THis year has been less than perfect, less than wonderful.... less than anything good for my family so far! It started out alright.... then went downhill from there..... let me expand on that, i think I am going to do it in a brief timeline type of post....
As I said the year started out great (for me anyway) I was able to go on vacation (i had planned to blog about it, but as you'll soon read since I have been home I haven't exactly gotten the chance to. I will give as brief description here though). I hadn't taken a vacation since the summer of 2012 when I went to Washington DC for a week and visited with COllin and also got to see Sharon.
Fri Jan3rd my friend Julie and I (along with her kids and her dogs) left early in the morning and began what ended up being a 19 hour drive to Kent, Washington. This was the start of my vacation. (I love road trips) we had a blast and I enjoyed that drive. It was nice and cold in WA. I was excited because not only had I not been on vacation in a year and a half, but I was actually getting winter weather! It was in the 40s in Wa that weekend. I was there with Julie until Mon afternoon. DUring the weekend I got to go to the Snowqualmie Falls, the Seattle Space Needle and on what I called a "frozen hike" because there was ice and snow on the ground.
Mon Jan 6th in the evening, I flew from Seattle into Bend, Or where I was greeted by Collin and got to spend the rest of the week there. I was able to do a lot of sightseeing both with him in the evening as well as during the days while he was at work. We did a night hike to the Benham falls in the rain. I got to go to the high desert museum with his parents, I went to Drake park, it snowed once so i made a tiny snowman. On that morning (6th)my sister Denise had bariatric surgery... THe surgery went really well and things were good. I was in Or until Fri 10th when I flew home that evening... this was the start of the year from h-e---- you know the rest
Fri Jan 10th, while I was at the airport etc Denise was texting with me. SHe was in a lot of pain at her surgeyr site and was going to the emergency room. SHe ended up basically being there all night as they ran tests, spoke with the surgeon etc. They had determined that she had over-exerted herself that first week and thankfully she was ok. As they had to cut through some of her muscles for the procedure, in over exerting herself she may have torn some a little more.... :(
**Sometime either while I was on vacation or the next week, my brother in law Neal had been to the doctor for knee pain. He was told he had popliteal fascitis, given anti-inflammatories and started feeling better...
that is until FRI Jan 17th the pain had returned (these details may be a little choppy, out of order etc, but you'll get the jist) so he spoke to the dr again and was sent for an ultra-sound, which he was told to return to the dr for those results... he was in so much pain though (or something, again may be choppy) and instead of returning to the dr office he went straight to the emergency room. They diagnosed him with actually having a DVT (aka blood clot) in his leg. He got put onto blood thinners and told to stay off of his leg, etc... he went home again,,,,
SUN Jan 19th Neal woke up and tried to take his morning shower as usual and within a min or two was completely out of breath... Since Denise was still recovering from her recent surgery a good friend of theirs took him to the ER again and the friends wife took Denise up a little bit later. It turns out some of the clots (he ended up having several) had moved and travelled up into his lungs... he now had a pulmonary embolism (which if not diagnosed or treated can be deadly...in fact if he hadn't reacted to the shortness of breath, he could've died) That night the vascular surgeon came in and they placed a "filter" in his leg in order to prevent any additional clots from moving into his chest. The rest will all dissolve with the blood thinners he is now taking on a regular basis. He spent 2 days in the hospital and is still recovering from the clots.
FRI Jan 24th my mom calls me first thing in the morning before I've left for work. My dad passed out and is lying on the floor. He is responsive but she can't lift him etc. I told her to call 911 and that way the medics can come make sure everything is ok and they can transport him. They won't take him directly to the V.A. like he would normally go to, but they would stabilize him and transport when he could go. I called out for work and went to my moms house right away. Turns out he had an internal bleed. Within 24 hours of his arrival at the hospital he was given 5 units of blood and 3 units of plasma. He spent several days in the ICU and then was transferred to the telemetry unit. This same weekend my friend Carla was in the hospital from Sun-Tues for ulcers during her pregnancy. SO I was visiting dad and her.
**dad stayed in the hospital**
Sun FEB 2nd Neal is having severe pain in the leg where they did the operation to plave the filter. Initially he felt that Denise can take him into the ER but by the time she went upstairs to get shoes on and came back downstairs he was worse and they called 911 to get him taken in. (*again Dad is still at the hospital and his condition hasn't changed, in fact it got worse, while they were treating his bleed etc they were neglecting his normal medical conditions and he ended up retaining water and was having symptoms from his CHF* but they weren't listening to my mom and neglected to call in cardiologists for the first week and a half he was there, there had been another incident too, but I won't get into that tonight either) As for Neal they kept him overnight helped relieve the pain, ran ultra sounds etc and everything came back ok. They weren't sure why he had the pain but it resolved and he was able to return home again.
**dad is still in hospital**
THURS Feb 6th while I am at the hospital with my mom and visiting my dad, my aunt Linda calls. My grandma (who had been in the serious-almost fatal- car accident last summer) had passed out at home and initially was unresponsive, The paramedics were called and she was being taken in. My grandma spent 2 days in the hospital out in the antelope valley. They ran tests etc but never found the cause but she was at a point where she could get around without getting dizzy etc so they sent her home Sat night or Sun morning.
TUES Feb 11th after 19days they released my dad from the hospital. Nobody felt he was ready, he even told me that night he was only feeling 50/50 but he was miserable at the hospital and wanted to go home. It was hard because he was still weak and needing help with a lot but my mom wasn't going to force him to stay when he really wanted to be home.
So now if you've been keeping track I had 4 family members in the hospital in 5 weeks. One was there for long term, one was a "repeat offender" and as it turned out it was every weekend! This weekend we were hoping for a break.... we had decided 2014 had already given our family enough trials and we were trying to be optimistic....
Fri Feb 14th .... this is where it gets really hard!!! I had gotten off work a little early and so I was back in town a little earlier than normal. I met up with a friend at the bowling alley where she was watching her granddaughter bowl. As I was walking out to my car to go home and get some stuff for my evening my mom called me.... all I could hear was screaming in the background. SHe managed to tell me my dad was unresponsive and i asked if she called 911, she didn 't answer other than to yell at me to "GET HOME NOW" and in the background she's hollering "BREATHE BREATHE" I wasn't getting any response from her and I was driving as fast and as safe as I could freaking out all the while. Half way home the lone went dead... i got to my parents street, the paramedics, 2 fire engines and Simi PD were all there. I had to park half way up the street, i got out and I RAN to the house.
My neighbors were there and my mom was freaking out. SHe was saying that they told her to get him off the bed and he smacked his head, she was trying to do compressions and couldnt get his chest to move. My nephews told me they called 9-1-1 and were trying to help papa breathe (turned out the 5 year old is the one who found him) When he told grandma (my mom) he and his 7 year old brother called 9-1-1 and the operator eventually talked to my mom.
THe medics and fire dept worked on my dad for ??? amount of time. THey were doing CPR, got the I.V. line and his airway secured. His pacemaker was firing, but the heart was not responding.... they pronounced my dad around 5:15 pm.... so much for one weekend of good health.....
THe past couple days have been filled with a lot of tears.... some conversations about funeral arrangements and all the normal emotions of losing a family member. THis has not been an easy time for any of us. Although the past 8 years have been filled with medical problems for my dad, even several close calls (including them saving his life with CPR before) and many rare conditions that they told us would kill him he always survived. SO although we have been blessed with these past 8 years, and we knew he wouldn't live forever... this came as a shock! Turns out while recently hospitialized he told my mom "if i'm going to die I want it to be at home, not here" ... from what we can tell he knew it was time and went peacefully in his sleep. My dad has had to sleep with a cpap machine for many many years now. He ALWAYS has it on if he is in bed. He had wanted to go and take a nap before dinner so (about 45 min before she called me) my mom helped him into bed, got the pillows under his head and he was putting on the cpap when she left him.... when my nephew found him the cpap was off, and the pillows were not under his head..... It was his time.
It is comforting having a knowledge of the gospel. KNowing that in time I will get to see him again and he will be at peace. THat he will no longer be suffering or in pain. THis time we are struggling now, we have to find comfort in that. He is with loved ones who have passed before. My grandparents, an uncle, family friends etc. There are many who I am sure welcomed him home to Heavenly Father's presence
Right now we are working on the arrangements. Nothing is finalized yet but we know some of what the plans are going to be. We have a tentative date in mind if we can get all the arrangements coordinated for that date. He will be cremated (which was his wish) but the services will include military honors. We will get the Marines color guard for the flag etc. There is so much to coordinate and we are starting that stuff tomorrow. Due to the holiday tomorrow though the V.A./military connections are unavailable. So we havent set anything certain yet. We also have family and friends who will need to make travel arrangements for the services... it's a lot to figure out.... I do know though that it isn't easy
Back in 2012 I wrote a poem for my dad I called it "Daddy's Lil Girl" (you cna look back on my blog to read it if you'd like) it was a poem trying to show my dad he was loved. Letting him know that despite anything else I loved him. Trying to show him he needed to love himself enough to fight for his life as long as he could. That he needed to realize his self worth in order to try and get himself healthier etc... well in the past 2 days I have now added to that poem. I plan to read it in it's entirety at the services. I will start with the initial poem and then share the adddition I wrote now that he has passed. It won't be easy but I think it is how I can say something. I know I will be crying like crazy but I will do my best to speak clearly... I will probably share the addition on here sometime after the services. For now this is my year in review thru the first month & a half..... like I said at the beginning IT SUCKS!! (other than my vacation)
We've been so blessed at this time with love and support from so many people. Via text, calls, Facebook and especially personal visits. Thank you all so much for everything. The food the flowers and the prayers. We need it. This is yet another trial for my family and we'll grow stronger from it.