His eyes popped open wide and he looked around the room blearily. We all took this to mean he was hungry, and laughed lightly.

We decided to go, since Dad admitted to being tired and since his food was on the way. I told Dad we were going, and I think he would’ve said “Oh, Okay” again, and perhaps even “Bye” but Grandma started talking again, and I think Dad lost his trail of thought.

I even mentioned in the room how he needed time to gather his words together. Still, Dad’s impatience obviously came from somewhere. We left for home.

I went back with Mom a couple hours later, and Grandma and Grandpa were still there. Dad had just fallen asleep, and I left the room since I am sick and don’t want to give him anything. Grandpa joined me in the lobby not too long afterwards, Grandma and Mom following sometime after him. We decided to get some drinks and snacks at the cafeteria just to pass the time.

Eventually we went back to Dad, but he was still sawing off some Zs, though by then he’d been out about an hour. Since we all considered that a good thing, everyone decided to go home for the night.

Mom called about 6:00pm, and was told Dad was up and eating. She’d planned on going down to see him if he woke up, but she put her shoes on, laid back in bed a moment—and fell into sleep.

I doubt any more will be done today, though I figure Mom will be over at the hospital bright and early tomorrow morning yet again.

- Kim

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday 3 Oct. 2009

Mom’s excited. Dad’s more lucid than ever before, sitting up and recognizing people, somewhat talking, somewhat understanding what is being said around him. Mom was talking to him about Nicole and Gavin, and how they miss him and are waiting to play baseball with him.

Dad smiled and nodded. Then he tried to get up. Mom stopped him, asking him if he had to go to the bathroom. Nope, he wanted to go “Play baseball” with the kids.

Steph visited between cases. Dad lay almost quietly as the nurse came in, checked him over, and went back out again for his lunch. Then he tried to get up, telling Steph “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go” as if expecting her to smuggle him out. She pressed him back down (trying not to laugh) and scolded him; he heaved a sigh, worn out from his attempt.

Right before Aunt Sandi and Mom went for lunch, Mom asked the nurse if Dad could be taken off of the morphine, maybe switched to vicodin. She was concerned—because Dad did not drink alcohol or use drugs—that the morphine was a bit too strong for him. The nurse said she was thinking about that herself, and would consult the doctor on it. Then Aunt Sandi and Mom left for lunch.

When they were walking back in, Mom passed several nurses who’d become familiar with her, and she talked (asking how Dad was doing) and they asking how she was doing. Dad heard her before she entered the room, and he called out to her “Honey. Honey. Honey.” until Mom responded and went into the room.

Dad said “Hi” to her, and she gave him a kiss. He also informed Mom he had to potty again. She said to go in the bed; he said “No. I need to go to the bathroom.” This went back and forth again.

Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Mark came to visit Dad for a bit.

Grandma went in, and Mom said, “Here’s your mom, honey.” He said “Hey” and smiled a little. He turned his (left) hand palm up. Grandma almost didn’t take it (he’d shrugged her off yesterday) but Mom said, “That was yesterday, this is today” and convinced her to take it.

Mom and Aunt Sandi left to let Uncle Mark, Grandma and Grandpa some time to visit, and to take a break.

At some point, Uncle Mark came out and told Mom that the doctor was in the room. She went in, and learned that Dad had had a minor stroke. They have no idea when—in the CATH lab, during surgery or after, it’s anyone guess—but it explains his right arm and it had contributed to Dad’s mental state.

Then they had to leave the room when Dad’s physical therapist arrived. It would take about 30-60 minutes, so they went to Target to waste time. Dad’s Aunt and Uncle (Grandma’s brother and his wife) had come to visit him, but they weren’t let in until after the therapy was over. They had a pleasant visit with Dad, Mom had heard, and they were still there by the time she left for the night.

The therapy itself wore Dad out, though most of it was just him sitting up on the side of the bed. He has no strength in his legs, and his right arm is weak; his left arm is the strongest limb of his body. Mom said he was in a cold sweat when she got there.

When Mom went back in after the therapy session, Aunt Sandi went in with her. They helped the nurses keep a struggling Dad from getting up out of bed. (Aunt Sandi hadn’t encountered Dad like this before, and was taken aback; she also informed Mom to rest more often.)

Mom kept calling Dad’s name, and he finally responded with his (well known) irritated “What?” and his look.

She asked him, “Do you know where you are?”

He said [irritation lacing his voice], “Yes.”

She asked him, “Where are you then?”

He said, “The North Pole.”

At this point, Mom and Aunt Sandi had to leave to room to regain their composure—they didn’t want Dad to see them laughing.

Mom returned to the room, and continued her questions.

“Do you know who I am?”

He said [more irritation], “Yes.”

She asked, “Then who am I?”

He said, “Mrs. North Pole.” He smiled.

He went back to struggling out of bed, and they went back to calming/restraining him down.

Mom eventually said [exasperation ending her rope of patience], “Do you want me to leave?”

He said, “Yes.”

She asked, “Where do you want me to go?”

He said, “I don’t care.” And here, he smiled/smirked a little, Mom describing it as if he knew he would get in trouble for that one.

Mom teared up a bit. She went to the foot of his bed, then went back up. She asked him for a kiss, and he said, “Yes” and gave her one.

She had to leave the room then, and actually came home. She’ll be going early in the morning again tomorrow, and she claims she’s better prepared, and now knows what to expect when she goes now.

- Kim

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday 2 Oct. 2009

So, today’s progress is much the same. As of right now, there’s no word on the CAT-Scan, since most of you want to know about that first.
Mom told me Dad’s more active, and more intent on escape. He’s pinched, punched, and even kicked Mom in his effort to get out of bed, and I doubt the nurses fare much better.

Still, Steph told me when she walked in today that he smiled at her.

His communication is getting better. He tells them that he has to go pee, and he wants the bathroom. Mom informed him he had the catheter, but he didn’t want that, he wanted the bathroom. Eventually he gave in, but it was with obvious great reluctance.

He asked for food (said he wanted to “Eat”). He’s on a liquid diet, so only soup, juice, jell-o, and ice cream. Mom said he ate really well, and behaved as long as he was hungry.

Still, he did grow difficult yet again. At some point, Mom asked if I could go to the hospital to see Dad, to see if I would calm him down.

It seems I did, the nurse said so, Grandma, Grandpa, and Mom agreeing with her. He was still fairly active, and always trying to get out of bed. But the reason for that became obvious as Dad tried to tell me something.

The first clear words I’d heard Dad speak to me since Sunday (before the surgery) were “I have to lock up the back door.” They weren’t very clear, but that seemed to be the gist. I told him I did it, that it was locked.

Then he became a bit more agitated, nothing like he is with Mom, though, but quite insistent about it. Mom asked him what he wanted. This generally gives him pause, and makes him think. Finally, Dad said to me that he had to go potty (#2).

He was still firmly restrained, though there was no longer any board. His right arm had begun moving more today, though they didn’t restrain that. It gave Dad the ability to swing that arm around (uncontrollably, but still) and he used it to his advantage in his fight to escape. His only choice to go potty was to go in the bed. He didn’t want to, AT ALL.

I couldn’t argue with Dad all day unfortunately. I had to leave, but Mom told me he eventually went four times, (probably complaining and protesting the whole time). At some point they placed a bin under him, and to me I figure he’s more comfortable with that.

When Mom went back after lunch, she said the nurses mentioned that he'd been calling for his "Honey" nearly constantly, and [the nurse] even said to Dad "Here's your Honey."

Mom said he ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Come evening, he’d been asleep when Mom went back in (probably after a short break) and the nurses wanted him to stay that way. So she stayed mostly hidden seated behind him and kept really quiet. He woke to eat, and tried to figure out who was behind him, but behaved when he only heard the nurses’ voices. Afterwards, they told him to sleep, and he did, Mom still silent behind him.

Mom had to leave without hearing any word about the CAT-Scan, but will return early tomorrow morning for news.

- Kim

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday 1 Oct. 2009

Mom gets into the hospital about seven in the morning, only to find out that Dad had pulled out the tube in the center of his chest [at around 5am]. The hospital staff’s response: well, it was going to come out anyway.

Again he struggled, fought, was difficult. At one point, he demanded to go home, but Mom said no. Then he said, “I mad at you” and she replied, “Well, that’s fine, because I’m mad at you, too.”

The nurses were smiling slightly, Mom says, and she also said Dad thought over what she said. Then he puckered his lips for another kiss. Mom said, “Oh, no, you’re being bad, I’m not kissing you.” But he insisted. Mom gave in and was relieved—he kissed her back this time.

Later, Tracey went in, saying, “Hi Pop” and he turned towards her and smiled.

When Mom and I went back after dinner, the nurse told us that Dad had been clearer for a bit with Grandma and Grandpa. He’d sat up and looked towards them, smiling slightly. The nurse even mentioned that Grandma and Grandpa seemed the better for that moment.

He’d been strapped to a board placed between him and the bed, his legs bound with one strip of cloth, his chest another—with a lot of padding between him and the cords. His left arm was still bound, though his right had been left free since he still doesn’t really move it. Both legs were firmly tied.

He was fairly quiet when I was there, as compared to the other times of the day. Still, nothing I said calmed him down this time, and he continuously pulled on the restraints. I say continuously, but mean, he pulled hard, took a break to gather his strength and breath, and then pulled some more.

We didn’t stay long that time, since it was clear we aggravated him [by not taking him home]. The chest x-rays had come back, clear—nothing wrong in that area. Tomorrow, at 7:30am, Dad’s getting a CAT-Scan, and Mom’s already planning on being there.

Sorry it took so long to get to this up.

- Kim

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