Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Dadeo's Illness

Most of you are following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and already know what's happened to my father, but here's his story- the beginning part, or the middle part. The We Don't Know Where We Are in this story part.

So my Dad and stepmom Jamie have a house here and a home in Maine. On a gorgeous, tiny little island, as a side note. She spends summers there, because she can and if you can pick a cool, quaint island or a steaming sauna of allergens in a suburb, you get your ass to Eastport, ME and you stay there until your son's baby is ready to pop out of his amazing partner's lovely belly. Dad was up in Maine working on the house, as they're still fixer-upper-ing. He started feeling pain in his butt like you might when you've been working on your back on plumbing. But he was sick too, and started feeling awful really fast. He started toward home and in Maryland was too sick to keep driving. My brother E and uncle drove up to get him and drove him straight to the ER here in Charleston, WV. 

The "bruise" on his bottom was very inflamed and hot to the touch and he was just sick as you can be and still be alive. He was in incredible pain. They admitted Dad right away Sunday night. I woke up Monday to an update that he was very seriously ill and was going into surgery, so Shane, Molly, E and I went straight there. We waited with one of my aunts, and after a while I told Shane to head home, that I didn't want Molly to wait all day.

Then the surgeons came out and told us the infection was Necrotizing Fasciitis. I knew from news stories that this meant "flesh-eating bacteria" and it felt like the floor slipped out from under us all. I called Shane back immediately, in absolute shock.

They explained the life-threatening potential of this disease and the plan is just to keep operating again and again to remove the infected tissue. He's had surgery every day since then, and is mostly under heavy sedation. When he is awake enough to visit with us he can communicate clearly- though he is annoyed and uncomfortable with a ventilation tube. He is mostly breathing on his own, but they don't want to continually re-intubate him, of course. He's on aggressive antibiotics and he does have sepsis, meaning the infection is in his bloodstream. There have been signs that it is improving, like his low blood pressure getting better, but I believe it dropped again last night.

The situation is that this is a long, difficult fight. We're all exhausted and numb but terrified. It's a day by day thing. Keep walking one step after the other and make yourself sleep and rest. My pain kept me from being with him yesterday but I think I'm going to be OK to go in this afternoon.

I'm just tired to my core. I do not in any way feel like I can watch this happen to a parent again. I keep telling myself that the outcome can be different. Odds are for survival here. But I want to throw up because Mom was supposed to live for years with her cancer and the hospital made a small mistake and she was gone the next day. Dad is at an infinitely better facility. He's getting wonderful care... It's just the idea of this continuing indefinitely (again, another parent but again... cycles of surgeries and ICU waiting rooms and all of it) wants to just shut me down.

It's so different to be a mother and experience this. I'm afraid to break down in front of her, but she's seen me crying and just pets me, and says I can pick any show to watch on Netflix. She wears a tiara in her messy hair in the waiting room and she curls into me at night and keeps me grounded.

I am letting it out when I need to. I'm surrounded by love. Dad is surrounded by love and sweet family prayers and my magic friends' good, good mojo. And his wife- I forgot to write that but I'm too sleepy to narrate. She was stuck in Maine until yesterday, but she is here, and they were over the moon to be together. They are a couple that inspires other marriages. They are in big, Disney love and have been for shit- almost 20 years?

I'm making breakfast, with real eggs and bread and stuff, then heading back to the waiting room, and wow: Has there ever been a phrase more appropriate?

My Facebook updates are tagged with #RayAllYouNeedIsLove because the Beatles are necessary.

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