Monday, September 10, 2012

Not Feeling Perkier


Are you familiar with this book? Felix stays up late and eats way too many chocolate Blimpies and in the morning he doesn't feel so hot. His mom gives him some sugared prunes to perk him up and, well:
"Not feeling perkier," says Felix.
Unfortunately, given my recent sad sack post and despite all the positive thinking I can muster, I too am not feeling perkier. Sweet Dub's father was rushed to the hospital last week, and it appears that he has suffered multiple mini-strokes over the past couple of weeks. He is almost completely paralyzed, including his esophagus, so he is unable to swallow.  He can't eat or drink, but he is horribly thirsty and dry-mouthed. Over the weekend it appeared this function was returning, so family members were providing him with water on a swab, and ice chips. Unfortunately it appears that due to the paralysis, when he "swallows," it's going straight into his lungs. So now he has fluid in his lungs and today Sweet Dub was told he can't take any food or drink by mouth ever. As in, the rest of his life.
As with most medical issues there is way more than I can go into here, but the end result is, after five days in the hospital things are not looking good.
Sweet Dub is not close to his father. Had I written about Dub Senior a few years ago, I might have nicknamed him Not-So-Sweet Dub, since they share the same name, but today that seems like kicking him while he is down, and I do have some standards, after all. But Dub Senior has not been very nice to people over the past couple of decades or so, and now that he is sick, it is difficult to rally people around him. Sweet Dub is calling on all his memories of his younger days, when his dad actually was sweet to him (oh those hazy childhood days when your parents were wonderful), to help keep him centered and to do the right thing.
That is what is uppermost in both our minds:  to do the right thing. But it's complicated and these are uncharted, ethically murky waters. He is not in any pain, but he can't eat or drink. The doctor says he wants to perform surgery to insert a feeding tube. We suspect this is because they need to get Dub Senior out of the hospital and into a convalescent home. It seems like a move that is contra-indicated in relation to common sense. Today, he is uncomfortable and can't eat but is being fed by IV. If he has surgery, he will be in pain, and there is always a danger of infection, and he'll still get sustenance through a tube. What we are all wondering is if it's worth it in terms of his quality of life.
Uncharted waters. We cling to our raft and peer at the sky and try to paddle in the direction of solid ground. I have never seen my husband so despondent. It is heartbreaking.


Bridget said...

I'm sad for you all. I feel the pain through your post and what you are going through. Just know that a virtual stranger is thinking of you and your family up in Oregon and sending love.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Thanks, Bridget - he is still in the hospital and supposed to have surgery today. I will update later.