Sunday, April 18, 2010

Today and Yesterday

I didn't end up going to the wilderness workshop yesterday. Chalk it up to my inability to find new places and fear of highway driving.
But I did have interesting experiences.
On her blog, Lou talked about a blackout in Irvine, around 9 PM or so. At that time, I was showing the movie A Streetcar Named Desire, which was far more amazing than I had remembered. Marlon Brando seemed to have stepped off the pages of GQ in his cool black and white perfection. Vivien Leigh was painful and eloquent. Karl Malden was wonderfully dense in his role of the wronged, slightly pea-brained suitor. But about 3/4 of the way through the movie, the lights (and computer image) all went off, scaring the daylights out of all of us. Luckily, R and M, who were there watching the film, whipped out their ultra-bright mini flashlights, and we were soon in business again, when the lights came back on. However, a few minutes later, the image froze, never to return. The disc was gouged and scratched. We didn't get to watch the end of the movie.
Today I went after yoga class to get my father out of the hospital. I brought a change of clothes and underwear, even though I was pretty sure there was clean underwear he hadn't used that I brought the day after he was admitted. But he was out of it, when I arrived, his mouth hanging open, his breathing shallow, and he didn't seem to understand or care what was going on around him. His face was gray and unshaven (unshaven for the whole time he was there because I didn't think of bringing the new electric shaver and using it on his face). He couldn't walk on his walker, and had to be wheeled from the car to the house by the caregiver.
But in an hour or so, the caregivers had lavished him with attention, shaved him, changed him again (he didn't make it to the bathroom in time), and plonked him down in front of a ballgame in his favorite chair with the newspaper and a big glass of soymilk, his beverage of choice. He wasn't hungry, but he promised me he would eat something because of his diabetes.
We had talked to the cardiac surgeon, a cool customer, who told us that the decision against surgery we made was probably the one he would have made himself. The chance of stroke, kidney destruction, and massive heart attack was just too great for a man of his age and health. And he apparently had told my dad that there was no chance at all of the medication helping him enough to stabilize him and live a while longer. He shouldn't have said that.

3 comments:

Lou said...

I think I am confused. Did your father have an angioplasty?

Amazing how a little attention and cleaning up can make a guy feel all new. :-)

Robbi said...

He had an angiogram, which showed a much greater incidence of heart attack than anyone had expected.

marly said...

Yes, there was one thing someone said to my father that I wished and still wish had remained unsaid. He didn't need that bit of knowledge, and it was hard for him, and it was absolutely needless.

Although I will say that elderly patients often misunderstand something that is said and twist it into something either more hopeful or more despairing.