Monday, October 09, 2006

Lessons Learned

It is humbling to realize how many people are out here, floating about in the blogosphere, who will take the time to try and make a little bitty redneck girl feel better.

For all the well wishes, good thoughts and prayers you sent in my direction, and that of my father's, I thank you. I really, really thank you. All of you. For every key stroke you sent my way, I want you to know it helped. It all helped.

My dad is doing much better. As of yesterday, the doctor's pronounced him stable and took him off the critical list. It was a good day.

Strike that. It was a great day.

Sitting in that ICU room, day after a day, brought back a lot of memories. Some pleasant, other's not so much. But as I struggled with my fear and my memories, I realized something. I would survive this. Even if my dad didn't.

I do wish, however, he had chose another month; a different time, to get sick. With my Shalebug's first year anniversary of his passing approaching in less than two weeks, I really didn't need a reminder of how fragile life is. Or how cold October could be when standing at the edge of a grave in a pretty cemetery.

But now that my dad is fighting to return to his old, ornery self, I thought I would take the time to share with you, dear internet, some of the things I have learned these last two weeks, while sitting in various hospitals, staring at my dad and my husband.

First off, I know now, that no matter how sick my husband is, how legitimate that illness is, I will still be annoyed with him for getting sick in the first place. Heaven help him, he can do no right. I would apologize for this, if I thought I could change this about myself, but since he tends to be a big baby and I tend to be a heartless woman, I'll just choose to accept this quirk about myself.

Secondly, the ICU is a scary place. It doesn't matter how cute the male nurse named Todd looks in his green scrubs, the beeps, tubes, machines and smell of death is still scary.

I learned septic shock accounts for 25 percent of all ICU bed utilization in North America, with a mortality rate of greater than 70 percent.

I learned the leading cause of death in non-coronary ICU patients is septic shock. I learned that sepsis is the tenth most common cause of death overall, in North America.

I learned that watching a dialysis machine take urine out of blood is truly a miracle. Especially when you are packing around a fussy six month old baby who shuts up (finally!) to watch the whirring and beeping of said machine.

I learned it is always funny, no matter how many times I see it, to see an old man waddle about with his back side hanging out from a hospital gown. I also learned an old man's rear is not near as pretty as a thirty year old man's.

Sadly, I learned that watching your father fight for his life, while very scary and humbling, is not nearly as scary as watching your child fight for his life. There is still nothing scarier than rushing to emergency with your sick child in your arms, only to walk out of the emergency room hours later with nothing but a plastic bag in your hand.

I also learned that hospital food is never palatable, my annoying aunt is even more annoying in the face of great crisis and that as screwed up as my family really is, we really love each other. Warts and all. Even when my 6'4" brother hogs the tiny sofa and snores like a lumber jack. Even when my sister uses my toothbrush and deodorant with out asking. Even when my mom shoots pop out of her nose, thereby spraying me with it. Yummy.

I learned there is no better sound than that of my dad finally being taken off the ventilator and telling the nurses he is going to shove his boot up their asses when he gets out of this god forsaken place.

I learned how blessed I am. No strike that. I remembered how blessed I really am. I already knew I was blessed. I just forgot it momentarily.


Blogger ECR said...

I'm so relieved to hear your father is doing better. I've been thinking about you since your last post. Just now I was reading with my breath held until the third paragraph. Still, my thoughts and prayers will remain with you because I know the difficult times aren't nearly over. It's great to hear about your whole family coming together and supporting each other. Best wishes to you all.

10:19 a.m.  
Blogger Motherkitty said...

You KNOW your dad is getting better if he's spewing his threats at the nurses (you know he doesn't really mean it -- it's probably just his way). I glad your family is gathered around for support, love, and a few laughs.

I know you are not out of the woods but things are looking up. I'm sending you a huge motherkitty hug your way and hope you can feel the love from us all.

I was very touched by your post and learned a few more things about you.

10:39 a.m.  
Blogger My float said...

I'm so glad that your dad has pulled through. You have amazing strength, with all that you have gone through. I am sure that your children are learning so much about life and coping from you. I am too.
The coming weeks may be difficult as the first anniversary approaches. May this strength see you through it safely.
And may everything only get better.

3:19 p.m.  
Blogger lynsalyns said...

Oh, thank God. I am so happy your dad is on the mend. Like Binky said, my continued prayers are with you all - and your warts! - while he continues to heal.

Wishing you peace in October.

3:54 p.m.  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

That's wonderful news about your dad! I'm so happy for you all, although I feel for his nurses. A man sized boot is not comfortable in one's behind. So I've heard.

I'm also glad to hear you have a good support system. I know this month won't be easy for you so I hope you'll take some time for yourself and call on your family to help.

4:05 p.m.  
Blogger jellyhead said...

T!!!! I can't tell you how overjoyed I am to hear that your Dad is on the mend. That is absolutely going to make my day.

I know this is a tough month for you. I am thinking of you now, and will be on the 21st especially.


4:17 p.m.  
Blogger kimmyk said...

Glad to hear your dad is doing much better. I'll continue to send good thoughts and vibes your way to get him home.

I know whatcha mean bout your hubby though. When men get sick the world comes to a screeching hault, but if we get sick? We're still expected to do everything as if it were a normal day.

7:07 p.m.  
Blogger Mary-LUE said...

T-What a relief about your father. I am always so amazed by your ability to bring wisdom and perspective to such intense situations. You have a core of strength inside that pierced, tatooed body which is profound.

8:08 p.m.  
Blogger B.E.C.K. said...

This is wonderful news. I feel so relieved for you. My dad was in the hospital a few months ago for emergency tests that could have indicated something much more serious than what it turned out to be, and I remember how happy I was when the doctors said he would be okay. May your dad live many a year to put many a boot up many an ass. *hugs*

9:17 p.m.  
Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Our great granddaughter Haleigh died on the 15th, seven days before Shalebug. Her mom is still having a very difficult time...same as you.

I'm so glad that your dad is on the mend and that your husband got better too. I know how hard it must be for you to sit in the same hospital day after day. Our prayers go out to your dad and our love we send to you.
Take care.

10:07 p.m.  
Blogger Kristen said...

I'm sorry I missed the post and wasn't here to support you- but I'm glad that your dad is doing better. Here's to not having to eat hospital food for a while!

P.S. when I had Leah, they gave me the standard menu to choose from, and the food was actually pretty damn good!

10:56 p.m.  
Anonymous jess said...

I love you.

That's all i have to say.

11:54 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to see a new post and even better to read about your Dad's progress towards recovery.
I'll be thinking of you and your family in the weeks to come.
Love, Jellyma.

5:34 a.m.  
Blogger Gette said...

See, I told you the orneryness would win out!

8:45 a.m.  
Blogger Jozet said...


Big ole shoulder in Pennsylvania here to help - with the rest of the blogosphere - to carry you through the rest of October.

9:32 a.m.  
Blogger creative-Type Dad (Tony) said...

Wow! I'm just catching up here - I very happy to hear things are looking up.

10:14 a.m.  
Anonymous dreadmouse said...

I'm so glad to hear that your Dad is doing better. I was thinking about you guys on Turkey Day, really hoping that you would have something to be thankful for. I hope he gets out of the hospital soon!

12:08 p.m.  
Anonymous Great Dane Addict said...

I'm so glad that your father is doing better.

12:11 p.m.  
Blogger J. said...

You kill me woman.
You really do.
Why not shove a knife through my heart and get it over with, okay?

Your first "I learned" cracked me up, because we're exactly alike.

The rest, brought a tear to my eye.

Because we're exactly alike.

7:55 p.m.  
Blogger Daisydee said...

Seems most men are babies when their sick. They lose the man in manly.

I am so glad to hear that you dad is doing better. I know this is a tough month.


8:01 p.m.  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I'm late to all this, having been hiding under the blankies fighting off the blahs, but... so glad to hear that it turned out okay. Can I send best wishes retroactively?

10:48 a.m.  

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