Showing 1 - 10 of 76 posts found matching keyword: illness

Dad has been in the hospital since Tuesday.

His colectomy surgery to address lingering problem from his 2018 diverticulosis episode had originally been postponed because the hospital was full of COVID patients (but they later found room after calling in support from the National Guard). Measures designed to prevent the further spread of COVID within the hospital mean that he is allowed only one visitor per day. COVID is stretching hospital resources so thin that staff have been forced to leave Dad lying on soiled sheets because clean and sanitized sheets were not immediately available.

One thing I cannot blame on COVID is Dad's hallucinations, presumably resulting from a combination of medications and lack of sleep. In the midst of a waking dream, he removed all his catheters and drips and tried to tear out his drain. This last bit may have damaged his sutures. He's now subject to a more robust watch by the nursing staff, which in practical terms doesn't mean as much as it might because the staff is already overtaxed tending to patients suffering from COVID*.

The point here is that I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to be rationally furious at every idiot who has participated in extending this fucking pandemic that for 18 months and counting continues to make life both more difficult and more perilous for everyone on the planet.

As I waited to pass screening into the hospital yesterday, the lady working the front desk was trying to be apologetic about the hospital's restriction procedures. "Numbers have been going down the past two weeks. It may be over soon," she said. I said, "I've heard that before." She gave up trying to make small talk with me, a lesson everyone should probably take to heart, at least until we can all talk to one another safely without masks on.

*UPDATE: I've been sitting in the hospital room all afternoon, and the staff couldn't be nicer or more attentive. I should not impugn their Herculean efforts. The COVID era sucks for them, too.

UPDATE 2021-09-26: Today, Dad developed a case of hospital delirium and escaped from the hospital on foot. Full credit to the entire staff, including the nurses who were bowled over by a fleeing, bow-legged senior citizen and the security guards who peacefully returned him to his bed. I mention this so specifically because the hospital staff continues to do a great job under the most trying circumstances. (Personally, I would have let him just keep running, which is the best argument for why I should never work in a hospital.)

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My father was supposed to have surgery this past Tuesday to finally address complications resulting from his diverticulosis in October 2018. It didn't happen.

We've spent most of the past three years dealing with his heart issues, which made doctors uneasy about intestinal surgery. First an artificial valve, then a pacemaker, then another pacemaker.... Now that those are resolved, Dad was all set to finally put (most of ) his abdominal issues to rest. Unfortunately, things continue to work out not as planned. This time, the hospital had to cancel. It seems they ran out of room.

Late this week, Piedmont Hospital Newnan was forced to call in the National Guard for help against the latest surge against COVID-19. They didn't need that help back in January, so that tells you how bad this wave is. According to one report, they are booked to 125% of capacity, with the Emergency Room waiting room converted to temporary overflow COVID-patient holding.

(Side note: They say that most of those currently ill with the Delta variant weren't vaccinated. I wonder what the overlap is in Georgia between those who chose not to vaccinate and those who have no health insurance? I'd ask a high school student to draw that Venn diagram, but masks are optional in Coweta County schools, and I don't want to end up in the hospital myself.)

Both Dad and I like to think that one day he'll finally be fixed enough to avoid his current monthly visits to a urologist and surgeon. Maybe so. But the way things are going, it doesn't look like it's going to be any day soon.

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I have received my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Update March 25: side effects have been limited to a very mild case of tenderness at the injection site (comparable to a bruise) and a moderate case of general ennui (though that might be standard operating procedure these days).

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Gallows humor: for when you're at the end of your rope

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Good news! July's back and legs are responding to treatment, and she's walking much better.

Bad news! July is now having seizures (two in the past three days).

I'll keep you posted.

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2020 has done it again. Alex Trebek has died from pancreatic cancer at age 80.

In the year 2014 BC (Before COVID), Trebek appeared on the final episode of The Colbert Report to reassure its departing host:

"So I guess I’ll be gone forever?" Colbert asked.

"No, Stephen," answered Trebek. "We'll always be there for the American people, whenever they need us the most."

All of life’s important answers must be in the form of a question

May he live forever in reruns.

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July's health problems continue. At least this time it's not cancer (we think).

She's been getting wobbly in the back legs for the past few months, a condition that we've been attributing to old age. (She's almost 15!) However, on Monday she abruptly lost the ability to coordinate her back feet, began dragging her back knuckles, and could no longer get up from a laying position. Or even a sitting position.

Her doctor agreed that this seemed abnormal and took x-rays. He ultimately diagnosed, and I quote, "likely intervertebral disc disease at L5-6, spondylosis at L7-S, mild hip dysplasia."

What did you have for dinner?
"Spondylosis"? Uh, yeah. I see that now.

She's now on a prescription of steroids, muscle relaxers, and spine massages every 8 hours, which she has responded to quite well. In fact, she's already learned her med schedule and asks for her pills on time. (She loves Pill Pockets™!)

The biggest difficulty of her condition comes from her continued refusal to let me out of her sight. This has always been the case. Despite her wobbly legs, she recently fell down the stairs rather than let me be out of her sight for a whole minute. (Could that be how she damaged her back? Silly poodle.)

So, for the foreseeable future, I'll be carrying her upstairs for food and meds, outside to do her business, and everywhere else I need to go, including into my bedroom when I work and sleep and into my bathroom to lie on the bathmat when I take a shower. She's such a diva.

Not that I'm really complaining. It could be worse, which probably isn't something I should say in 2020.

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Dad's in the hospital again for some sort of infection. I thought at first he had decided that if COVID was good enough for the president, it was good enough for him. The good news is that he doesn't have COVID. The bad news is that I don't know what he's got.

[UPDATE 10-06: He's been diagnosed with untreated bronchiolitis that turned into sepsis. He is expected to recover. Would this have become such a dangerous issue if fear of spreading COVID to high risk patients hadn't closed his GP's office to all people with respiratory issues? *shakes fist at 2020*]

After extended visits in three consecutive years, it's getting harder to get Dad to go to the hospital. Despite feeling increasingly terrible, he's refused the option for weeks. He had to spend all last night bleeding from the nose before he'd finally consent to going. What will he have to bleed from next year?

It was almost exactly two years ago that he was checked into the same hospital for diverticulitis, a rupture in his intestines that he never had repaired. Is this a recurrence of that? (How far do you have to stick your head up your ass before bleeding from the nose could be a diverticulitis symptom?) Your guess is as good as mine. Better, probably.

I'm sure you don't really care about my father's medical problems, but this blog also serves as sort of a diary, and one day (probably in October 2022), I'll wonder when it was that Dad went in to the hospital for that mystery infection that might have been COVID.

I mean, I don't mind reminding you, but you really need to work on your long-term recall, future Walter.

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There should have been a new post here, but I have been struck down by a debilitating case of vertigo after one too many hours gaming too close to a video monitor. Mom was right: It is bad for your eyes.

Next week I'll update you on running with scissors.

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As I type this, the United States has 1.188 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 68,276 deaths. More Americans have already died in the past 2 months from COVID-19 than died in the entire Vietnam War. And it's not over yet. By the time you read this, those numbers will be worse.

A quick computation of those figures reveals a current mortality rate of nearly 6%. If you've been paying attention (what else have you got to do?), you may remember that back at the beginning of March, the World Health Organization was estimating a 3.4% mortality rate — an estimate our wise president chose to call "a false number" in a live television interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News. He objected to the WHO number not because it was too low, but because it was much, much to high. "I would say the number is way under one percent," said the president.

(Footnote for future historians: That comment was made on March 4. A month later, April 14, Trump withdrew funding to the WHO claiming that they failed to report the true danger of the virus back in January. Quote: "The reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain that and share information in a timely and transparent fashion." By that logic, I guess we should stop funding the current American president, too.)

Testing continues to be a problem, so we can't really be sure that the 1,188,122 number I referenced above is the true extent of the contamination. If we assume that the actual mortality rate is closer to 3.4% previously observed in other countries, it would mean that over 2 million Americans currently have or have had the disease. That's over a million hidden, untreated, pandemic-spreading cases. Sure seems like someone should be thinking twice about opening those shopping malls, Governor Kemp.

Also unreported in all those grim details is another victim of COVID-19. Specifically, I'm talking about my flattop.

Egghead!

I haven't seen a barber in over a decade, but in an act of solidarity with coronavirus-positive Tom Hanks (and maybe a little laziness), I decided to go ahead and trim my hair down to the scalp. Does it make me look more bald or less?

These days, the fact that I'm alive and well enough to worry about such things feels like an accomplishment.

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To be continued...

 

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