As you know - from the minute we walked off the ship.. our lives have gone from 1 to 100 in regards to pace and stress..
Sunday - August 15Th. Since I work for an airline, we non-reved down to Fort Lauderdale and back. Well for some odd reason the flights back were packed. The reason this was odd - was that as late as the Friday prior, there were still quite a few seats open. Long story short.. Don got on a late afternoon flight and I was left having to find a hotel room for the night. Ugghhh - I HATE that..but was really glad that Don at least got back since he had to be back to work on Monday.
Monday - August 16Th. I was able to arrange to get another days vacation. I awoke at 5:30am (yeah - that would be 4:30 MY TIME!) to get to the airport with more than enough time to catch the very first 6am flight. Can you believe ... that dag blasted flight was not only oversold..but they were giving away vouchers to PAYING customers who were willing to take a later flight. Things were not looking so good... I waited and waited and waited ...until the next flight. They called my name and YEAH - there was a seat for me. Not only that, but one of my former supervisors was taking the same flight..so we got to visit with each other until we boarded.
Got into Houston at about 10:30am and called Don. He was just pulling into his work and said they had a meeting. Humm - the last place I wanted to be stuck in again .. was an airport! Thank you Jesus.. I ran into my supervisor again and she gave me a ride to Don's work, where my car was parked and I was able to get home.
On my drive, I made several calls, including one to my Dad. He did not answer =- so I just left a message. When I got home, I pet the dog, shed my clothes and crawled into bed. I think I was asleep on the road - before I ever pulled into the driveway!
My phone rang later that afternoon. It was Tom, my middle brother, who told me he was on his way to Houston because Dad was in ICU at St. Lukes, again having heart problems. He gave me the number and I called. My oldest brother was there and answered all my questions the best that he could.
Apparently - He and Dad went walking and then to a movie. When they were walking, Dad Complained that his back hurt and that he must have pulled it while moving some boxes. They cut their walk short and went to the movie. While there - Dad kept coughing. Not only that, James, my oldest brother, noticed his breathing was really labored. They left early and James took Dad to the Emergency room.
Honestly - my brain is so fried .. I seriously cannot remember if I went to the hospital that evening ..or waited until Tuesday... but I arranged to have the rest of the week off to stay with Dad.
Tuesday - August 17Th. I parked my car at the Warwick, where Dad lives and took the train over to St. Lukes. Walking into Dad's room, I immediately noticed how frail he looked. He had obviously not only lost quite a bit of muscle mass, but he had again lost some weight...something all of his children disagree with. You see, my Father has genetic heart problems... his Father and Grandfather (and probably even further back than that) died of cardio vascular disease. Dad's answer to this is to eat an outrageously strange and restricted diet with included quite a bit of fasting ....yes - I said FASTING! My Dad is 84 years old... so this is just my opinion - but fasting as a part of a dieting regimen might be okay for someone in their 50's or younger ...but not in their 80's!
At this point they thought the back pain Dad had was actually heart pain manifesting itself through his back. They had diagnosed that the upper chambers of his heart were not working properly... kind of fibrillating instead of pumping. Thankfully - the way God created us, it is the lower chambers of the heart that do the most work, forcing the blood in the direction it should go. They started to talk about the possibility of putting in a pace maker. Dad was in agreence about this.
I stayed at the hospital with Dad and my brothers all day. Tom had driven in from Fort Worth and would have to return on Sunday. James came and went all week at all times every chance he could around his work schedule. I worked out a schedule with them where I could at least sleep in a bit and arrive for the afternoon shift..from 2 to 7 or 8.
Wednesday - 18 August Not a whole lot of changes for this day, but a big discovery was made. Dad's back pain was not from his heart, but on top of all the other issues, he had a kidney stone. This presented a real problem. Our best hope was that he would pass the kidney stone by himself...but at this time - it was apparent he had already had it since Saturday...and was still experiencing dramatic pain from it. He was placed on a morphine pump to which he could activate whenever he felt the need for relief. All treatments to aid in removing a stone would introduce infection into Dad's body, something not advisable to do when they had also made the decision to put in a pace maker ... essentially introducing a foreign device to his body. If an infection 'gathered' around this device, it is my understanding that it would have to be removed..and again putting Dad at high risk.. not to mention the treat he would be under if he contracted some kind of blood infection.
Joy, my youngest daughter came up to the hospital to see Dad. She helped feed him and then we decided that since both of my brothers were there, that we would leave and go to Dad's house and clean it.
We arrived about 2. It did not seem too bad at first glance..until I noticed just how dusty it was. There was a layer of dust on everything - especially the floor!
Dad lives on one of the top floors of a beautiful high rise over by Hermann Park and the views are breathtaking. He and my Mother bought it from ...are you ready... Jim Nabors, the actor who played Gomer Pyle. My Mother was an interior designer and to her, this was the project of a life time. They had it stripped down to the supporting walls and started over. It was meticulously decorated with large museum like paintings, bronze and marble sculptures, marble and wood floors (no carpet) and the occasional silk oriental rug. Trust me - it was STUNNING!
When Mom passed away, now almost 5 years ago - Dad did 2 notable things...he fired the maid and he started giving things to us - his children. I was worried why he was doing this. His explanation was understandable though, he told us that the things he was giving us were things he would never use and that he knew it would be easier now, than waiting until after he passed away, assuring me that would be no time soon. So now, the breathtaking condo, is but a shell of its former self. My Father is a minimalist...to say the least!
Joy and I started by stripping the beds and collecting any other items that needed to be washed. She then went to work on the kitchen, while I started on his bedroom and bathroom. It was quite a larger project than I had anticipated and I was glad when Tom showed up a few hours later to help. Tom's job was to clean out the refrigerator and freezer. As I started to scrub the bathroom floor, I heard bursts of laughter and conversation coming from the kitchen between Tom and Joy. After about 15 minutes, I could not stand it anymore and had to go and find out what they were laughing about. Apparently, there were several expired items in both the refrigerator and freezer which included some soy milk dated May 2009 and some desecrated chicken in the freezer that was labeled by my Mother (over 5 years old!) among other things.
..to be continued...