Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dear Charlie:

Well, Legends of the Ozarks is over, though Strangler's Grove is still rocking until Tuesday. We got through, despite a migraine one week and a streaming cold that stole most of my voice the next. But we got through. Now, on to DickensFest. Whew!

Unfortunately, the family had a shock this week. My mother's father had a stroke Thursday. He's 87 years old and has a pacemaker, so any stroke is a bad stroke. It didn't kill him outright, but he's still in the ICU. He had a brain bleed that they stopped, but now he's having mini seizures. Those are fairly common after stroke in older patients, but it's still not good.

Mom saw him before the seizures and said that, while the doctors didn't think he was capable of communicating, she thought differently. She made a joke about how he must be getting used to riding in a helicopter (he's been in and out of hospitals a lot in the past several years), and he winked at her. Her sister asked if he recognized her, and he smiled. When they asked if his head hurt, he frowned. Those don't sound like involuntary responses, but the nurses, at least, were unconvinced.

I'm not. Those sound like appropriate responses to questions when you can't talk. Yes, the brain bleed seems to have killed his language centers. We'll see if he regains any ability to speak, but he clearly is still capable of communication.

They were getting ready to move him into a regular room when the mini seizures started, but that's been put on hold. If they can get them under control, he still might pull through. Don't get me wrong -- he's had a good, long life, and he wouldn't want to survive as a vegetable; he has a living will that specifies no extreme measures. But he's conscious. He's trying to communicate. He's not gone yet, and as long as there's still hope that he can retain some capacity, as long as he's still aware, the family will try to keep him around.

So, if you don't mind, it'd be awesome if you could send good thoughts his way. He definitely needs them.

I'm making some homemade chicken noodle soup. Homemade broth from boiling the bones is a great curative, so I'm hoping it gets me back on my feet so I can go see him next weekend. I wanted to go today, but they wouldn't have let me near him like this.

See? I'm already sending positive thoughts. He's still gonna be around next weekend for me to see. And he's going to recognize me, or at least realize that family is there and loves him. It's a start.

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