Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hospital Yarn

It has been a strange week, upside-down week.

My father had been feeling fatigued since around Christmas, and my mother had been noticing that his appetite was really poor. I didn't really think too much of it: I figured it was the long, dark days of winter that were affecting him, and that, as soon as the days got brighter, he'd perk up again.

I don't know what it was, but it finally dawned on me how ill he was on Sunday of last week (the 5th). On Monday, I texted my brother (who lives in Winnipeg) about him, and he told me he was fine. On Tuesday, I asked him again. 

"Did you talk to Mom?" his reply said.

"No," I said.

"I took him to the hospital this morning."

Then, my phone started ringing. I could see it was my mom. She almost never phones my cell phone.

I answered, but I couldn't hear anything on the other end except the sounds of people talking, some beeping, and the some echoing footsteps: the sounds of a hospital.

I hung up and called back.

No answer.

My heart was in my throat. At that moment, a coworker appeared at my door. I looked up at him, and I must have looked like a ghost because he shut my door and came over to me immediately to put his arm over my shoulder to ask what was wrong.

I can't really remember all that happened next, except that my boss had someone book me a flight home. Two hours later, I was on a plane, and the next thing I knew, my brother picked me up at the airport in Winnipeg around midnight.

I went to the hospital in the morning where my dad was under observation. He was asleep sitting upright in a chair, since he was having trouble getting his breath lying down. He looked pale and small. 

That was hard.

He was admitted officially later that day, and he stayed there until Monday, when the fluid in his lungs had drained and his oxygen levels stabilized. He's home now, feeling stronger and more normal than he's felt for months. He's being referred to a specialist and will also be going for physiotherapy. He's also had his meds rearranged to help him remember to take them to prevent fluid build up in his lungs. It about as "back to normal" as we can get right now, until the specialist visits start and we know more about what to do to keep him well.

Spending days at the hospital is easy and difficult at the same time. You don't do much, but your mind doesn't really rest. I spent a lot of time wandering around the hospital, poking through gift shops, as well as the tables people had set up in the halls were they sold baked goods, clothes and trinkets.

It happened to be the same hospital where my mom and I had our kidney surgeries last year. During one of my walks, I found the kidney donor offices, and visited with the coordinator who helped to organize my donation last year. It was her birthday. She said she never gets to see her patients after the donation is finished. It was a good surprise for her.

She gave me some t-shirts, since it was Organ Donor Appreciation Week.

Of course, I had a project to work on, my Artfully Simple Infinity Scarf. It kept my hands busy when I wasn't walking around, and with all this time on my hands, I managed to finish and block it last night:

I actually ripped it out last week during one of the first days at the hospital. I had used a larger hook to make the first chain, and I wasn't liking the look of it. I re-did it with a single crochet foundation chain to give it a slightly thicker edge, then worked the first round into the bottom of it. I worked the last round in a similar way, working a single crochet foundation chain between each pair of double crochet stitches. It worked out well.

I thought I wouldn't really be able to wear it here, since it's so light and airy, but the weather has been unseasonably warm here. I'm used to being home during the dead of winter. I packed for wintery-spring days: jeans, long-sleeved shirts, fleece pullovers. Instead, we've had a cycle of seasons each day: around freezing at night, but warm and sunny in the afternoons. I had to put the air conditioning on in the car yesterday afternoon when I took my dad out to the mall. I guess I'll get some wear out of it while I'm here after all.

I've booked a flight back to Vancouver Island on Saturday, all being well. It has been a frightening time, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about leaving. I have faith that the systems that have been put in place will help, and I feel comforted that I know more about my dad's situation now. I'm glad I came home.

In the meantime, I'm making the best of being with my family. We'll head out to the park later, if this wind ever slows down outside. And, since I finished my project, I stopped by Ram Wools Co-op this morning to find something to keep me busy until I get back to my own place:

Many thanks to those who helped us through this time. Your words and kindnesses have helped more than you know.

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