Looking back on 2019, I had a pretty great ride. There were ups and downs throughout, but by the end of the year, everything seemed to make sense. Not all was fair, no, not fair, but I had metabolized the crazy (meth addict breaking into our house) and the insane (the arbitration verdict) and the rest was pretty darn fabulous and included healthy sojourns and decadent discoveries, tea houses and beach houses, Hawaii and Tahiti, friends and family, and a beautiful new office space. Blue Eyes reached six years of sobriety and the end of year festivities weren’t quite as festive because I had been sick with the flu, but then I was better and suddenly it was 2020.
And then on January 3rd, my 77-year-old Dad had emergency abdominal surgery, and he is still in the ICU. I’m exhausted. All the back and forth trips to the hospital, a three-hour drive/train ride away, and overnight shifts in the ICU, plus the emotional fatigue that comes with the roller coaster ride he has been on has taken its toll. The ventilator stayed in for 13 days and he was unable to talk or communicate well the entire time. They kept him paralyzed for a while so he didn’t mess with his open wound. Then they kept him sedated in order to help his body heal, supposedly, but sometimes I think the doses were administered based on the nurses’ workloads. I also think the sedation made it all that more difficult to get him off the ventilator. When they finally started feeding him through a tube in his nose, his blood sugars went sky high. The food had no markings on it, but everyone knows he’s a dialysis-dependent diabetic, right? On the second day when they were trying to figure out why his blood sugar reading was 426, I asked (although I felt stupid asking because these are fucking trauma-trained ICU nurses) if they were giving him diabetic food. The answer was NO???? That seems like a no-brainer, right? Within four hours of changing his food his blood glucose was back in the 100’s.
Then there was the night this week where they couldn’t wake him up. I mean AT ALL. It wasn’t just sedation either. The nurse quickly checked his levels and apparently he wasn’t breathing out strongly enough (constant oxygen mask attached to his face) and he wasn’t clearing the CO 2 fast enough. He was unconscious. Thank goodness one of my brothers had just returned from an anniversary trip with his wife and had stopped in to check on Dad. Who knows how long they would have let him lie there thinking he was just asleep.
Yesterday they had to go in and surgically clean up his abdominal wound. Some of the fatty tissue was dying off. They have determined there is a fungus. He also has a collapsed lung and pneumonia. He’s on antibiotics and there is a chest tube. The last I was there they were trying to get him to eat something by mouth, but his swallowing reflex isn’t strong enough yet. His blood pressure is also dangerously low, so he’s on two meds for that. When he is awake, his spirits are relatively good although he threatened to crawl out of the ICU when they told him he is too weak to walk. When I have been with him, and he was awake, he was completely lucid and his memory is good. In order to legitimately break free of the ICU he needs his blood pressure normalized without the IV meds, he needs his white count to normalize (no more infection/pneumonia), and he needs to be eating on his own. Meanwhile, yesterday he was actually sitting in a chair watching a basketball game, so there is hope.
Besides the hospital coverage, I have been traveling for work and we leave Saturday for Japan. Last night my plane home was delayed and I walked in the door at about midnight. I watched a bit of Australian Open tennis with my son, and then crashed. That alarm went off way too early this morning. Today I am so tired I’m dizzy and nauseous. The nice thing about Japan is I don’t have to go to all the meetings and dinners and I can work from the hotel room with no obligations and no distractions. I’m anticipating lots of updates on Dad’s health condition and hoping for that text that says he’s finally being transferred out of ICU.
Meantime, I think I’ll be asleep by 9pm, unless Roger Federer is playing tennis, then, who knows.