**Update at the bottom**
Okay, I know some folks have been wondering what's been going on with my dad. I wasn't deliberately keeping it from ya'll, just that I wasn't sure for a few days what to tell you. Plus most of you have been on this ride with me from the beginning and might have needed to step off the roller coaster for a bit. I know I've been feeling that way. Here's what happened.
Dad was home from the hospital following a brief return because of swelling around the area of his surgery which was making him loopy. You may recall that at the start of our story Dad was having a tumor removed from his brain. Surgery went well, a few set backs then to rehab then home where he was doing fabulously until the swelling episode.
So Dad was home and doing okay, though not great. We know this is going to take time. But then he seemed to be getting weaker plus had this cough so we were going to take him back to the docs. The night before this was to take place he took a bad fall. I won't go into that nightmare but I will tell you that there was no damage done to his brain. In fact considering how awful things appeared he did relatively minor damage, but it did mean a call to 911 and a trip to the emergency room. While there they of course did head scans and then when Mom noticed Dad grabbing his side when coughing they did chest xrays (yeah, Dad was going to tough it out and not mention that his ribs hurt) and discovered cracked ribs. They also discovered what appeared to be a small spot of pneumonia. Well we knew he had the cough, but we didn't know he was that sick. Turns out he wasn't, yet, but it probably would have turned worse quickly so the fall was a blessing in disguise. Anyway they decide to keep him but the hospital that the emergency people took us to was not contracted with their insurance and the insurance requested he be moved to a contracted hospital. This is actually not the biggie it sounds like because the hospital he ended up at is not terribly far from home and actually a very nice hospital with a really good reputation. So it's okay that this happened, really. And they took care of the transfer and everything, it didn't require us to do anything.
Anyway, at the new hospital they checked everything over again, of course, and asked about his meds and the fall and yada yada. They decided that the steroids he was taking for the swelling in the brain probably caused the weakness that led to the fall. So the started weaning him off of it but then he started getting loopy after a few days. Also his breathing was becoming very labored. Lots of tests followed: new CT scan, eeg, xrays, blood work - you name it. Everything came back looking good except for that spot of pneumonia in the xray and they were treating it with antibiotics.
They moved him from a regular room to CCU in order to keep a closer eye on him. They decided that the loopiness might have been caused from taking him off of the steroids too quickly so he's on a small dose, partly for that and partly for his breathing problems. Plus the antiobiotics via iv. Plus he gets this nebulizer thing to breath from every six hours. (Literary reference: I told him it makes him look like the caterpillar from ALICE IN WONDERLAND.) In the meantime they also did a swallow test which came back inconclusive. The test was because he still has this roughish cough but nothing much coming up, and they want to determine whether his swallow/breath reflex is off and maybe something worked its way into an air passage. But as I said it was inconclusive. So they put him on intrevenous diet for two days and ran the test again to get a better idea. That went pretty well so they moved him up to soft foods and he's been doing well on those so maybe back to regular food today. We shall see.
He is still very very weak and tires easily but his oxygen levels are much better and the xray he had yesterday morning shows his lungs are looking pretty good. Two days ago he was moved from CCU to a 'step down' room which is something between CCU and a regular room for a few days and now it looks like he's ready to go to a rehabilitation facility for a bit to get his strength back. There's a really nice place near home, quite upscale, that the insurance will cover so we're hoping for that. As I said, he's still terribly weak and tires very easy, which worries Mom and I; but no new health issues are coming out, so they feel the next step is recovery and rehabilitation.
It's still a one day at a time deal and that's how we're trying to take it. Mom and I are very tired but make a pretty good team.
So we got Dad checked into the rehabilitation facility this afternoon. These things don't move quickly so it was late afternoon before he was picked up for transport and evening by the time he was settled in. Mom and I both had a pretty good feel about the place. Staff was friendly and Dad has his own room, small but private. Hopefully our first impression will bear out. It's only about 15 minutes from home, as the crow flies; a little bit more at rush hour but still pretty darned close.
Thanks for being there, all of you. It means a lot to me.