Just when you’re cruising down the road at a nice speed and admiring the view *BAM!* life sends you a metaphorical deer to crack your windshield.
On the night of March 15th my Dad was taken to the ER by my mom and my brother. He’d been acting “weird” for a few days. Forgetting things, being confused about dates, shuffling around. Mom and John had talked about it and theorized it was due to the sinus medicine he was taking. Or a stroke. Well, on that night he was disoriented and unable to get out of his chair. Once he did, by falling out of it and then getting up, Mom called John and they took him in to the hospital. (To the surprise of no one, he insisted he was fine and this was completely unnecessary.)
It was clear to the doctor on call something was very wrong. They did a CAT scan and found blood pooling on the left side of his brain. All the blood was pushing his brain over into the right side of his skull and forcing it into an unnatural shape. He had to be transferred to Mayo immediately.
By the time he reached the Mayo Clinic at 3am (now Wednesday) he was having trouble speaking. He couldn’t tell them the date and couldn’t say who Mom, John or his wife, Michelle, were. The lights were on, but Elvis was getting ready to leave the building.
He was in surgery by 7:30am; the first surgery of the day. The doctors drilled 2 holes in his skull and drained 300 cc or 1.25 cups of blood off his brain. He was out in 3 hours and the doctors were hopeful as the surgery had been very easy and they didn’t have to do anything more “invasive.”
So, you know how I mentioned the deer smacking the windshield earlier? Well, this is where you discover that you’re right next to a great and cute mechanic who has offered to fix your window for cheap while you wait at the ice cream shoppe across the street.
When he woke up he said, “This looks like a hospital. What am I doing here?” Mom was only too happy to tell him. It was clear after that first conversation that he was all there. After a few hours his sense of humor was back, too. (Mom told him she was leaving the ICU to make a phone call to me, but she’d be back soon. He replied, “Thanks for the warning.”)
It was a miracle.
Especially when you saw the other neurology patients and their families. Dad was able to be up and walking and out the door by Saturday afternoon. Lots of those people were going to be there for quite some time. Some of those people were never going to leave the hospital. Dad was going HOME. Not to a therapy or rehab unit. Not to a nursing home while we all adjusted to his care needs. HOME.
He’s got a few restrictions. No lifting over 10 pounds. No driving for 2 more weeks. No work for 6 weeks. He does need to lift some weights with his right arm and do some walking to help restrengthen that side, but other than that and the occasional CAT scan he’s left to his own devices.
He could use some visitors or phone calls to help take his mind off his restrictions. Mom’s made cookies and always has coffee at the ready. She might even have a pie out. If you’re lucky.