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

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