Showing 1 - 10 of 79 posts found matching keyword: illness

Dad has been released from the hospital into my care. I'm not convinced he's ready, but I understand why the hospital wanted to be rid of him. I made the mistake of telling him that CVS had sent a text warning that his new prescription for melatonin was not covered by his insurance. "Good," he said. "That's the drug the nurses were using to hack my phone!"

I left behind a giant bowl of Halloween treats for the excellent staff of Piedmont Hospital Newnan's 8th floor who cared for him for the past two weeks. In essence, I traded the nurses my Dad for a bowl of candy. Trick or treat! It's nice to still have a father, but I'm pretty sure the hospital got the better deal.

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True Tales from the Hospital*

NURSE: Your son is here. Walter's here.

JIM (irritably): Walter Shears? I don't know Walter Shears.

NURSE: What is your son's name?

JIM: My son is Walter Stephens. I've never known any Walter Shears. Send him away.

*That Might Be Heartbreaking If They Weren't Objectively Hilarious

...

Also funny (and totally true): thanking his nurses after they settled him into a fresh gown and sheets, he said "Thank you. You've done a great job. That's how I know you're not really my nurses. They're not this good."

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While Dad's been in the hospital, you'd think I'd be watching movies on his Disney+ account. But I don't have the first idea what his password is, and he is in no state to tell me. Let that be a lesson to you, kids: steal your parents' passwords early and often.

112. (1971.) Onward (2020)
I did, in fact, watch this on Disney+ with Dad long before the current health complications. It's as well-crafted as anything you would expect from Pixar, but I'd say that level of polish removed some of the potential sparkle. I'm sure I would have loved it more if I had seen it with young eyes.

113. (1972.) The Rainmaker (1956)
I don't think that either Katherine Hepburn or Burt Lancaster were particularly well-cast in their roles in this Music Man-ish unmusical romantic dramady. But then, I didn't much like the whole movie, so maybe it wasn't the casting that was the problem.

114. (1973.) Katharine Hepburn: All About Me (1992)
The actress presents her own autobiography directly to the camera (including an admission that she had a "more-than-friends" relationship with a woman before such things were publicly tolerated). I've always admired her, and everything I saw here only reinforced that opinion.

115. (1974.) The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976)
The only word for this is "awful." Worse than just a Western with no heroes, it's a comedy with bad timing. Blech.

117. (1976.) Gorky Park (1983)
It's a relatively dry crime suspense thriller set in contemporary Moscow that wisely uses a Soviet empire crumbling under its own mismanagement to its advantage. I liked it.

118. (1977.) Taxi! (1932)
James Cagney plays my least favorite Cagney cliche, the little man with a giant chip on his shoulder. Getting past that was hard for me, but there are plenty of other enjoyable, mostly comedic, moments from the supporting cast.

More to come.

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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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To be continued...

 

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