Friday, August 29, 2008

Sorry I didn't update yesterday on John's prognosis. I was too tired and worn-out to blog. But news is better thankfully.

Yesterday I got up, showered, and ran to Dunkin to get myself a coffee and a donut for Mom. Cuz I know her too well and know that when she's stressed she will not eat. Not that a donut is so healthy but she does love her some glazed donuts. We then headed to the Veterans Admin. Hospital to see John. I wasn't sure if they would let me in considering I'm not technically "family" but man is this hospital lax. They didn't even ask who I was. (By the way, there is nothing MORE depressing than a Veteran's hospital....sorta run-down and outdated with sad, old Veterans wheeling themselves around in wheelchairs or hobbling on canes. Sad, sad, sad on all of their faces. It was heart-breaking.) And distressing that these are the men and women who have fought for our country at different times, different places and yet no one can even clean up the freakin' urine all over the floor of the rest room I happened to use? It was just plain sad.

Anyway, we walked into the room in ICU and there is John, hooked up to so many wires and tubes and monitors that it almost took my breath away. And I've never seen anyone simultaneously look so old and yet childlike laying there amidst all of that, his eyes closed, under his white blanket, and a random spot of dried blood on his earlobe. It's so random but my thought was, "Couldn't someone have wiped that dried blood of his ear?" My mom grabbed his hand and one of his eyes fluttered half way open and focused on her and he squeezed her hand back. She asked a couple of questions, not expecting an answer since obviously he could not talk with a tube rammed down his throat. He seemed to get frustrated that he could not talk and pulled his hand free and gently smacked his blanket with it. Beside him lay a piece of paper and a pen with the shaky, scribbled word, PAIN in big upper-case letters written on it and also some more scribbles and what what looked like an L for, I"m assuming, left side. John's eyes fluttered close and he seemed to go in and out for a few more minutes; his right leg kept twitching and I couldn't take my eyes off his foot, not covered by the blanket. His other foot that protruded was covered by a gauze wrap. My mom informed me that his left leg had a pump in it originally and it looked like they must have removed it.

"Why don't' they cover his feet?" I asked. "That would annoy me, having my feet popping out like that." It reminded me a of a moment, a bit over six years ago, as I stared down at my father lying in his own bed in his own bedroom, dying before our eyes. His feet were uncovered and I was giving him a foot massage. Dad, when he was still able to talk, would not let his visiting nurse's aid give him a foot massage, no matter how many times she offered, becuz he always proudly said, "My daughter does that. April gives the best foot massages." Weird, how staring at someone else's feet could bring back this memory.

A nurse entered at that moment clutching a syringe filled with liquid and greeted us. She informed us that she was giving John some morphine for his pain and she told us she would answer any questions we asked. The pump in his heart and leg had already been removed and the nurse was pretty optimistic that they wold be removing his respirator, without further problems. She did let us know that he had fluid in his lungs (since most patients after this type of surgery are made to get up and walk, so that fluid would not build but obviously they had not been able to do that with John) but that while it was not great, it was not life-threatening either. One thing I found out from my mom too, was that during his double bypass surgery, and after they restarted his stopped heart, they removed three blood clots as well. Thank goodness they removed them.

After the nurse left, my mom and I stood there in silence, analyzing John, lost in our own thoughts. I stared hard at every visible bruise on the inside of his arms, every toe nail on his visible feet, the top of his shiny head, and realized I'd never once stared this openly, and searchingly at this man.

"I feel better." My mom said, "--But I'll still feel more relieved once they get that tube out of his throat." I nodded and agreed. My mom suggested we leave becuz if he opened his eyes again (although highly doubtful with the morphine coursing thru his blood) that she didn't want him getting frustrated again about not being able to talk.

So...there is hope. The doctor had told my mom that John's heart was much weaker than they anticipated. But there was progress and for that, I am hopeful. And I am a big believer in positive energy and despite my nervousness, I feel like I brought some positive energy into that ICU room and passed it on to both my mom and John.

Today, I'm back at work. I have cried this morning, but that's me. I cry always. But I did laugh twice. First on the way to work, when I passed by a strip club and did a double take to see two half-naked strippers sitting by the roadside, legs crossed demurely, by a huge sign that practically shouted, FREE COFFEE!!!! I started to laugh. And honestly, I wanted to stop and get my free coffee but I would have been late for work. Then once in work, my boss showed me a form that a potential student had filled out. THe student had received a massage while on vacation in Williamsburg, VIrginia; On the form she had written "Williamsburg, Vagina". No freakin' lie. I just about died laughing.

Laughing is SO good for the soul!!


Bekah said...

so glad to hear this april!

~**Dawn**~ said...

I will definitely continue to keep them in my thoughts. I have heard things like that about the V.A. when Nichole was doing her residency. It made me sad too.

Kel said...

Glad to hear he is getting better - sorry you are feeling down today. I know this must be hard, but I'm keeping you and your family in my thoughts!

I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!

Stephanie said...

I'm glad to hear things are looking a little better.
I'll keep you all in my prayers

jen @ the cubicle's backporch said...

I agree about the Veterans Hospitals. These men and women fought for our LIVES at some point or another. They have memories that we can't even imagine... and here they are in these POS hospitals with mediocre levels of care. My grandpa was in a VA hospital when we went to see him. Very sad.

I'm glad he's doing better. Please keep us posted.

tricki_nicki said...

Oh man, I was dying when I read the part about the 'demure' strippers giving away coffee!

I hope John recovers well and gets to be Grandpa John SOON!

Anonymous said...

OH sweetie, this was truly a touching post. I nearly cried reading about your father and your foot massages. And the horrors of Vets hospitals. Gastly.

As you know, I'm still thinking and praying for God to keep his hands healing John today.

I'm so glad that you were able to laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine! (and those were both good ones!!!)

Melissa said...

I'm glad to hear that John has improved a bit. I can't even imagine how scary this must be for all of you!

I will continue to pray and I'm sending warm thoughts and (((hugs)) your way!

Morgan said...

LOL on the vagina thing!! He is still in my thoughts and prayers!!

Chele76 said...

I'm so glad to hear that things are looking up.

angie said...

Laughing IS good for the soul. It's unfortunate that some instances are just not conducive to laughter. I'm glad you found some joy in the day, and I'm glad John's surgery went well. My FIL had a heart transplant 2 years was some pretty scary times.

angie said...

I just read the previous post about how the surgery DIDN't go so well. How scary.......I guess I"m glad the recovery is right on schedule and that they caught those things during surgery.

My boys are Army Brats said...

I'm glad to hear he's progressing some toward recovery. Hopefully your next update will tell us that the respirator has been removed and he can talk again!

Loved the "virginia" mishap!

Robyn said...

I'm glad to hear he's doing better. I think because the VAs are government run and have no money donors, per se, that they get run down. I'm glad you got a chuckle at work, too bad youdidn't get the free coffee;)