Good Morning Gentle Readers,
It didn't look good for dad. The doctor bluntly pronounced that there was nothing more that he could do for him after Pop yanked out his feeding tubes and said NO. Not only no, but hell no. His wife signed a DNR and her daughter drove her home.
About a week and a half ago he inexplicably went down like a sack of potatoes, fracturing his neck and dislocating his shoulder in the process. The working theory is that the fall was caused by an irregular heartbeat that dropped too low. He has no recollection.
The man's head looks like it met the business end of a Comanche tomahawk with a bruise the size of a baseball and several Frankenstein stitches. For reasons that are poorly understood (at least by me), the trauma made it so he swallows into his lungs, which means he can't eat and pneumonia has set in.
A week ago Friday, long before dawn, me, my sister, and my brah-in-law made the 400 mile trek to the hospital in Modesto to say our final goodbyes. At least I figured it would be that way. But, there was another trick in the bag and while we watched on Friday, a speech therapist coaxed his throat muscles into swallowing almost an entire container of apple sauce. And a pain pill. That seemed like the turning point. By the time we left on Sunday last, he was able to eat a little mashed potatoes, pudding, and more applesauce.
Of course, it will be a while before he's eating grub like this awesome breakfast we enjoyed at the 24th Street Cafe in Bakersfield on the way up 99.
We talked with a social worker and California, the RN (her parents were hippies). He revoked the DNR and made it clear that he wants physical therapy so he can go home. It's not that he's recovered, it's that he's not going to die today. It's taken this entire week for him to become stable enough to consider moving from the hospital to an acute care facility nearer his home. A couple of days ago he had a pacemaker implanted, which should make him feel more energetic and will stop the heart rate from dropping like a rock at inconvenient times.
Assuming everything goes well and he ends up at home in a few months, splitting wood for the stove, driving his wife to dinner and the store, fixing her lunch, and helping her into the tub will all be out of the question. But at least he'll be home and that's his end goal. Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts.
I am also very grateful to have been able to spend some time with my sister and my brah-in-law, who seems to be enjoying his Chilada. Good people.