Posted by: wrmcnutt | November 2, 2009

Dad Update

I spoke to Dad’s new doctor this morning.  Don’t panic – he didn’t have yet another organ fail and get another doctor.  No, the Doc that has been working with him this past week is leaving, and has handed him off to Dr. Worley.  He’s the only Doc of Dad’s whose name I’ve been able to remember on the first hearing.  For some reason, back when I was a kid, Jo Anne Worley’s name really stuck in my mind.  So I made an instant association with the name.

As I have mentioned to a couple of people, Dad’s heart keeps going into atrial fibrillation (afib).  This condition is where the small chambers of the heart go into spasms.  It’s often accompanied by an extremely high heart rate as the larger chambers of the heart try to catch up with the atria.  The condition is treatable with medications to keep the heart at a normal rate and other medications to keep the atria beating normally.  I’m not sure what all the hazards of an abnormally high heart rate are, but I do know that medical personnel get real excited when a 75-year-old has a heart rate of 153.  One of the potential problems is fluid accumulation in the lungs, which is a shortcut to pneumonia-ville.  This was detected as a side-effect of his trip to the ER last week because he was confused and unresponsive.  The “final diagnosis,” in as much as any diagnosis of an ongoing condition is “final,” is that his confusion and unresponsiveness was caused by his UTI, in concert with his pain medication.  They’ve sorted his UTI and taken him off of his pain medication except for Tylenol.  He’d rather be in pain than have mush-for-brains, so at least for now he’s content with what’s happening.

So – he tried to die this Sunday.

Stroke?   Noooo . . . . Blot clot?  Noooo . . . .     Lung collapse?   Noooo . . . . .  Heart attack?  Noooo . . . . .  Sudden, giant infection of doom?  Noooo . . . . .

With all the stuff that’s wrong with him, what almost killed him while I was out of town this weekend?

While eating his lunch, he had a sudden sneeze and inhaled a cherry from his fruit cocktail.  It apparently took two nurses and an orderly to get it out of his windpipe.

He thinks it’s really unfair. He’s had trouble swallowing since the lung surgery, and his doctor keeps wanting to put this down as an “incident” in his therapy/swallowing record, and anybody could have aspirated a cherry while sneezing.  It’s got nothing to do with his other issues.  It was just a plain ol’ accident!

His new Doctor is going to have the Transitional Care Unit do an evaluation and see if they can help him.  He’s in better shape than the last time they had him.  If they can take him for two weeks, and whip him into better shape, he might get to go home.  I, myself, have been very skeptical that he’d get to go home at all. I was positive that once we’d run out of short-stay insurance, we’d have to get Medicare to put him in long term care.  Instead, he might get to go home for a while longer.

His sister and I are quite concerned about that; but he’s fiercely independent, and the idea of moving to a rest home for the rest of his life would devastate his state of mind.  I’m going to speak to the social worker at the hospital and see what the options are for getting him a little help at home.

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  1. Great. Now I have a vision of your dad’s doctor in a big black wig, tied with a violently colored paisley scarf, fake eyelashes out to there, eyeliner an inch wide, and a laugh like one of the Three Stooges’ rambling on about your father’s unfortunate cherry snorting habit. Thanks for the Laugh-In flashback.

    I’m glad the news was good (REALLY good). Keep us up to date. Hugs –

    • Oh – that’s okay. The vision of YOUR Dad I’ve got involves Sweden and Christmas. 😛

  2. glad to hear the news, I’ve been wondering how he was doing. There are several nurse progams for the elderly. I can do some research and see which one my in’laws used if you like

  3. Medicare will cover a wide variety of home care services. PT, OT, a nurse coming by on a regular basis… Yeah, check it out.

    • As soon as I have TIME. Honestly – how can one man’s life be so BUSY? It’s all I can do to keep up. Feed cat, pay bills, shred checks . . . Now I’ve got to go pry a copy of a pathology report loose from the hospital to send to his supplementary insurance.

  4. glad to hear your father is attempting more normal ways of putting a period to his existence…wait, that didn’t come out right… ..glad the news seems to be good today.

    That is always good to hear.

    • That’s fine. Frankly, after all of that, once I got over the shock, it would have made a great story, and I would have wound it up with, “so then he choked on a cherry.” But I’d just as soon continue to have him around.

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