So let me tell you about my Friday.
First, I was getting ready to make pancakes this morning at about 4:30 am for part of my dinner (remember my odd schedule, right?). I was getting ready to mix the batter, when I heard a sound like something dropped. But immediately after that, I heard my mom’s shower shut off. I figure maybe she just dropped something in the shower. But after thinking about it for a minute, I decided that I better check to make sure. I went up and tried my dad first – he’s been sleeping in a recliner in our “tv” room because of some back issues. I knocked a couple of times and no answer. When I called his name, though, and asked if he was okay, he said he was fine. I asked if he had fallen and he said no, that he had just been sitting there. So I knocked on my mom’s door and she said she was fine, too, but she thought she had heard something, too. I looked around to make sure nothing had fallen off of anything, but couldn’t find anything. We decided we were hearing things.
I went back downstairs and threw on the first pancake. Then I heard someone call my name. And then again, and I walked out of the kitchen and looked upstairs to see who was calling me and my dad was coming out of the room and when I asked if he was okay, I saw him start to slide backwards like he was going to fall. I ran upstairs and grabbed on to his arm, as he grabbed mine and he started having seizures. I called for my mom and we got him laid down in the bedroom. My mom gave him his meds (that we give him to pull him out of these) while I finished my pancakes. My mom has a flexible job where she can work from home if she absolutely needs to, so I kept an eye on him while she ran to the office to get her laptop. When she got home, she let me go to bed.
I guess that he continued to have seizures for a while after that, but nothing out of the ordinary and he seemed fine when I got up later. I had checked my bank account shortly after waking up to see if my tax refund might happen to be in it – I’ve been waiting since the middle of February – and lo’ and behold, it was in there. But it was also $400 more than I was expecting. You see, me, being the oblivious one, didn’t know about the “making work pay” credit or to expect it. So after a few moments of intense peeviness about the fact that if I HAD known to expect it, my hiney would be in NYC at the “Lbs.” premiere this weekend, I settled down and am enjoying the idea of the extra money.
But anyway, at this point, I was physically feeling like royal crap (not peasant crap or even pauper crap, but royal crap), so I ended up calling in to work. I would soon find out that it was most likely a blessing in disguise that I didn’t go to New York OR to work.
I ended up resting for a while longer, and at this point, my dad seemed fine. Around 7:30 pm, we were all finishing up watching a movie (“Old Dogs” of which I was only paying half attention, because I was working on something that I’ll share in a bit), when my dad went into the kitchen for a while. I think he was checking some stuff online. He came back in the living room and was talking to us and started up the stairs, still talking to us. As soon as we were done talking, probably the scariest sight I’ve ever seen occurred. I still shudder just thinking about it. He came tumbling down the stairs head first – no warning. And when I say tumbling, I mean tumbling. Head over heels. He landed on his head/neck more than once, I’m sure of it. And when he landed at the bottom, he was on his side, but with his chest and face on the ground, his glasses skewed and not moving. We were sure he had broken his neck. I remember “Oh my God, Oh my God” coming out of my mouth as I threw my laptop off to get up and help. I immediately called 911 and answered all of the guy’s questions while my mom checked my dad out and tried to keep him from trying to get up as we didn’t know how badly he was hurt and he was still having seizures. We could already tell that he was scraped in several places on his forehead and head (including the top of his head) and one of his knees was badly scraped – all from the carpeting. The proof of him landing on his head is the location of some of those scrapes.
As soon as I heard the sirens and got the doors unlocked, I ran upstairs and threw some clothes on. Remember, I was home not feeling well – so I was in my PJs and robe. As soon as I came down, we were being invaded by all sorts of EMTs and a police officer. After assessing and finding out about his medical history, they were able to get him outside and to the ambulance where they had to call to find out where to take him. They didn’t know if they could take him to the nearest hospital of if they would need to take him to a trauma center. They were pretty sure it would just be the hospital because he didn’t appear to have any spinal injuries or broken bones – thank God. And that is where they ended up taking him – to the hospital.
My mom and I followed in one of our cars and when we got to the hospital, they told us he wasn’t there yet. Um yeah, he was – they left several minutes before we did, they have sirens, and when my mom looked, the ambulance was outside, empty and they were cleaning up. Finally, a couple of minutes later, she called for us and told us where to go. When we got back there, my dad already seemed to be doing better. He was much more alert and was not having any more seizures. I don’t know if they just stopped or if they had to give him something to make them stop.
But the nurses and doctor came in and checked him out and bandaged all of his scrapes up. I’m sure the bandage on top of his head is not going to be pleasant to remove. Tape + Hair = OUCH. The doctor said that he didn’t seem to have any problems moving and didn’t have any signs of concussion – no dizziness or nausea, so he didn’t think a CT scan or anything would be necessary, but they wanted to keep and eye on him for a while and just see how he did. Well, he seemed to be doing fine, except he already had back problems, did some acrobatics tonight, and then the bed was really uncomfortable, so he was in some pain. But he went to sit up at one point and said he got really dizzy and felt like he was going to pass out. So we called the nurse and they started monitoring his pressure even more. At one point, it bottomed out at 50-something/40-something.
Now, low blood pressure has NEVER been a problem for my dad. If anything, it’s been high blood pressure. In fact, he was on meds for it. They kept an eye on it, but it still stayed really low and finally did some bloodwork. But they didn’t find anything wrong with it. The doctor said that meant no signs of internal bleeding. So they would just have him lay down and keep an eye on it. After a while, he seemed to be doing okay, and his blood pressure was back up to 90-something/60-something, which the doctor said was doable. He asked my dad if he still had dizziness and my dad said no, so they decided to try and sit him up slowly and then maybe would send him home. Um, yeah, didn’t happen like that.
He got dizzy again, blood pressure dropped again, and now he is a (hopefully very temporary) resident of their new Cardiac Care Unit.
We had gotten to the hospital at about 8:00 or shortly thereafter. (Keep in mind that I haven’t eaten yet….) At about 11:45, I was one ravenous, unhappy (still crappy feeling remember), exhausted camper. I finally broke down and went and asked the nurse if the nearest vending machine was the one near the cafeteria (ah, yes, I am pretty familiar with this hospital), and she was like “why, what do you need? A drink?” I replied that it had been a really long time since I had eaten and was hungry. Her response? “I can get you a sandwich. Does anyone else want one? Are you thirsty?” It was really nice of her – of course, we’re waiting to see if it shows up on the bill. This is what she brought me:
Talk about being prepared. I have to admit that I have been pretty impressed with their new ER (some of you might remember my visit in February of last year for the fingertip to the mandolin slicer incident). I ate the sandwich, the cheese, and a few of the chips. My mom ate most of the chips and neither of us touched the pudding. The nurse did also bring these for my mom, just in case she got hungry, too:
I know – odd that I’m taking pics here, but seriously at this point, I had to have something to do other than watch my dad try and sleep. At one am, they finally started getting him ready to be moved upstairs to a room:
Only to get us up there and have a nurse come running after us as we got to the room, holding a phone and saying that he has to go back downstairs, because they forgot the CT the doctor decided he needed – just to make sure. Of course, I’m glad that they went ahead and decided to do that. But that meant going back downstairs and waiting for him to have that done:
I have to say that I was extremely impressed with the nurse that took care of us (the woman that brought us the food and even brought me a blanket at one point) in the ER. She was very caring and it was obvious that she was concerned. When we came back down for the CT scan, she must have told the woman 5 times to make sure that he didn’t sit up and made sure that the woman understood that. I appreciated that care. I’m actually planning on writing the hospital to praise her.
Finally, we got him up to his room and I have to say that I am pretty darn impressed with the room itself. It is a pretty new cardiac unit that they just built last year, I believe. The rooms are very large singles, with big flat screen TVs on the walls, recliner chairs with pull out reading lamps from the walls and they each have a pull-out couch in case someone wants to spend the night.
Both my mom and I ended up coming home, but we’re both a bit concerned. The nurse seemed fairly young and while she claimed to have a lot of cardiac experience, she has about NO experience with an epileptic. Which really isn’t all that surprising. One tip for anyone who isn’t: a person having a seizure can’t swallow their tongue. It’s just not possible. Don’t EVER stick something into the mouth of someone having a seizure. And she actually asked him if he has problems with swallowing his tongue. So my mom just explained that all you can do is let the person ride it out and make sure that there isn’t anything around them that they can hurt themselves on if they move. His meds are also so precise and so extensive, that we’re also a bit concerned about that, as well. But my mom went over it with her several times and is planning on going back first thing in the morning. For me, I want to, but it depends on how I feel.
I’m still feeling crummy, and it’s now 4:25 in the morning. We got home about an hour ago. So we’ll see. I’ll keep you guys posted on how he’s doing. Me? I’m absolutely certain he’s going to be fine.
Food-wise, I’m planing on staying to “the plan” today. Of course, I used a few extra flex points than I had planned last night with that sandwich, but life happens. Today, I’m going to stick to it. I’m not seeing the treadmill thing happening today, though, so I’m pretty resigned to having to start over at day one. I’m okay with it, because I know I will continue on.
It truly is a miracle that my dad is as okay as he is. We have got to do something, but I just don’t know what. Moving isn’t an option. Our only option is really to build on a bedroom and bathroom (no workable rooms to convert on our ground floor and no bathrooms on our ground floor), but that is entirely too freaking expensive. But we’ve got to figure something out, because this cannot happen again.
So that’s it in a nutshell. In my next post, I’ll share what craziness I was working on before my dad fell.