|Edward R. Bloom||Red Crocheted Heart|
Thank you so much for your prayers and good wishes. It means so much to me
that you care. Our prayers are powerful!!
My normally mild mannered dad had been acting so strangely since he started
the antibiotics. He was hallucinating and paranoid, and so unlike himself.
His surgery Thursday to put a shunt in his brain to drain the excess fluid
into his abdomen was successful and he was talking some and alert. By Friday
afternoon, he was failing. The drs. said he had a massive stroke. He had at
least two twenty minute seizures. He stopped breathing, and they revived him
just long enough to see if my mom did want him to have no heroic measures.
His left side was unresponsive, and he could not speak. His blood pressure
would spike tremendously, and then drop dangerously low. The doctors told my
mom to gather the family together to say our last goodbyes. They gave her
the "soon to be a widow" care package. They took him out of ICU and put him
back into his room to die, with just a bit of oxygen and an IV to administer
some anti seizure medicine. They did a cat scan of his brain, and couldn't
find any evidence of a damaged area. They thought maybe it was just too soon
to see the damage, or that it was very deep and wouldn't be seen.
We had just picked our daughter up from college for spring break. We were on
the opposite side of the state. We drove home, threw some clothes in our
bags, rested fitfully, and made the long drive home. We kept in contact via
the cell phone. When Dad was still alive Saturday morning, they explained
that a person would often wait until the last of their children made it home
to say goodbye before they would go. I cried and cried as I listened to my
Christian cd's... praying he would still be alive when I got there.
My dad had his eyes shut, but was restless. His left side of his face was
twisted up. When I leaned in to kiss him and tell him I was there, he
started making unintelligible sounds, like he wanted to tell me something.
He never opened his eyes, and moved his right hand up and down and up and
down.... He started to move some on his left side. I started to sing to
him.... Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.. that saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost, but now I'm found. Twas blind but now I see...
As I sang... my dad went into a deep sleep. I continued to sing every verse
I knew. I then began to sing a song my dad's mother had sung to him when he
was a child, a song about Norway where she was raised. Dad and I had just
sung this song together at Thanksgiving when we last saw each other. When my
brother in law came back in about a half an hour he commented on how calm and
relaxed Dad looked. His face had started to go smooth..
I finally had to go get some sleep... and I left my Dad sleeping so
peacefully. I said my goodbyes and all those things I had always meant to
tell him. Dad opened his eyes just a tiny slit... and stared at me so
intently when I kissed him goodbye. I told him that I understood if he
needed to go be with the God who loved him, and that we would all take care
of each other and we would be fine.
The next morning my dad opened his eyes wide, and looked around. He said to
my mom "let me die... let me die". Everyone assured him that it was ok if he
did, but that it was between him and God now. A couple of hours later when I
came to the hospital, Dad was looking at us, and when we would greet him, he
would say "Hi! Hi!" and smile. Other times he would just be unresponsive...
lying there staring, or sleeping fitfully. The words "hospice care" began to
be discussed.....They did an MRI and could not find any damage!
That evening we got the call that his blood pressure had dropped dangerously
low again....... and so we waited.
Sunday found him saying hi again some of the time. As my sister was swabbing
his mouth with water, he acted like he wanted to drink the water. He was not
on any food/liquid...... but since we were expecting his imminent death...we
gave him a few drops of his favorite grape juice. He lapped it up, and
swallowed it right down. Later we gave him a few drops of chocolate
milkshake. My sister asked him what he thought of that... and he whispered
"more!". We were so thrilled when she said "So Dad, is chocolate worth
living for?" and he shouted "Yes!!!". Don't let them tell you chocolate
doesn't haven't medicinal powers!! As the drs. didn't expect him to live
more than minutes or hours, there weren't instructions for his care.
The doctors were astounded when they found out Dad was still alive!!
On Monday, the loveghan that I had mailed to him arrived. It is a soft navy
v-stitch ghan.. made with an N hook and two strands of yarn. I then sewed
about 150 red crocheted hearts on it. When we were throwing things in the
car for the trip, I grabbed a bag of about a hundred heart pins I had made
for angels of comfort... but had not yet sent. I gave my Mom the bag, and
pinned hearts on all of the family members. She wondered what she would ever
do with all those hearts?? I suggested she give them to everyone who came
in, and to all who cared about and for Dad. It was amazing to see how
quickly they disappeared! It was good for my mom too... a way to thank each
person who helped. People were walking all over the hospital with red heart
pins....and when asked, they would tell about Dad... lots of good prayers and
thoughts coming his way. I wanted to make sure everyone who worked with him
knew that he is special and loved.
My Mom was going to take some pins down to ICU and to the floor where he had
been so difficult before the shunt was put in. She was then going home for a
nap. Just as she was leaving, Physical Therapy people walked in. They said
they were going to get Dad to sit up on the side of the bed. We all looked
at each other with disbelief, and sat down to watch. At this point he would
sometimes say hi to us, but most times he just layed there and stared. He
had begun to have some movement on his left side...
Grandpa sat up, and .....it was like someone plugged him in!! It was
unbelievable!!! He just grinned and laughed and said hello to us. He
flirted with the nurse, and his face was so expressive! They asked him about
fishing and he said a few words about fishing in Alaska. He said a few other
words, but was able to kick his feet, both sides, when asked, and raise his
arms and clap and just about everything else they wanted!!! The PT gal asked
him to sing the Norwegian song..... I hadn't known this, but in the days
before surgery he would walk up and down the halls with the physical
therapist and sing the Norwegian song as he went... the very song I sang to
him that first night! He looked at each of us, and grinned and said hi...
and when he saw my mom he said "there she is!". It was sooo amazing, I would
have never believed it if I hadn't seen it myself!!
We began to talk of a nursing home with good rehab facilities... :))))
They wanted to do an EEG on dad, and he was curious about the electrodes
glued to his head. I tried to hold his hand back, and it was all I could do
to keep from being pulled into the bed. Dad is still very, very strong! To
calm him, I began to sing Amazing Grace.... and he immediately fell
peacefully asleep. Every time I sang that song he went into a deep slumber.
The results of the EEG showed no specific area of damage... but an overall
abnormal EEG. They just don't know the answers....damage from the fluid on
the brain... that was there from the allergic reaction to the antibiotics?
Possible degeneration from old age? Beginning stages of Alzheimers? They
just couldn't tell us.
Monday night when my hubby was sitting with Dad, he turned himself to his
side, and figured out how to operate the bed. Progress is being made!
On Tuesday it was time for us to go back home. My dad had still been saying
hi, and a few other things, but often he was unrepsonsive. He had told my
mom that he was hungry, that they hadn't fed him for a long time. Earlier
that day she had held a tape player up to his face and played the song
"Always" that was played at their wedding 60 years ago. "I'll be loving
you... always... With a love that's true... always." My mom is not a
crier.... but I noticed she had to take off her glasses and wipe her eyes....
must be those darn allergies or something... ;)
The physical therapists came and got dad to sit up again. He stretched his
legs out as he wanted to put his foot on the ground. When he decided he
wanted to lay down again, he started to lean that way. The PT's were busy
helping his upper half... he lifted his legs and almost had them on the bed
when they saw him. He is still very strong, at 85 years old. (Once when I
was a little girl, he got his hand caught in a great big huge cast iron bear
trap. He opened it himself with one hand.... next to impossible to do....
His hands are so big, that a quarter will fit through his ring.)
Right before I had to go, I raised his bed up to sitting. Again it was like
he was plugged in! He grinned with surprise to see all of us. I asked him
if he recognized all those people, and started to name them...... he focused
on my mom and said "my wife!!!!". She was so thrilled.
She thought that since he was so lucid, she would play their song again. My
dad grinned and was so sweet. He indicated he wanted a kiss.... and mom was
happy to oblige!! I said he should kiss her again so we could get a picture,
and he flirted with mom and made some "woohoo, more kisses!!!" kind of faces.
It was sooooo cute to see them together. Mom asked him if he knew what
"always" meant. He struggled with it, but couldn't come up with it. I was
able to explain about mom loving him today, and the next day and the next.
He liked that idea. We had a good 15 minutes or so of conversation with him.
I asked if he knew where he was, and he said "hospital". I had to explain
about the surgery. I showed him his blanket and he grinned and kept saying
"very nice, very nice!" I was so glad for that time together.
When my hubby was saying goodbye, Dad started saying "thank you.. thank you
... thank you.... " over and over to him. Then he turned to me and said
"thank you" with such an intent look on his face....
I listened to the same Christian CD's on the way home.....this time with
tears of thanksgiving on my face...... Our God is an AWESOME God!!
Three weeks later, on April 20, 2001 at 11:00 pm, my father passed away peacefully in his sleep.
Your kind thoughts and prayers have made such a difference! We can't thank you enough.