The Week From Hell
by Bella Rum
My son and his family arrived the day after Christmas, and we were deliriously happy to be with the grandkids. The phone rang constantly, but that was fine. People had heard that Dad was in the hospital, and they wanted to know how things were going. I called Dad every day in the hospital. That seemed to be enough to satisfy him because he had lots of visitors. My brother told me to stay home and enjoy the grandchildren. Then…
All hell broke loose. On the first night that Dad was released from the hospital, I received a call from C at 10pm. He had fallen and hit his head on the railing of his hospital bed. He seemed a little confused. C was terrified. She was a little upset with The Brother because he didn’t see things the way she did. He thought Dad was fine. I told her to call the ambulance. H and I started the hour and twenty-minute drive down to Dad’s.
We received another call from C when we were about twenty minutes into our trip. She said the EMTs were there but Dad was refusing to go to the hospital. I tried to talk to him, but as soon as he realized I wanted him to go with the EMT’s, he handed the phone to C and refused to talk to me again. I called The Brother and told him to get over there and talk him into going. The Brother did a very lame job – not really trying at all – of talking him into going. He told me to turn around and go home, that Dad seemed fine to him. “I’ll call you if your needed.”
It’s very difficult to decide what’s really going on when two people are giving you entirely different accounts of the situation.
We turned around and went back home, talked to my son and his wife for a while, and went to bed around midnight. The phone rang around 3 am. It was C. Dad was practically begging for the EMT’s. He was shaking from head to toe and very frightened. So was C. I told her to call for an ambulance, and we started the trip again. We let The Brother get his sleep, and I called him later – much later – in the day.
All of Dad’s vitals (that were better when they released him earlier in the day) were now trending downward, especially his respiration. It was borderline. He was struggling for air, dragging on every breath. He only showed signs of confusion once, and it was slight. The CT indicated no slow bleed, but they decided to admit Dad again – for observation and to initiate home health care. I believe his confusion came from the urinary tract infection. That has happened before, and isn’t uncommon among people of an advanced age. They offered no explanation about why he had been shaking so violently.
By three o’clock the next afternoon, H and I were heading home. We were exhausted. We gave up the good fight and went to bed for a few hours. The grandchildren left yesterday. We canceled a little party we had planned for my grandson’s birthday, opting to have a little cake and let him open his gifts. I just couldn’t pull it off and my daughter-in-law’s parents had the flu anyway. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that both grandchildren, my daughter-in-law and my son were sick. Some of them were sick when they arrived and some got sick after they arrived. H took them to PriMed in the midst of all the hoopla surrounding Dad. Antibiotics and eye drops were prescribed. Fun was had by all!
They only kept Dad overnight this time and he’s back home now. C was absolutely wonderful through this entire horror story. I can not say enough about her. Her compassion for Dad and her dedication to his welfare are above and beyond. She will now have a little support from Home Health Care. They will check on Dad every day, taking his vitals, administrating oxygen, etc.
H and I are going down to see Dad this morning.
I haven’t been near a computer for a week. Life has been in constant turmoil. I’ll be checking in on everyone soon. Normalcy (or what passes for normalcy around here) will have to resume soon. It’s the way of the world.
I miss my routine.