Bittersweet Symphony

As I took my jacket off Daddy burst into tears:

“I was just thinking I would call Alex or Mandy and have them bring your Mommy to see me.  I miss her and I wanted to see her.  Then I remembered she was dead.”  And then he wept harder.  He asked how we got here, did he have a stroke?  I went through a brief summary – the surgery, the cardiac arrest, the hypoxia and lack of oxygen, the stay and Huntington and now our current location at Overbrook.

He wept.  I wept.  It was a waterworks fiasco.  But it felt like progress.  I asked if there were medications that could be described for the low points but there is not.  This is a wave a memories, not like just being depressed – it is like reliving that Ma had just did.  Anti-depressants will not fight that for him.  So we will have to just roll with the punches.

I am still loving Overbrook.  The facility is so much better than HHR.  Love the staff.

Amanda came up to see her Pawpaw so did Tommy (his brother), Teresa (sister-in-law) and Terry (one of his close friends).  He was a little confused at first but recognized everyone.  He was a jokester and was pleasant to be around.  Once he had lunch and was back in bed he (very unceremoniously) let us know we should leave and go home.  As everyone stood in line for hugs, he grabbed his friend Terry and told him to give him a big hug.  It was nice to see him in good spirits, surrounded by people who love him.

Monday we had an appointment to see Dr Clark, the vascular specialist with Holzer in Gallipolis.  Dad was transported by ambulance (it was offered to allow me to transport him but there is no way I could have gotten him out of the car by myself and we do not have our own wheelchair).  The two young men from Life Ambulance (I am pretty sure that was the name of the service) were very nice young men.  They never left Dad’s side the entire trip and through the visit.  While at HHR, the van would take him to the appointment and then I hunted them down to even get them to help me get him from the chair back into the wheelchair.

Dr Clark will be performing a partial amputation of Dad’s left big toe this Friday.  He wants to take it from the knuckle up and pull the “good skin” flap over the top to seal it up.  He does not want to take it all the way down because there are issues that could come up from it.  The thing I found very interesting from his prognosis – Dad’s feet have great blood flow.  He does not think that the toe turning was due to diabetes (because only one toe turned, good pulse, etc).  He believes that when Dad went into cardiac arrest, he threw a blood clot that traveled to the toe and lodged in a smaller blood vessel, cutting off the blood supply to that side.

The first time we noticed his foot discoloration was the day after Dad went into cardiac arrest in Richmond four days post surgery.  I am hoping to find out if it is possible that while Dad was going through respiratory despair and cardiac arrest (chest compressions were performed) that maybe that is when the heart threw a clot.  I plan on asking Dr Simpson a ton of questions about it when I see him again.  In looking up reading on hypoxia, the first thing that always pulls up is a hand that looks bruised.  And it is due to the cutting of oxygen/blood flow to the extremities (during the hypoxic event).  And I know that we will probably never know exactly when the clot was thrown but it is a question that I will try my best to delve into over the next weeks.

My sister from another mister, Lisa came to visit Dad as well.  I wish she could have had as upbeat a visit as the one that happened on Sunday.  He was confused, cranky, ready for everyone to leave.  He wept at the sight of cardinals outside his window in the tree.  Overbrook has done an amazing job of attracting all of these cardinals (male and female) and they are huge and colorful and beautiful.  Daddy now thinks that the two he sees are Ma and Uncle Freddy (both have passed) and that they are there for him.  He said, “They will be there from the morning until I go to bed, they are here for me.”  Then he wept again.  The brain is a beautifully horrific part of our body that controls everything.  We are at its mercy.  And sometimes, it is a cruel cruel demon that tears at our very fabric.

Dad has forgotten our conversation and his realization that maybe there is something wrong with his brain.  He has fallen back to paranoia – Eastern Standard Time, people screwing with his days or times, etc.  I tried to explain the upcoming partial amputation.  It seemed like he understood.  But for how long, it is hard to tell.

This week I hope to get him to BINGO at least once, I made salmon for lunch today for him (actually was for dinner last night but at 630 he was in bed and refusing to wake back up), and preparing him for the upcoming procedure.

For those of you who are curious what a necrotic toe looks like, it is pictured at the very bottom of this post.  The black portion is what will be removed and the good skin will be pulled over and used to cap off the wound.  It is VERY gross – prewarning.  I put up the picture of me and Dad as a sort of barrier between good and bad (in case you don’t want to see the nasty).  Look at your own risk.

Keep him in your thoughts.  I know it will all go well…


dadPic 2


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