My Father’s Story Part 4

(Originally posted in June 2023)

Too Close to Home

Continuing on with my father’s story…. (Sorry for the delay. This one has proven harder to start, not only because there has been a lot on my plate, but the content will likely begin to hit close to home as I remember what transpired over the past six months or so.)

In terms of my personal experience with C-19, I have likely had it twice, both times when it was going around during the Christmas holidays (2021 and 2022), as most colds and flus do. Both times, it was like a bad cold with a fever, with slightly different symptoms. Almost everyone in our area had it to one extent or another during those times, whether having had the shot or not.

The most recent time was just after this New Year (2023). It only lasted a few days, but I laid low for a good amount of time to be sure I didn’t spread it to others. Right around this time, ironically enough, was when I found out my Dad had gone to the hospital with what seemed like it might have been a UTI. I would have loved to go right up to see him (about a 5 hour drive, give or take a half hour). But since I was getting over what seemed like C-19, I decided to stay put and pray. He was so deathly afraid of catching it, there was no way I was taking a chance of exposing him.

I found out later (after exploring what had happened to him), he was apparently originally admitted with weakness, UTI, some fluid in his lungs and slightly elevated cardiac enzymes. A few days after he went to the hospital (and had antibiotics, etc.), he was sent to rehab to recover. I remember calling him one day, and he seemed like he had some coughing, which I mentioned, and he called me my sister’s name and told me I worry too much. When I reminded him of who I was, he said something like “Lisa, you worry too much too!”

I didn’t think a whole lot more about that, and continued to pray for him, of course….

Just shy of two weeks after his original hospital admission, we found out that he was being transferred from the rehab facility back to the hospital with “Respiratory Distress”. Not knowing if they would let us visit, especially if he tested positive for C-19, there was a day of not knowing if I’d head up or not, but I began preparing for the trip, planning for an extended stay as best I could. Thankfully, he tested negative, so they would allow visitors. I headed up the next day after that confirmation.

Again, after regrouping at the end of this whole thing, I learned that he had been given antibiotics for Pneumonia, had a low oxygen level and elevated pulse when admitted that second time. He tested negative for Covid, RSV and Flu, and had a couple of simple cold viruses.

Hoping for Recovery

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I expected it to be like the last time. Help him get through the hospital stay and rehab and help him get back home. He was pretty confused, and I had to keep reassuring him that we were indeed aiming and planning to get him back home. When I first got there to see him (he was in the hospital), I had to get all garbed up, wearing a gown, with mask and face shield, which had a big black stripe right across the face which really confused him, he thought I’d look SO much better without that big black stripe, I should just take it off. Talk about confusing the elderly when they’re in a difficult situation. It was so hard to breathe, I took breaks going out to my car to get some oxygen. God bless the medical staff who had to wear that crazy get up all the time.

They said that he’d be discharged once his O2 levels were better (and he didn’t need the oxygen tank helping get his levels up). So, I was surprised when he was sent back to rehab after a couple of days, but at least he was more at ease going back to a place that he had been to before.

He was confused, and thought that he was going home, going to the rehab place, going to his local Senior services place…. He kept using all the names of those places interchangeably for “home”, and I had to keep reminding him that he wasn’t going home yet, but would get there once he recovered, etc.

Silver Lining–Special Moments

The “silver lining” on this whole clouded story … the place where I saw Jesus’ gracious hand show up so tenderly, was in the times I got to share with my Dad by his bedside over the next two weeks. I fully expected him to begin recovering slowly like last time. He had lucid moments, some anxious and confused ones, and mostly was just really tired and increasingly weak. He was coughing, but his lungs were always “clear” when nursing would listen to them. He had swallowing issues, which contributed to his cough, and apparently, his heart was essentially failing which added to that as well. Thankfully, he always tested negative for C-19, so I was able to visit him daily, and never was kicked out of his room, able to be with him to the very end.

I got to show some of my videos from YouTube to him by his bedside (which he had never seen before, because he was quite the dinosaur, not even having any internet in his home, etc.) I even brought in a travel guitar and sang him some Italian art songs (the type he used to sing when we were young.) He tried to sing briefly, but I don’t think his lungs were up to it, so he and his roommate listened and appreciated it. I got to show him videos of our church service livestreams, where I regularly am blessed to sing alongside two of my nephews, his grandchildren. All these things really blessed him.

His energy level would only allow for some of these times. Much of the time, I was sitting there as he slept. Every now and then, he’d wake up or look over at me and ask what we were going to do, and I’d try to jump on those moments when he was willing to expend that energy.

There were memorable moments, especially one, when we had a very lucid conversation in which he was telling me how he never thought I would have been able to do all the things I’ve done, how impressed he was, etc. (When I’ve told others about him saying that, some have remarked about what a put-down that could be, but to me, from HIM, it was a huge compliment….)

Funny thing, I tried to tell him that all the good things I’ve been able to do have been because of my Helper (Jesus) holding my hand all along the way. He didn’t want to hear that and pushed back, and although I appreciated his kind words, I didn’t want to lie to him…. Hopefully that truth registered somewhere, but he was NOT interested in entertaining that notion!

To be continued….

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