June 07, 2010

Shouldn't I Have a License for This?

Bones birthday was both wonderful and stressful.

Quickly, someone had asked, yes, special dinner as I always make a special dinner for birthdays! Per his request, homemade chicken pot pie, with yellow cake and my chocolate buttercream frosting, that he swears is the best chocolate frosting ever, and to which my reply is, "Anything with two sticks of butter, four cups of confectioner's sugar and chocolate, is bound to be dang good."


So it was hotter than three hells in my kitchen as I was putting dinner in the oven and my husband was making clams for an appetizer (per Bone's request) when Pop rolled in and the rest of the family followed. That's when I heard my brother in law say, "Dad. You're still all swollen. Did you see the doctor? What did he say?"

Now, it may sound like a brow beating, and it was, but it's because getting information from my father in law is like coaxing a conversation from a teenage boy. You know there are thoughts in that head, but they just aren't going to come out.

And I don't know what it is. I can't figure out if he does it for the attention? Is he trying to be some sort of martyr? He wants to seem sicker than he is so people worry and fuss?

I don't know.

But it irritates the ever living stew out of me.

But I'm taking note now of this conversation between father and son in my living room, because something sounds different and as crazy busy I am, I realize, I need to be collecting data. I hear this going on for quite awhile, my husband goes over and joins in and I continue to listen, until finally, I notice my husband is back in the kitchen, looking stressed and withdrawn.

I look at him and say, "You have to take him to the ER after supper."

He replied, "I went there mentally already..."

That's the beautiful thing about being married to me, there is no floating down any rivers of denial. I rip that bandaid right off. Tell it like it is. Blunt and insensitive. Put it out there so everyone can see it big as day.

He was in his 'trying to cope' mode as his life is crazy hectic too and now he's trying to figure out how he's going to fit an ER run into our lives, this being Bones' birthday, and with a HUGE lecture coming up on Thursday, and the business being rather busy, and... it would be all him. No other siblings would help him. As always... it would be my husband's responsibility to make things right. (I help. I went to see Pop three times today.)

At the end of dinner, I sat down on the floor and took off Pop's shoe and then peeled off his sock. His ankle was swollen to 3x it's size and his calfs and shins were so swollen and red, it looked that if you poked them, they might pop.

He had become the poster child for serious edema and how in the hell the health care workers that look after him hadn't caught it, left me speechless.

I rubbed his feet, checked for circulation, made sure he had feeling and no sores. I looked up at him and said, "Pop, this is terrible. You have cellulitis. The swelling... this is indicative of some seriously bad stuff. Look at your arms... they're bad too."

We'd been discussing it all night, potential for renal issues, congestive heart failure symptoms, but my sitting there at his feet, rubbing them, touching his legs, I was so angry. This had been going on for A WEEK!

He started to cry, "I don't want to go to the ER..."

I looked up at him, foot in hand and said, 'Pop, you have two choices. You can have him take you tonight or you have to wait two days when he has time. I think in two days they won't be able to fix you. So I guess your choice is... you go tonight... or you die."

Immediately the tears turned off and he said, "OK." And off they went.

I related this story to a girlfriend of mine who said she sees it too with her grandfather who is in in 90s. One minute he's saying he wishes he was with her grandmother (dead 20 years) and the next minute he's all panicked he's seriously sick.

I said to her, 'Oh yeah. "Oh Lord, why do you make me suffer?! I just wish you would take me now!" But dang, once that Grim Reaper's shadow even appears to be at his doorstep, it becomes, 'No! You go away! Come back another day! I'm not ready!"

And so he sits in the hospital, this being his 2nd night, hooked up to Lasex trying to get the fluid out of his body, kidney issues are questioned, congestive heart failure appears to be ruled out, big ticket items checked off the list as 'no', nobody really knowing what's going on, just agreeing something isn't right. (I have my suspicions, but we'll see what the real doctors think.)

I can't help but think we're seeing a window into the future of what will ultimately take him. It won't be the Parkinson's, it won't be heart, it won't be a stroke, but I get this feeling it will be a systematic shut down of sorts. He's 84... and I think that his innards are just worn out.

If that makes sense.

Hell, I could be wrong. It could be 20 more years, but last night... didn't look so good.

We shall see...

Posted by Boudicca at June 7, 2010 09:45 PM

Bou - Been in exactly that same situation recently with a good family friend, who is much younger than your dad but who has serious weight and health problems. Cellulitis can be nasty! I had no idea how disoriented an infection like that can cause someone to become. I was worried that our friend had had a stroke or something ... she was confused and her leg was swollen, red, and weeping. She only consented to going to the doctor because she had fallen and couldn't remember how it happened.

Posted by: PeggyU at June 8, 2010 02:50 AM

Peggy- And our story just gets better and better. As we're trying to track down how he got cellulitis, which led me to taking off his shoe and sock, looking for some sort of sore on his foot,anything, we were getting pretty much nothing. Finally in the hospital he tells me that some old man in a wheel chair got pissed off at him and continually rammed him in the shins with the food pedals. Essentially we're talking... assault, right?

So there is so much wrong here, Edema for a week throughout his arms and legs, that NOBODY does anything about at the facility other than to say, "Your shoes are really hard to put on", a maniac in a wheel chair that rams him so hard that the edema gets worse and he gets cellulitis, and where were the people who work at this place as all this happened?

I finally took pictures with my cell phone and I emailed them to my sister in law in Jersey who is beside herself pissed off and would be down here right now except she had hip replacement on Wednesday and I told her to stay put... she doesn't need to be anywhere she could get infection. I'm having to hold myself back from going to the facility and reaming someone out... its going to happen... I just don't know if it will be today.

Posted by: Bou at June 8, 2010 06:51 AM

I'd suggest an email with photos attached to that 'care' facility... with copies to his doctors and their legal department. What a horrible thing for that poor man to go through!

Posted by: Jean at June 8, 2010 09:03 AM

Someday I will write about my FIL and his health issues.

I am at the point of giving up, not caring, etc.

Because he won't listen to me (and I've been right everytime about his problems, but he still won't listen) because I am a women.

This man is so chavanistic that he is putting his health at risk because he won't listen to anything a women or foreigner (including doctors) has to say. Nor will he question anything a doctors says/does to him.

He's like a blind sheep.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at June 8, 2010 11:19 AM

Hmmm... if you email the pictures this gives them time to cover things up... just my way of looking at it. I'd print them out and bring them along. You've got the hospital records on his condition when he was admitted - this is the physical evidence to get their attention.

As for me... I'm gonna pray that you can hold off from wreaking some well deserved havoc on the place. heh.

Posted by: Teresa at June 8, 2010 11:27 AM

Am I wrong for thinking you should get your FIL some shin guards and sharp-toed shoes ... and tell him to kick back?

Posted by: PeggyU at June 9, 2010 10:56 AM