August 23rd - Monday. Dad was moved out of ICU and down to floor 11!!! I was so thrilled!! But that was only half of the great news. When I walked into his room, I discovered that he was no longer hooked up to all kinds of IV's and pain medications!.
"Dad, Wow - you look great!" I exclaimed ..which was true if you were comparing his appearance to the way he looked a week prior...but to be completely honest, he still looked quite thin and weak.
"You don't have any IV's in either." I continued. "What does that mean?"
"Well," he hesitated to take a breath. "It means that I don't need them anymore." again he hesitated "..and that I don't hurt."
He seemed to be panting even though he was just sitting up in the chair by his bed, but I noticed that he also was no longer on oxygen.(reason he was panting). All but one IV port had also been removed from his arms and neck and he was anxious to get that last one out as well.
"Dad, James told me that you tried to leave the hospital this morning and that it took he, Tom, 2 nurses and 2 doctors to talk you out of it." Dad nodded to confirm what I was saying.
I knew how badly he wanted to go home. I knew he was sick of being poked and prodded, not having any privacy and probably for the first time in 65 years or so... he had to take orders instead of give them. I also knew it was the medications that smeared the reality of the situation in his mind and that one fall could change his life drastically for the worst.
"Please Dad." I gently said as I sat down next to him, "Take advantage of all the help these people can give you. The further progress you make here, the more we can do when you get out. I can come and live with you for a week after you get out, but that is all the time I have left (undesignated vacation days). You must be able to get up and down - get to the bathroom, the shower, the kitchen and everywhere else before you leave here. That way, I can work with you to increase your stamina. After that week, I have to go back to work during the day and because we have insurance through my job, and with Don's illness, I cannot leave that job or get fired. Okay?"
Breathing through his mouth, he closed his eyes as he nodded yes.
Although void of pain, they were still straining his urine trying to locate the kidney stone. A follow up x-ray had not been done yet to check on it, but I knew.. I knew that not only was it not a threat anymore...but that more than likely because I what I saw in my prayer - it was in at least 2 pieces.
We sat and visited for a while before I got up.
"Where are you going?" Dad asked.
"To get your robe. Lets go walking Dad." I said cringing and hoping he would not reject the idea.
I gathered what I thought he needed and came back over to the chair. I helped him put the leg rest down and he worked his way forward. Placing my arms under his arms, being careful with the side where the pace maker was implanted, he was able to hoist himself up. I tried to let him do most of the work being there more for balance and safety. While he stood in front of me, he put his hands on my waist while I put his robe on. He was wearing some of those socks with the traction ribbing on the bottom so once his robe was secure, we were ready to go.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before stepping forward. His steps were small and calculated and he started to lean to the right only once where I felt like I needed to stabilize him. We walked over to the door. Outside, a flurry of action was going on. The nurses busied themselves with computer files and patient orders. There were medication carts and rolling shelves full of bedding that was being restocked in the utility closets. This made for a good obstacle course for us! We started to make our way to the right. Every few yards there were beautiful photographs of birds. No surprise..Dad could name them all. I laughed at him when he asked me if I knew what they were called.
"No Dad, I am your go-to girl when it comes to plants. I don't know too much about wild birds."
At the end of the hall way, there was a heart shaped sign that read, "14 Laps Equals 1 Mile!" Every nurse and worker we passed either commented on Dad being up or at least smiled at him. He made good progress. He stopped to catch his breath when he needed to, but kept forging forward. We completed 2 full laps before heading back to his room.
Once he settled in, he introduced me to a couple of his favorite shows. I had no idea that Dad was an avid watcher of Pawn Stars and Pickers. In essence, if you are not already familiar with them, each is a more modern take off of the Antique Road Show, only these 2 new shows are centered around people wanting to buy the treasures they find.
I had to leave him at 9pm. That is the latest I can stay. I am not sure what the actual visiting hours are, but with such a long commute, if I leave at 9, even with someone else doing my evening farm chores, I am lucky to get into bed by 11:30pm. Upon my oldest brothers urging, I started to use the valet parking service. The pan handlers were so bad one night, I felt truly uncomfortable.