Monday, March 21, 2011

Grant Me Strength

I was awake when the text popped up on my phone. I was awake because Smug-Baby had been really restless for the last few moments and had just settled down into a nice restful sleep. I heard the soft buzz and saw the light as my phone registered the text message.

It was from mom. It said "at er with gpa, been here all night he's being admitted"

Thursday morning Gramps had been acting strange to me and I called mom and recommended getting him to see his doctor. That evening when I was there he asked me to help him get his phone plugged into the charger. He handed me the cord for the charger and the remote control to his TV. He couldn't comprehend the difference and didn't understand why I wouldn't just plug it in.

After I got home that evening, he called me thinking that I was mom. He told me that he had been going over the finances and the travel wasn't going to work and they needed to sell the boat right away. Now, he doesn't have a boat and there are no plans for him to travel, so I called mom. Apparently, she called him several times for the next 15 minutes and he wouldn't/couldn't answer.

She called the management of the retirement community and they called back to say that they checked on him and he was acting really strangely. Mom headed over and sat with him to observe him for a while. She finally decided that she would take him home with her and as she was packing him up a bit, he began to truly fall apart. He started peeing on various things in the room and talking crazy, he got combative and slightly violent, so they called 911 and took him to the ER via ambulance. That was about 10pm Thursday night. She sent me the text message about 4am.

When I got to the hospital they were still in ER, still waiting to see the doctor. I talked to him and while he was saying some crazy stuff (like that this wasn't a real hospital because those bandages over there were half price) he still knew who I was. He was very agitated and in a lot of pain with leg cramps. We feel like those were caused by dehydration but he kept yanking the IV out so giving him fluids was impossible.

When I left at 7:30 they were transporting him to the 12th floor and preparing for more testing to try to figure out what was causing these problems.

I spent Friday in a haze. After work, I took Smug-Baby and we helped clean at Smug-Sister's new house. I felt helpless because I really couldn't take Smug-Baby to the hospital. Besides it being full of germs, she would want to get down and run/crawl around and play.

All day Saturday we helped at the new house. Gramps was about the same. They ended up restraining him because he was thrashing all over the bed and tearing his arms and legs up on the metal pieces. Mom was at the hospital mostly but came to the new house to help there some too to get her mind on something else.

Saturday evening my aunt arrived. It was unexpected but welcome because now they could stay with him in shifts and both get some sleep without leaving him alone much.

Sunday morning the call came to gather the family at the hospital. When Smug-Sister and arrived they said that he had rallied a bit with some oxygen. The doctor explained that they were giving him fluids (now that he was restrained and satiated), but that his kidney's weren't functioning properly so the fluid was pooling in his chest, however, if they stopped the fluids his blood pressure would drop too low. The sedative was keeping him calm but there was concern that it would lower his respiration so much that he wouldn't be able to breathe. It seemed like the treatment options (which weren't really helping because there isn't a known cause of his issues) were hurting him too.

They sent in a Palliative Care doctor who helped us to decide that we needed to make him more comfortable and while the search for the cause wouldn't cease, it was more important to give him some peace and dignity because his time here in this body was coming to a close. At one point he was getting all worked up and Smug-Sister took his hand in one of hers and put her other hand on his head. She told him that we were all there and we all loved him. She said that he had taught us well and we would all be ok. She said that he didn't need to worry about money or how we would all make it without that everything would be fine. She told him that if he was ready he was free to go be with Grandma. As she was walking over to him before this, I was think those same words and both Mom and A.L. said that it was probably just what he needed to hear because as she spoke, he calmed right down.

They moved him to that unit and the nurses were able to give him meds that would help him to be more comfortable. From what I understand, it is a painkiller that will help him to not be aware of his pain or the struggle to breathe. I did bring Smug-Baby to the hospital for a little bit and she climbed around his bed and "talked" to him. He did seem to respond a bit to her noises and I would like to think that she helped him in some way.

When I left last night he was the same. Calmer, but still out of it. The nurse told us that he could hear us and to talk to him. She meant that on some level he would be able to feel and "hear" our love, but A.L. got all worked up about his hearing aid not having a battery. I guess we are all on different levels of understanding.

Throughout this whole few days and especially yesterday my husband did what he does best. He stood by me holding me up as I went through my own emotions and worked to hold Mom up as she worked through hers. He is my rock and it made me realize that all the little problems we may have (while important to deal with) are so tiny and what really matters is that he is the one person that I know I can lean on without ANY chance of falling. When times are tough and when things get hard he is steady and I know he will be there to catch me even before I fall.

As Sunday draws to a close, I wait for the phone to ring. As I get Smug-Baby ready for bed, I wait for the phone to ring. As I complete this post and prepare for bed myself and the work day tomorrow, I wait for the phone to ring...

1 comment:

  1. Ryan, my best thoughts go out to your grandpa and your family. He is lucky to be surrounded by all of you and have your comfort and support as his body lets go. I'm glad you also have your support to take care of you during this tough time. Best wishes!