I feel as if I’ve been having some sort of withdrawal from blog writing. Although it was taxing at times and definitely not that good, it had become routine and sort of therapeutic for me. Since my return home, I’ve wanted to journey back and be there every day again. It hasn’t been an easy transition, but my busy schedule and lack of sleep has helped make it a little easier. I’ve also been meaning to write more since my travels because I have a few stories that would be interesting.
My last night in the hospital was one of the more exciting ones. I’m not sure if it was because I was wearing scrubs, a stethoscope and a pager while pretending to be a doctor or if it was because we had an all star nurse and dad had a great night. I started to see a change in dad that day when he started to respond a little more and when the nurse asked him to rub his lips together after she put on a hospital form of chap stick (which looks like nothing more than Vaseline in a tube), he did! He was sleeping really well each time I went to check on him and I think the nurse was just as excited as I was to see him doing so well. I give her a lot of the credit (to make her feel good of course) but I could tell he was starting to turn around. They were a little overstaffed in the ICU so she was able to give one on one care which I was pretty happy about. I would always ask the nurses how many high priority patients there were in the ICU and I especially liked the ones who responded with the appropriate answer of one, while they were looking at dad.
Chris was working and since dad was doing so well I decided to pretend to be doctor and walk around. It’s amazing to see how many more people say hello to you when you look like a doctor rather than just a family member. I was acting as if I was a specialist from out of town who was there for educational purposes. I even went into a room to shut off a call bell! I continued to check on dad periodically throughout the night until about 5 am. Each time I had a nice chat with the nurse who was still on cloud nine and very excited about his progress.
I decided to finally go to bed a get a little rest that night. I slept for 3 hours or so and then I journeyed over to my grandparents hotel room to pack up and take a shower. I had noticed during the initial stages I thought I forgot my toothbrush, so I had to buy a new one and I kept it at the hotel. As I get out of the shower and get ready to brush my teeth, but I realize my toothbrush isn’t around. I ask my grandma about it and she looks at me as if she was confused. It soon comes out that she thought it was her toothbrush and that apparently she’s been using it for the entire trip. I was kind of grossed out, but I think I was really just too tired to care that much about it. I made sure I used really hot water that morning.
We get back to the hospital to say our goodbyes and dad is still sleeping pretty comfortably. It wasn’t easy to leave, but we were in a time crunch and knowing that he had been doing better the day before really helped out. We make it to the airport and my grandpa tells me they aren’t going to sit next to me, because a “cute” girl might sit next to me instead. Indeed he was right, and I did get to sit next to a cute girl. I warned her that my grandfather would say something about her sitting next to me and no sooner than I said that, he turned around and yelled “lucky.. lucky...” It made both of us laugh and as we get off of the plane I get thrown under the bus saying that I didn’t stop talking the entire flight and was a pain to sit next to. We land in Baltimore and have a 2 hour layover and all I really remember about the airport is a that apparently they were testing fire alarms and they weren’t aware of how to turn them off. I remember hearing a overhead page saying “this is just a test” but it was an annoying long test. I’d estimate it went on for at least 15 minutes.
My next flight was a nice short one and it turns out the lady who was lucky enough to sit next to me on this round was a healthcare journalist. Of course I thought about the blog and mentioned to her that I’ve been writing about my experience in the hospital and she promised to check it out and give me some constructive criticism on it. It’s kind of strange how much it has blown up and how many people whom I don’t even know have mentioned to me how they enjoy reading it. It’s been so much easier updating the blog rather than calling a lot of different people. It reaches so many different people that it’s truly incredible. It’s kind of cool how I was able to talk to certain people over the past 4 weeks and connect through this ordeal nd strange that I can even connect through this on the airplane.
Typically whenever I’m flying i’d call my dad or even text and let him know where I landed and how the flight went. As I was walking off the plane, I caught myself taking my phone out and dialing “Dad.” I even attempted to do it again when I was sitting in the Baltimore airport. It then hit me again, that I haven’t been able to talk to dad as I have in the past. I’m not really sure how I’d handle it if I didn’t have the opportunity again. I was ready to tell dad how bumpy the landing was, and where I was going to eat in the airport. It’s the little things throughout your day that you don’t realize you have until something is in the way of that routine. That’s when you really begin to miss it.
I’m thankful I have so many amazing friends willing to give their time to help me out, I’ve had friends come and clean out the sour milk and food from my fridge, do laundry I had piled up (thanks jeff) and ones that have even picked me up from the airport. As I got home I sat and talked to John and Carla (my ride) a little more and once they left I decided I should probably eat something. Although I was still pretty tired, I made a little food and sat on the couch to eat it. Next thing I know I’m waking up in the middle of the night with my food in my face untouched. I decided there was no use in eating it and continued to go to lay in bed while not worry about waking up at any particular time. I eventually wake up around noon and immediately think of my chiropractor friend after I stretch. I haven’t really been used to stretching out when I sleep, and in some form or another my back was reminded me of that.
I was welcomed back to Erie by snow, yes snow. After I was getting up and ready to do my task for the day, I get ready to walk outside and see snow. Seriously, snow in April, how ridiculous is that. Courtney (step sister) calls me later in the day and tells me dad is responding more and he’s even smiling when she was talking to him. Leery that he’d be smiling when she was talking to him, I was convinced he was still a little sedated to recognize her. The next morning when doctor walked in the room and introduced himself dad reached up to shake his hand. The doctor was ecstatic and gave two thumbs up on his progress. Apparently throughout the day dad was trying to pull out his tubes and was getting very anxious together. He was excited trying to give Chris hugs and was even playing with her hair and smacking his lips making kissing faces. The thing I immediately thought about was either I should have left sooner if he’s doing this well or I’m glad that I got out just in time so I don’t have to witness touchy feely stuff.
Yesterday dad went to surgery and they put in a peg tube. I asked Chris who was with her in the waiting room and she told me that Quincy was there. I was surprised by this because I assumed that he was getting ready for his weekly American idol party but apparently someone else took over the task of frosting the cupcakes this week. I’m sure he was hoping the surgery would get done soon so that he could go home and watch it live. The peg tube is placed in his stomach so he can get more nutrition and it’s not that annoying tube that goes down your nose. I was able to talk to him on the phone a little and he is starting to sign and mouth words back to us and Chris is poorly attempting to translate. Most of his medicines have been taken off and he has been doing really well. He’s still in ICU and we aren’t sure when he will come out of it, but they aren’t going to rush anything to get him out of there.
Today has been even better than the last couple. Unfortunately I missed the call when I was at work, but my dad was able to talk a little today. A speech therapist came into today and put in a valve so that he could talk a little. It’s not in all of the time, but they’re going work their way up on wearing time. I was excited to hear that he was able to talk and is doing so much better. He was able to talk my sister and tell her he loved her. I’m sure it was such a relief and encouragement to hear his voice. I’m kind of scared in a way to hear from him, because he might tell me that he’s understood everything I told him when he was sedated and I might get yelled at. I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed for a “hey bud.” Look for another update coming in the next couple days from the guest writer, I have no doubt it will be a good one. Continue to pray for improvement. We’ve seen miracles so far and he’s been doing great.