feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-angst)
I talked to my parents, finally. More accurately, I got a voicemail from my mother. Due to my manager's vacation these last two weeks I haven't had the chance to talk to them much. It always seemed like my work schedule was overlapping with that of my parents and causing one party or the other to be unreachable.

From the all-too-brief message I got all the information that I could. Grampa Schep got his pacemaker put in about a day after my last entry on him, so I put it at around the 27th or the 28th of August. Since then his recovery has not been satisfactory and he had to be transferred to a nursing home. Right now it takes two people to help him from his bed to the bathroom and back. My mother can't do this alone at the farm and there's no way this would be feasible at his apartment, so the nursing home was the only option. My mother must be going out of her mind. I know it bothered her to have to move him away from his home in Florida so that she could "keep an eye on him," and now she's had to put him into a nursing home. My father, while fiscally well off, probably is worried about the new drain on his finances -- especially since he is eligible for retirement now. I can't begin to imagine what this must be like for my grandfather.

I'm going to send him a card tomorrow since he's not able to take calls right now. He needs to know I'm thinking about him and am worried sick.

Broken ice still melts in the sun
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-angst)
I stayed up until far too early this morning in hopes that my parents would call with some news about my grandfather, but the effort was in vain as the phone never rang. I think I finally went to bed around 3:30 this morning (what [livejournal.com profile] captain18 and I lovingly refer to as "o'dark-thirty") but sleep wasn't in the cards for me -- I slept even more poorly than usual. I was up probably eight or nine times before my alarm went off. Even if I hadn't been suffering from lousy sleep and popping in and out of bed like some twisted Jack-in-the-box, the phone call from the helpdesk at 5:30 this morning would have hosed up my attempt at sleeping anyway. Luckily I had my good friend C8H10N4O2 to help me through the day.

When I went to bed I had no idea how to feel about the lack of information about the outcome of the surgery -- was there no news because the procedure was still going on? Was it indicative of an uneventful success? I certainly hoped so. My day at work kept me busy enough that I didn't have much time to reflect on the situation and subsequent silence from Minnesota though I did occasionally find myself staring at the desk phone and wishing it would ring with a call from a Minnesotan area code. Fortunately there was a voicemail waiting from my mother when I got home. She had called Z'ha'dum at 10:35 this morning to leave a brief message for me. While I would have liked more detail, any word was better than the total dearth of updates I'd been laboring under. The surgery was "excruciating" (I have no idea in what sense she was using the word as there was a total lack of context I might derive clues from) but apparently he made it through okay. In my previous entry it seems that my estimate of a week or more of recovery time was ridiculously optimistic -- according to the voicemail he'll be fitted with his pacemaker "in the next day or two."

This is one of the times when I most regret having nobody to share this household with. I'm glad that I have had Ra to hold onto these last few nights... it is with remarkable aplomb that he has tolerated my constant need to be clinging to him (let's be realistic: most cats do not go for that level of attention on an ongoing basis). Lightly speaking, the loneliness and uncertainty has been a bitch. There has been little more that I've wanted to do these last few nights than seek the arms of somebody I love. But I'm afraid that's not in the cards, so I'll just keep using Ra. Well, I'll use Ra as a substitute for as long as he'll tolerate me doing so, anyway.

i am waiting
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-angst)
My dad just called with the latest news on the condition of my grandfather. Since we spoke on Monday the situation has changed yet again and now my grandfather is going in for surgery tomorrow -- the doctors are going to do some sort of crazy Roto-Rooter procedure on his urinary tract. I don't know all the details and (speaking as a male of the species) I probably don't want to know. The upshot of it is that they're going to open him up, then go in and try to clear the clogs that have made their homes in his water works. There is little doubt in my mind that it's going to suck but it's still better than living out the rest of his life with a catheter and a bag, right?

After all that is done he will be given a few weeks to recover from the procedure. I guess he's going to need it... the plan as it stands now is that after he's all healed up he'll go back under the knife one more time. Doctors are fickle creatures and one of the team that's working my grandfather's case has pulled a one-eighty on his opinion. This morning the cardiologist had a long talk with my mother and apparently made a good case for a pacemaker -- it seems that some of Schep's confusion could be due to a lack of oxygen. As I am lead to understand my grandfather's irregular heartbeat isn't the doctor's primary concern. I guess now the issue is that my grandfather's heart has periods where it slows down so much that there's not enough oxygen getting up to his brain. At eighty-nine years old, can anyone really say they're surprised by this? Regardless, these bouts of "lazy heart" make him suddenly grow very tired and irritable. In the more extreme prolonged periods he becomes irrational and very confused. Those extreme periods have been more frequent in the last half-decade and it's clearly taken a very large toll on my mother, my father and my grandfather's relationships (not to mention their mental states). I know that all three of them would like for him to be as clear-headed and self-reliant as he was even six years ago. In light of that, I cannot help but think that perhaps this pacemaker is a good thing.

The sun always shines on TV
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-blue-contemplative)
An e-mail just came in from my father and it's gone a long way to relieving the anxiety I felt over my grandfather's condition. The total lack of information surrounding his sudden transferal was making me crazy, but that's also finally explained. From the e-mail:

Guess all the transferring, was excitement for Naught. St. Francis was apparently afraid of his irregular heart beat and low blood pressure. Both of which he's had forever,and lots of people do. Anyways, Mom said they were saying he needed to go to Abbott Northwestern 'cause he needed a pacemaker. The cardiologist at Abbott however said he didn't see any need for that. It's recovery time for the kidneys bladder etc. He will be talking to the Urologist today and see what needs to be done. So all in all, the transfer was for naught. But perhaps the best thing that could happen. Not as convenient for Mom, but perhaps far better medical advise and consultation.

Here we have all the proof one could want that the science of medicine is anything but a science with some of today's hospitals. "You haven't passed urine for five days? Well, you also have a slightly irregular heartbeat and low blood pressure. Screw your established medical history, records are for losers! Let's give you a pacemaker!" Ugh. As my dad wrote, Abbott Northwestern seems to be staffed by slightly more competent and less panic-ridden doctors. In the long run maybe this transfer (though it was unnecessary and done out of fear) was a good thing...

Just don't look back 'cause I won't be there
feren: I AM THE MAN (fcy2k)
I was going to write about my weekend... but that pretty much just went out the window. I got home about 15 minutes ago to find two messages on my voicemail from my father. Each one said simply, "Call home when you get in." Despite the late hour, I called. One, it's mighty unusual for my father to leave voicemail at the house -- much less two of them in the span of ten hours. Second, I figured that since Dad is something of a night owl, he'd not be upset if I called.

The news I got made me sit down rather hard. My grandfather is in the hospital. He went in to the ER yesterday at around 4 in the afternoon because he wasn't showing any signs of improvement. His glands (including his prostate) have swollen for some reason and he hasn't been passing urine (this is news to my folks, since he told them nothing of the sort while he's been there the past five days). At the hospital they put a catheter in and drained two liters of urine. Think about that: two liters, same amount as what's in one of those giant bottles you get at the grocery store... and he's been unable to pass it. According to my mother, he seemed better within half an hour of the drainage completing. Small wonder!

Of course, the good news comes at a cost. Grampa Schep was refusing to eat today, so my mother drove in to feed him lunch and dinner at the hospital. Not longer after she left, the hospital called my parents' farm, looking for her. Dad told them she was on her way in to see my grandfather. The nurse told my dad, "We're considering transferring him... so if she can call us before she gets here, please have her do so." Hospitals... don't generally give up their patients unless they think the patient would fare better at another facility. At 6:10 or so my mom called the house, but my dad was in the garden. When he got in he listened to the message on the machine, which was short and worrisome: We're going to Abbot Northwestern, she said. I'll call you later. That was about 4 hours ago and he still hasn't heard anything more from my mother.

Neither my father nor I am jumping to any conclusions at this point as we simply don't have enough data. For all we know he was transferred because the other hospital has a better urology department, which would make it a rather routine event. Since Mom doesn't have a cell phone, she might not have gotten a chance to call from the hospital and could be driving home right now, figuring she'll give everyone the full story when she gets home. So it's all conjecture at this point and there's no sense getting riled up.

But I am still very concerned.
feren: I AM THE MAN (pantherhead)
My parents didn't call last night, which had me a little worried. I tried calling repeatedly but got nothing but a busy signal with each try, leaving me unable to even leave a message begging for a status update (since they don't believe in voice mail, which frustrates me no end when my father is online). I gave up at around 11:00 PM last night, figuring that if I couldn't get through they'd call me when they had the chance. Well, the call finally came while I was out at lunch today. My mother called my cell and passed the word -- the visit has been entirely called off. My grandpa's condition doesn't seem to be getting worse but, on the flip side, it doesn't seem to be getting noticably better either.

This news has some good and bad aspects to it. On the bad side, I don't get to see my family. On the good side, I don't have to feel guilty about being at work tomorrow for four to six hours.

All of this only serves to strengthen my resolve to have a major holiday (Thanksgiving or Christmas) with my family this year. Hell, I've got three weeks of vacation still on the clock...

And the way the story started
feren: I AM THE MAN (contemplative)
To give some backstory: in December of last year my grandfather, who is now 89 years old, developed Diverticulosis. It kept him in bed or in the bathroom for about three days. I didn't find out about this until my mother called about twenty minutes ago -- I am a poor excuse for a grandson, but that's an entry for another time.

When the phone rang and I saw it was my parents' number, I figured it was my mother wanting to confirm the details of their arrival at Z'ha'dum tomorrow. I was told instead that they may not be coming down at all, or that if they do manage to make the trip, they'll be leaving on Friday and not tomorrow. When I asked why, I was given the backstory about my grandfather's condition and then told, "So it seems that your cat and your grandfather both have something in common -- their digestive tracts refuse to permit them to travel."

That was cause for worry. )

Incidentally, stomach problems are in vogue today. Along with my grandfather's situation, my coworker Dave was out sick yesterday after being ill on Monday night. He was in the office today but complained on the drive home that his stomach was still rather questionable. Earlier in the week [livejournal.com profile] harlee_one had gotten sick and is just now on the mend, right before her trip out of town. During the commute to work this morning I was talking with [livejournal.com profile] flynhamster and found out she'd gotten sent home from work because she'd gotten sick to her stomach in the cat food aisle. Naturally I'm worried about her and hoping that she's getting some much-needed rest tonight.

shouldn't you know I'm bound to follow

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