Friday, January 28, 2011

In, out, up and down.

My grandfather is in the hospital.  He has been in there for about a week and a half with pneumonia.  Of course, I didn't find delightful details of his inpatient stay until just last night and this afternoon. 

He wasn't accepting visitors, so I haven't gone to see him.  Grandpa is the kind of guy who can and will kick people out. 

With that out of the way, Mom was telling me last night about, "When he coded, can you believe that they cracked his ribs?" 

"He coded -- what?"

"Oh, yes.  He coded.  Didn't I tell you that?  Well, I think that it is horrible that they broke two ribs when they were giving him CPR."

"Mom, that is a risk you take.  It's common."

"Oh."

She calls me today to tell me that when I get a moment in the very near future, I really should go see Grandpa.  I was talking about Hubs working and the time I could go and she says, "Well, remember that you can see him from 4-6 or from 7:30 - 9." 

"He's in ICU?"

"Oh, yes.  I didn't tell you?  He's been there since Friday night in the middle of the night."

"Um, another detail that you neglected to mention."

A detail to know?  Mom calls me every night and sometimes more than once.

I called my sister to see if she wanted me to come retrieve her from the bumpkin land that she lives in and she was otherwise obligated.  I wasn't going there myself, so I called my brother Dumpy.  (A childhood nickname.)  I knew that he would go and I wanted to hook up with someone.  If I was going to get kicked out, I didn't want to go myself. 

We hooked up, went over and started to navigate the hospital. 

I should add that we have two major hospitals in town.  The one I know like the back of my hand.  I can navigate that place with my eyes closed.  The hospital that Grandpa is in is not so good on the navigationally challenged.

I'm navigationally challenged.  Hubs is surprised I haven't gotten lost in the driveway.

Apparently, my brother suffers from the same challenge. 

We came in from the parking deck, my brother hits the elevator button to go up and it hit me.  "Um, why are we standing at this elevator to go up when this isn't even the hospital yet?"

He started laughing.  "I was just testing you, of course."  He was laughing because we hadn't even gotten to the hospital yet before the navigational deficit kicked in.

"We have to cross the bridge, which is right there, to be able to go to the hospital."  He laughed again.  This would be a good trip.

We need the third floor.  Got on the elevator, it dropped us off on the third floor but the problem was, that was maternity.  Grandpa's got issues, but nothing that can be solved by the maternity ward.  We went back to the elevator and Dump noticed a sign that said "ICU 1."  We went down to the first floor, started navigating and the signs changed.  It wasn't just labeled ICU, but about three extra letters ahead of that.  We finally ended up winding down many back halls and got to a room that just said ICU. 

That wasn't what we needed, though.  Grandpa's on the third floor.  We've been to the third floor. 

Dump called, Mom told him where to go and it turns out that the ICU is a stacked department only accessible by this one back hall down in the middle of nowhere.  You have to go down to go up.  We got to go to the third floor only to find out that Grandpa had been taken to have a CAT scan done of his lungs just minutes before.  We had 15 minutes before visiting hours were over.  Drat.

The nurse came out at about 6:15 PM to let us know that he was out and had a dinner tray.  We could go back anytime.  When we did get back there, the doctor had given clearance to the family to visit as long and whenever they wanted.  Apparently, Grandpa does better when family is around. 

What's the scoop on Grandpa?  He's mostly cognitively intact.  Yes, he was trying to talk on the remote control on the TV, but he asked me about Hubs, K-, told me about how he loved my Christmas letter, the photo and we had long conversation about New York City.  He ate everything he had in front of him.  He was fumbly and fidgety.  The had him tied down in a don't-get-up vest.  His pulse oxygen kept bouncing, as well as his heart rate.  His blood pressure seemed reasonable.  They drained fluid from his lungs yesterday and gave him a sedative in order to perform the procedure.  It was after that that he went cognitively south.  They said that the bouncing oxygen to his brain hasn't helped.  They are giving him breathing treatments and suctioning his airway at that time to prevent him from gurgling.  He continues to develop fluid on his lungs, but the lungs themselves x-ray clear, so that's why they did the scan.  Given that I was given the one foot in call, I dropped what I was doing and went.  I'm glad that I did.  Grandpa, not one to typically do this at all, kept hugging me and telling me that he loved me.  I remember getting hugs as a kid, but I don't ever remember him telling me that he loved me.

My mom called to tell me that she had consulted a medical friend of hers.  The friend told my mother that my grandfathers condition is less than fantastic and that the likelihood of his coming out of this is very small.  She said that he allowed the pneumonia to go on far too long, gave her horrible doomsday type stuff . . .  I reminded my mom that her friend is a worse case scenario kind of person.  Poppy, my mom's dad, was always dying as I was growing up (seriously) and was not supposed to come out of the hospital more times than I can count.  I even had the staff call the priest to give last rites.  (Grandpa snapped out of it and died 4 months later.)  Still, I told my mom that according to what I saw tonight, I'm not saying that Grandpa is dying today or tomorrow.  I said that I could be wrong, but since I just saw death with my grandmother almost two months ago, I'm thinking that he looks way alive to me.  I'll take it. 

If you wouldn't mind belting out a prayer, that would be great. 

Smiles in my day:
-  Renee not thinking that Dump and I could navigate the hospital together.  It was a little sketchy, but we made it happen.  I also found out that my brother walks as obnoxiously fast as I do. 
-  Reader's Digest.  As poor as we were as kids, we always got the Reader's Digest.  For my birthday, my mom ordered the Reader's Digest for me.  We don't quite know why there was such a delay, but it just started arriving this month.  I miss it and its small book form.  I miss the informative articles and short bits of trivial information.  It's a nice memory from my childhood.
-  Being told by the 100 Book Challenge coordinator that I must be a one man band since the work that I'm doing on 100 BC was being done by 5 separate individuals last year.  It made me smile!
-  Calling Hubs about Grandpa today, scheduling with the neighbors for them to keep K- until Hubs got home and he was able to leave work early because of the situation.  It's nice to work at a place that is family friendly, friends that are happy to bail you out and a spouse who isn't afraid to ask to leave because his wife was called into the hospital. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

2 comments:

Alena said...

Oh, hun :( Definitely offered up a prayer for your grandpa, and for you *hugs*

Rach said...

You know I'm saying the prayers.

Hugs.