Oh my word, what a couple of days we have had! I was at the hospital on Wednesday afternoon when Dad first went in, and he was poorly but quite sensible. We chattered on about his brothers, one who was in the RAF but died years ago, and the other who is slightly younger than Dad but is now suffering with dementia. We also talked about my girls, and he was pleased to see me.
On Thursday, I was planning to go over in the late afternoon/early evening, when the girls were home from school; at about 2pm I got a call to say that he was being transferred to Papworth for the pacemaker operation to be performed at 3pm, and that the ambulance was on its way to transfer him. We thought about it and were dithering as to whether to visit him at Papworth so soon after the op, and had sort of resigned ourselves to waiting for the next day so that he had had a while to recover from that. I phoned my sister, who was planning to visit in the afternoon, to tell her about the developments.
All was calm!
Then it wasn't: at 2.55pm, a call came in on my mobile from my Dad's mobile, so I knew it had to be his partner, MB. She started to talk and then began to cry, so a nurse came on the line, and said that Dad hadn't been transferred, that he had become very poorly and that we needed to go in. "Turn for the worse" were the words she used. I had to make some calls quickly: cancelled a 3.30pm meeting at school, rang my sister back and told her to get over there, rang the girls' school and asked them to get the girls to the reception area for me quickly, and we left.
We arrived at the hospital to find that he had been very sick and had had to have some quite fast treatment to clear his airways but that some of the vomit had got into his lungs and has resulted now in a chest infection. He knew us, but he was really imagining and seeing all sorts of things, including people long dead. He was convinced he had been to buy a turkey that morning, and sent me out on a delivery! The FH brought the girls home, and I stayed there with MB and my sister. MB lasted until about 6pm, and then had to go home exhausted. Our half-sister arrived to see him at about 8.30pm, and my sister and I left at 9pm.
After that, apparently he became very agitated and kept trying to get out of the bed, so the staff gave him a sleeping pill and they tell us that he slept all night. That was the making of him, because when I went yesterday, he is himself again - quite sensible and able to have a good conversation with us. We gave him the Norway calendar yesterday so that he could talk with the girls about it, and he has enjoyed looking at it with them. MB has seen it this morning and is also thrilled with it. We asked him how much of the previous day he remembered and he said that he really didn't recall much of it at all, and laughed when I told him about the errand he had sent me on.
Last night, when we got home and after we had eaten, I was really tired so I had a thimbleful of sloe gin and a hot bath, and collapsed into my bed just before 10pm and slept round the clock till the phone rang at 9am! I really needed the sleep and feel much better today.
MB has been in to see him this morning and reports that John is back! He is hoping that a tv can be found so that he will be able to watch the football results this afternoon, so that is an extremely good sign! She has had a good morning with him, and is very relieved to see him so himself again. My sister is visiting this afternoon, and we are going tonight with UJ.
The nurse we spoke with yesterday said that at that point, the pacemaker procedure is still on the cards, but not until the infection has cleared up. I need to clarify today whether he has a kidney infection as well, as we all seem to think that he might have, but the staff have only talked vaguely about an "infection" and we know that there is the chest problem from inhaling the vomit but wonder whether there is more to it than that.
Sorry that my usual frugal thoughts have been replaced with more of a medical drama casebook these past few weeks, but this blog is an accurate reflection of the journey we are on here in the Fens, and this is what is happening to us now. As I said to the FH and the girls last night, we have food in the cupboards and the freezer, there are some presents under the tree and we have plenty of wood for the fire, and everything else material doesn't really matter. We need to spend time together as a family, and we need to spend time with my Dad, so that is our focus for this Christmas now whatever the days ahead bring. The church service for tomorrow morning was readied earlier in the week and for that I am grateful!
Food shopping - questions and answers
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