Yeah, that was an . . . intense week. That A versus B scenario I sketched last time I wrote? Turns out it was C, All of the above. On Wednesday night, my dad yanked out his IV (delivering that sweet, sweet morphine), popped a staple and bled out for hours (and, being on Coumadin to prevent blood clots, bled profusely), and had a blood glucose level five times what it should have been, owing to the stress of the surgery.

When my mom and I got to the hospital Thursday, full of high hopes that he’d be in better shape than he’d been the previous day, we were stunned to find him way, way out of it, confused, and downright hostile. (Hyperglycemia makes a person pretty much batshit crazy, I’ve learned.) He got an 8-hour transfusion that day and night, so by Friday morning, he was in drastically better shape (though his blood sugar was still in the 400s). But Thursday was frightening and had me repeatedly running to the restroom to sob in privacy.

During this time, my mom was also playing phone tag and taking tours of various rehab facilities. We were hoping to have him transferred, when he was ready, to a rehab center in our town rather than an hour away, but insurance exigencies and the advice of his case manager’s advice changed our minds, and we decided that the Lutheran rehab hospital, which is part of the same network as the hospital where he had his surgery, would be the best choice. His surgeon surprised us by ordering his release Friday afternoon — much quicker than we’d been told it would happen — and Friday evening brought a mad scramble where he was readied for discharge, unplugged from IVs and 02 cannula, hoisted into a wheelchair, and strapped into a van (whose driver was very eager to finish the transport and begin his weekend). Admittal to the rehab center took a couple of hours, and after the paperwork was finished and he was finally settled in his new digs, my mother took me to a wonderful restaurant for a late dinner before the drive home, where she had to return a slew of phone calls to sort out a snafu with the first rehab center she’d chosen and comfort my aunt, who was frantic with worry when she hadn’t heard from us. (”I thought you were making arrangements!”)

My dad’s condition continued to improve throughout the weekend as he began intensive occupational and physical therapy. His blood glucose is still higher than we’d like it to be, but the knees are beginning to heal well, and yesterday he took 150 steps (with a walker) during therapy. Not surprisingly, my mother’s anxiety level declined as well.

Lest anyone think that the experience was eight days of utter suck, I did manage to enjoy a few things.

  • I got to cook (in air conditioning!) a few times for my mom: sauteed shrimp and garlic with whole wheat pasta, a Southwestern chicken and vegetable salad, and cornmeal-crusted tilapia.
  • I was able to clean off and de-spider my dad’s old stationary bike and have a few good (if hot) workouts in the garage.
  • Wednesday night, after my mom and I got home (starved), we ordered pizza and she mixed up sublimely restorative martinis with anchovy olives.
  • I got to see the season premiere of “Project Runway,” and introduce its awesomeness to my mom. I have a feeling I bordered on the hysterical while trying to explain my profound adoration for Tim Gunn and Daniel Vosovic, as well as my corrosive loathing for Wendy Pepper.
  • I also got to see a couple of episodes of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report,” and would have watched more had I not been so sleep-deprived during the first half of the week.
  • Late in the week, we discovered a much pleasanter and slightly faster route to Fort Wayne — only an hour door-to-door and without the semi trucks and other stressors of US 30. My ever-obliging mother even slowed down and took detours so I could take pictures of signs and landmarks along the way.
  • We were driving through town Sunday when we met the parade heralding the 2006 Kosciusko County Fair, complete with an antique tractor parade and truck bed full of 4-H kids. It’s probably just as well that I left before I had a chance to actually attend the fair, where I’d almost certainly have consumed pork tenderloin sandwiches and corn dogs until I was ready for the freak show.
  • My parents’ neighbors and friends? So incredibly kind. They called or stopped by to ask how Dad was doing; one made us a tasty casserole, and another left a watermelon on the front porch. I’m happy that there are so many good people looking out for my parents.
  • I came home (after an hour-and-a-half subway trip from the foulest bowels of Hell, complete with mobs of Red Sox fans and asshole tourists shoving me out of the way to board Green Line trains to Fenway and a broken escalator and elevator at Porter that required dragging three heavy-ass pieces of luggage up five flights of stairs) to an immaculately clean house, my mail sorted neatly on the dining room table, a fridge full of delicious fruit, fresh flowers, and clean sheets. Absofuckinglute heaven.

4 Responses to “Phew”

  1. Janet says:

    Visit Janet

    Wow. What an intense scary time of it for your dad. And your mom and you. I hope hope hope none of you have to do that or anything like it again. Welcome home, if a little bruised and sore, to your awesome sanctuary. Go Doug!

    I’m intrigued by this alternate route to Fort Wayne. Would it benefit folks who are driving between Ft. Wayne and Chicago?

  2. Editrix says:

    Visit Editrix

    The route we took from Warsaw to the west side of Fort Wayne was 15 South to 14 East, which is a stick-straight shot (save for a dogleg in South Whitley, whose Welcome sign encourages passers-through to Visit Our Library!) to I-69/33. It might be a bit faster on a family trip, and certainly prettier, with a few small towns to pass through on the way but little in the way of traffic. (We did, however, get caught for a few minutes behind a couple of Amish men on the way to church Sunday.)

  3. LLA says:

    Visit LLA

    Glad you are home safe and sound, and that things went reasonably well for your Dad, and that he’s now down to the serious busines of mending…

    It does sound like it was an emotional trip all the way around….

  4. Miles says:

    Visit Miles

    I just now caught up with your blog, and while I knew the surgery for your dad was coming up, I didn’t know it had actually happened yet. I’m so sorry that I hadn’t extended my warm wishes sooner, especially since you’d been so kind to me about the stuff I was facing last week - now I know that you did that through the tears of your own ordeal, and that makes your kindness even more special. You know you’re tops in my book, and I’ll put a lil’ extra in my prayers for you and your family. And a big “YES!” to doug for being the sweetest guy ever and giving you exactly the “welcome home” you needed!

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