Thursday, April 21, 2011

ER time~

We have been at that stage where our parents' health has been an issue. For about 12 years now.
We are pro's at this now, as weird as that sounds. I'm not trying to make light of it, just trying to get through it...with some humor. But before I get started, I'm gonna tally up the past.
My mom: Parkinsons and Shy Drager disease ( not much humor here, what can I say, she was french.)
Mike's mom: Alzheimers ( left me notes all over the house telling me I was on camera and to stop stealing from her)
Mike's Dad: Alzheimers ( we didn't have much connection there...)
My dad: congestive heart failure, triple bypass surgery on my 40th birthday, diabetes, and now, broken neck surgery and beginning Alzheimers.

I have seen it all. Literally. It has left me wondering why we are born with such splendor and die with so little grace. But, in the long days of caretaking, I am grateful for the moments that catch me off guard.
With my father in Tacoma General Trauma ER room this week, I marvel at how he can have half his face swollen and bleeding from a fall,with a fractured neck, and still hold a conversation with a captain ER nurse who also did the jump school at Fort Benning.
Then another Army ER nurse who was a man, heard my dad was military once upon a day and say " You Army? me too!" My dad look at him and says :" you a doctor?"...."No, I am an ER nurse"..... "Oh, that's ok buddy.... Can't all be doctors"....
AT that point I jumped in and rescued the conversation.
But one night in his room, my dad must have been feeling a little better. His sheets needed to be changed and his RN decided to share with us. Went like this~
" When I first started nursing at 19, I had to change the sheets in a bed with a man still IN it. AND I had never seen a man naked before" To which my dad says:
AT that point, we all felt a need to answer FOR her.
"Oh well" my dad says.

Then there is the afternoon where I was asking my dad how he slept the night before.
"oh man, great! I slept all night and the percosets massage my legs and make them feel so much better! I am not in pain anymore!"
I was thinking, hmmm, that's cool.
As I am covering Dad up with a blanket, I notice he has these leg wraps on that are connected to a machine that are expanding and contracting around his legs.
that's what he was talking about!! Duh.
Gotta admit, that was a moment where I felt pretty dumb. Until he asked me what those things were on his legs? Well Dad, it's like this......
And lastly, yesterday morning . He was an NPO , which meant no food or liquids after midnight because of the upcoming surgery.
He tells me he has to use the bathroom. They don't want him standing up, for fear of no energy. So they hand him the plastic carafe with the handle. He proceed to align himself up and then does his thing. I am trying to be discreet.
No can do.
The man peed like a horse.
On steroids.
At one point, the guy down the hall popped in to see how dad was.
" about you?"
"oh, not so good, I haven't pooped in 4 days"..... This guy looks at me and must have noticed the grimace on my face and starts cracking up. Then we look at dad, whose eyes are closed.
Seriously? Did he just fall asleep peeing?
" did you fall asleep?"
"NO! I'm just concentrating!"
Far be it for me and the guy down the hall to interrupt that process!
Then he hands me a FULL carafe of urine.
Where are those nurses when you need them?!?
And I leave you with something I am sure all of you have experienced in your lifetime....the crop dusting.
Yeah, we got crop dusted by our dad.
And then he has the nerve to tell us that he had no food inside him, so it was all good.
Oh, we beg to differ dad.
But then again, it was Michael and Marie who left the room still inside of it.
Brings a whole new meaning to " every man save himself".
They did. And I was left clinging to the fog, trying to save myself.

I have a feeling I am going to hear a lot more of this stuff in the future.....
So, go hug your parents if they are still alive and well. Trust me.
You won't regret it.

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