I tried to convince dad to hang around for a few extra days (or a week) but he wasn't having it. He can be pretty stubborn. "I WANT TO GO HOME!!!!"
When he was released from the hospital that Monday (June 9), there were no restrictions. The only change at that point was he was now on Coumadin. He wasn't happy about that - had to change his lifestyle a little bit. Okay - quite a bit. But after talking to multiple doctors and nurses, he consented. So he had his first dose that Sunday night - and a pill a day Monday and Tuesday. I didn't know this, but Coumadin is a medication that has to be watched very closely. He had to get his blood checked on Wednesday (which was the day he was flying out). The hospital wrote a prescription and said he could go to any Compunet and get it taken care of. He would get the results that day.
So I took him Wednesday morning to Lincoln Park. They said they could not take a prescription from the hospital - only a family physician. Sounded crazy to me, but what do I know? So I called his the family physician who took care of him and mom, explained the urgency of the situation (we were flying out that afternoon) - and they called in a prescription. Got that taken care of. Didn't hear anything that afternoon, so I assumed (NEVER assume) that everything was ok.
I had ordered a wheelchair for dad, he (and I) were the first on the plane in Dayton and Atlanta. He did fine on the flight.
The next morning, I got up early and went to the VA in Viera to take care of getting his medical records transferred from Miami Valley. No problems (I had already talked to MVH and they gave me the phone #, fax#, names) All good. As I was walking out the door, my phone rang - it was the doctors office from Dayton calling with the results of the blood work. Not good…"get him to his doctor today - ASAP". So as soon as I got back to his house, I called the doctor, got him scheduled for 3 p.m. Went to lunch and headed to the doctor. Beautiful day - blue sky, hot!
When he got called back to the room and the doctor finally came in - he brought the records that were transferred from MVH to look at them. I was watching dad and his face started drooping again…the doctor was watching too. Said "I need to call the squad".
So off to the hospital AGAIN. (By the time the paramedics got there, the sky was black, the wind was blowing and it was pouring down rain - they had to take dad out to the ambulance in the pouring rain - he got soaked!) He had forgotten his phone and wanted it - so after getting directions to the hospital - I ran home to get his phone then to the hospital.
This is one of his nurses (I think - I can't remember) but I do remember when he asked dad his name and birthdate - he said "that's my birthday too!"
He took dad up to his room - a private room to start. A room with a beautiful view AND towel art. (I thought you only got that on cruises!)
Out in the distance is the Indian River, then the Atlantic Ocean. Didn't get THAT at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton! (had a great view of downtown Dayton though!)
The staff was attentive and caring. And he had some pretty nurses too! This is Tricia (she came in to take his blood. Hard to complain when they smile at you like this!)
This is another of dad's nurses…and I am sorry to say I forget her name…she was wonderful too.
(If you are reading the blog - remind me - I want to put your name here!)
A Physical Therapist came in to take him for a walk, but he was headed to the bathroom - so she sat and talked to me for half an hour…thank goodness. I had a mini meltdown (a little overwhelmed) and she listened and talked to me. Gave her the reader's digest version of my life and what was going on with dad - and she said "I'll talk to the Case Manager about getting Home Health Care set up". Five minutes later, the Case Manager was in the room talking to me. When she walked out the door, my phone rang and it was the VA calling about the same thing. She gave me a number for the Case Manager to call so they could coordinate it together. I was feeling better already.
That was Thursday. Headed home that day very overwhelmed. Got to dad's place and saw this…
a little sign from Melissa. I needed that.
I think it was Saturday he was moved to a semi-private room. His roommate was Bill. His daughter Caroline was there, so it was nice for ME to have someone to talk to. His wife, Joan, came in later that day, and was there the next morning when I came in. Later, after we had talked for awhile she told me when I first came in she thought I was dad's WIFE. A very YOUNG wife (for dad anyway!) We laughed about that! Good to laugh too. Joan reminded me a LOT of my mom. Very slender build, little, same hair color and style as mom. She was standing at the window talking on the phone one day and from the back she looked JUST LIKE my mom. So I took a picture.
That was a little comforting too.
Sunday, Father's Day, I had asked dad what he wanted for breakfast (he wasn't eating the hospital food any more). He said Frosted Flakes, bacon and something sweet. So I brought him the cereal, stopped at Bob Evans for the bacon and something sweet - he loved it. Got there around 8 a.m. Stayed til about 6 pm - Left a little early because a storm was coming, didn't want to get caught in it going home. Told him I'd be there in the morning.
Finally eating - Father's Day breakfast!
Had a bad night Sunday night. Couldn't sleep, cried…very emotional. I had a lot to do in just a few days. Finally got to sleep around 4 a.m. At 7:15, my phone was ringing. It was dad. "WHERE ARE YOU? The skinny lady is here already". He didn't know here name, and he couldn't understand why she was there and I wasn't'. (he was talking about Joan, his roommates wife. He also didn't understand that she had two other people coming in later in the day!) So I got up, got dressed and got to the hospital around 8. He looked up, smiled and said "Good. You're here". And promptly fell back to sleep.
That was Monday morning. The day he was scheduled to be released. (Kind of sounds like prison?) He was just SO ready to go home. Got up, washed up, dressed and sat in his bed asking when the nurse was coming in to let him go. He is not a very patient patient. (Not like Melissa at all)
Finally around 3, it was time to go. He was so happy. Got him back to his house to get settled in and his friend Steve stopped by to visit. This is his friend that will be taking him to all of his doctor's appointments, for blood work, and probably to the grocery whenever he needs to go. Great guy. He and his wife are in a band that plays at the VFW. When dad left to come to Dayton to visit, he told him he needed to be back by Father's Day-he wanted to spend Father's Day with him! I feel so much better knowing he has someone looking after him.
Tuesday morning, it was back to the VA to see his primary care doctor. I had talked to the nurse multiple times in the last week, and recognized her voice when she called dad back. The doctor wasn't seeing patients, but Angela (the nurse) asked him to come in to meet dad - when he walked in my first thought was "Doogie Houser". He is very young. But very kind and patient with dad. He stayed and talked to him for about 20 min. I was impressed. And happy. Went to get his bloodwork done again (for the coumadin) - his phlebotomist this time happened to be from Vandalia, Oh! Got the results about half an hour later - everything was GREAT. Also decided to get all his meds from the VA and they will be mailed to him.
Got home, and the Home Health Care nurse came to visit. She's back today, and will be in three days a week, along with a home health aide. OT and PT will assess him (today) and if he needs it, they will be back.
Got all his meds set up for him, all his appointments made, and transportation to and from. So I could go home. On schedule.
And I did. It was really hard to leave him, but I know I left him in good hands (although he would prefer I took care of him. When he was in the hospital over the weekend, I told him to "look forward to Wednesday. You will be home and looking back and saying, that wasn't so bad. And I will be heading home!" And he said "You don't have to go if you don't want to".)
Wow. I guess I never thought about what it would be like taking care of one of my parents. I knew it would happen eventually, but I had no idea how much is involved in taking care of an elderly parent. I have so much respect for my friends and relatives who have been where I am now. I am not the only one that has had to do this, and I will not be the last. It's not an easy job, but, like taking care of my daughter, Melissa, it just something that I can't imagine NOT doing. It's easy when you love someone so much.
He was looking pretty good when we were getting ready to go
(had to take this one for my cousin Sharon - she bought him this shirt for his birthday- He loves it Sharon!) He's looking a little thin - lost around 20 lbs. If you've never met my dad, his calves, from his knees to his ankles, have looked like tree trunks for the last ten years. Since he's been in the hospital, they are half the size. So most of that 20 lbs. is probably water weight!) And, notice he is wearing his breast cancer pin. ALWAYS. First thing he does before he puts his shirt on is take the pin off the shirt he wore the day before and put it on the shirt he is putting on. He misses Melissa every day too. And the pin is a conversation starter. Whenever anyone asks about the pin, he tells the about Melissa.
I love that too.
This is his Brett. He met him at City Limits (the bowling alley bar he goes to). Brett is now not only his handyman, but his friend too. Brett picked us up at the airport - gave dad a big hug and said "Im so glad you're home Irv!" He took me to the airport to come home too. Good guy. Dad is in good hands.
I had a lot to think about coming home. Did I get everything done that needed to be done? Did I do his meds right? Will he be okay when no one is there with him?
And then I looked out the window and saw this…
Melissa sends me hearts too - she loves me and she is right there with me.