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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good News / Bad News

My dad is in the hospital.

The trouble started last week. He was sick with symptoms that you would expect to see from a stomach bug. Friday morning, he was delirious and his wife called an ambulance and had him taken to the hospital. My brother called me Friday morning to let me know, but at that point, it seemed that the diagnosis was dehydration, and that he would be ok. Saturday, he continued to deteriorate. I was told that he wasn't conscious, so I should go on with my weekend as planned. I was heading to the beach (more on that in a future post) to spend one night with my mom and go on a dive.

Sunday, my dad was admitted into the ICU and put on a ventilator. His condition continued to get worse, and he was in shock. The doctors did not know what was causing the shock, but were doing plenty of tests while trying to figure it out.

Monday, I was at work and I was called down to the hospital (it's about 2 hours away) because my dad was going into emergency exploratory surgery as a last ditch effort to figure out what was wrong. He was not expected to survive the surgery.

I arrived at the hospital to find that he had survived the surgery, but that they had found nothing and his kidneys and liver were failing. Monday night, he was put on dialysis.

Tuesday, I was again at work and I was called down to the hospital because the doctor wished to speak to the family. We all thought the worst - that we were going to be asked to take him off of life support. However, the doctor said that his color was good, and that he was somewhat stable. He wanted to ask a lot of questions about lifestyle, and what my dad had been up to in the days preceding his illness. He asked about arsenic - would my dad have been exposed to it? We thought no. However, the doctor started treating my dad for arsenic poisoning, as well as the variety of antibiotics that he was already on to fight whatever might have caused the shock. None of the tests had come back positive - no bacteria cultures were positive, a spinal tap turned up nothing. CT Scan was fine. X-Rays were fine. Nothing, absolutely nothing, was coming up positive.

In the meantime, shock causes blood pressure to drop very low, and the blood pressure meds that my dad was being given to maintain his blood pressure are very harsh, and would lead to a survival chance of zero. He only had a few days to be on them, so we had to be aware that the source of the shock had to be found or else he would not survive the week. The surgeon who performed my dad's exploratory surgery said to my brother that "It would take a miracle at this point."

I was supposed to leave for our annual anniversary trip to Little Cayman this morning, and all along Todd and I had been struggling with whether or not we should go. Yesterday, we finally decided to try moving the dates, and we successfully rescheduled the trip. Not only am I upset about my dad, but I'm also a little heartbroken to miss seeing our friends in Little Cayman for the next week. At least we are still able to go, just later.

Dad and me, 2008
Yesterday afternoon, my sister from Florida visited my dad for the first time (she arrived Tuesday night). She called me and let me know that my dad was starting to breathe on his own. He had been taken off of one of the blood pressure meds, and the amount he was given of the second blood pressure med had been significantly reduced. He was maintaining his blood pressure. The doctors were planning to try and take him off of dialysis, and also were going to try and wake him (he has not been conscious since Friday). Miracle? We don't know. He is not out of the woods yet, but it was nice to finally get some good news.

I haven't been down to the hospital since Tuesday afternoon. Yesterday, it was nice to feel normal and get in a full day at work and go for a run after work. I'm planning to go down to the hospital again tomorrow. No news today as to his status, but things are looking a little better. I admit, I am still bummed to not be on a plane right now heading to the Cayman Islands, but at least I'm not at a funeral. My dad and I do not have the best relationship, which is complicated and not something I would ever go into here, but I am glad he is doing better.

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James said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. I sure hope he can pull through this and they figure out what caused it.

lindsay said...

Oh how stressful! It is so frustrating when doctors can't figure out what is going wrong. I'm glad to hear he's doing better and hope he continues to improve. I also hope the docs can figure this out!

Good thing you could get the trip rescheduled. Strained relationship or not, I'm sure you'd feel guilty if you had gone and something had happened.

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