*sigh* I read your thread as I was waiting for a phone call from my father's girlfriend. She was supposed to be visiting him in the hospital today and calling me so I could talk to him before he has a surgery to amputate his left foot because it has gangrene. The left one is the one that is NOT paralyzed from his stroke. After I read your post, I decided to take the baby for a walk so I could get some exercise. I'm going crazy feeling cooped up in the house - the outdoors are not too inviting around here this time of year. So I neglected to bring my phone and of course missed her call and she left the hospital by the time I got back. She'll try me in the morning if he's alert at all before surgery. I don't know what I'll say, but his system is so weak at this point, I'm concerned about him making it through surgery and recovery from this so I want to just feel like he knows I'm thinking of him.
I really feel what you're feeling. My dad is in his early 50's. I'm 28 and just had my first baby. She's 2 months old. His first grandchild.
He lives in Detroit, MI (as if that's not hell enough without having any other problems, lol) and I'm in Portland OR. I've been trying to get him to move away from there, preferably here, for years. He feels trapped because of money. When he found out I was pregnant, he started making plans to get out. He was talking about coming to visit during the holidays (now) and looking into moving here so he could be a grandpa. It was the most hopeful I had heard him sound about the future ever.
He had a stroke on the same day as my baby shower.
It was relatively mild - he did lose function of his right side and could not swallow and was not speaking very well and was confused a lot of the time, but he started recovering pretty quickly. However, the doctors said his mitral valve, which was infected and caused the stroke, would only continue to send off embolisms unless it was surgically repaired - but they could not approve him for surgery because he was too weak and he had so many other problems. So we were just trying to help him stabilize and gain weight and he would be reassessed for surgery in 1 month. It looked very grim at this point - the doctors didn't think he would make it long enough to recover enough to be approved for surgery.
I was 32 weeks pregnant then. I made an emergency trip to Detroit to visit him in the hospital with my partner, who had never met him yet. It was so painful to see him so extremely helpless and vulnerable. All I wanted was to stay with him to comfort him and advocate for him, just to sit with him, until he either got better, or didn't. But I could only stay a couple of days because of the pregnancy. There were a few moments of lucidity where I felt he really understood I was there and he did get to feel the baby move once, though I don't know if he was aware enough at the moment. I left there with some hope, but by no means faith.
I just had to see him because it was breaking me down being so far away and powerless to help him and I was getting really clingy with DP and it would bring me to my knees bawling very suddenly at unexpected moments if I was left by myself- and I am not like that. I'm one of the most emotionally stable and tranquil people I know, but this was really doing a number on me. I just couldn't stop thinking of how lonely and scared he must feel, and mourning my vision of how I had thought things would be. It was eating me up so badly, I was worried it would interfere with my labor if I didn't go see him before the baby was born.
After I came home he was transferred to a rehab home, and we were initially really happy about that. He made a huge leap in his speech within hours of being transferred and I was able to have a nearly normal conversation with him on the phone which was so unexpected and surreal and awesome. But soon it became clear that he wouldn't be getting the care he needed there and we started making plans for him to be taken home.
We wanted to take him home right away, but if we had taken him before they discharged him, they would not have given him the prescriptions for the things he needed for home care. He couldn't be cared for at home without those things so he was stuck there until they said so pretty much. We had gotten them to set a discharge date of 1 week more. Great.
But then a couple nights later he had a second stroke, much worse than the first one. It had the same effects, but he just has not been able to make the same kind of progress that he did the first time. This was still before the baby was born. So he again lost his speech, swallowing function, use of right limbs. He went back to the hospital.
When he was ready to be discharged they wanted to send him back to the rehab, but we convinced them to send him home to be cared for by his girlfriend and one of my younger brothers (who is only 20 - this has been really hard for him.) That's one good thing, he was able to be cared for at home for a couple months and getting therapists and nurses to come to his home a couple times a week.
When he found out the baby was born, all he could do was nod.
We have been trying to help him get strong enough for surgery to repair the mitral valve but now his left foot, which was damaged in an accident when I was 3, is gangrenous and has to be amputated tomorrow. I don't know how much more he can take. I plan to take the baby to visit him next month, God willing. I keep having dreams, several nights a week, about him. That he is with me and healthy again. Walking and talking. I tell him how good it is to hear his voice again and how happy I am that he got better. And then I wake up.
What a nightmare indeed.