I’ve been on the road far too much over the past week. Not a nice peaceful road like the one above, but the freeway, which neither me nor my car are built for driving on.
It all started Wednesday night when I got a call from my dad’s girlfriend that he was in the hospital. They thought it was a slight case of pneumonia. Then they discovered he had a bowel obstruction and that his abdomen was filled with fluid. While they were doing x-rays to check that out, they discovered he has an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Then they thought he was having a heart attack and transferred him to the hospital in Bellingham, which is 70-some miles from my house. It’s a long trek anyway, but with the road construction they’re doing on I-5, it can take a good two to two and half hours to get there. To say that it’s stressful to be stuck in traffic while a loved one is at the hospital with an ever-increasing list of problems would be a huge understatement.
I drove to Sedro Woolley on Friday and Bellingham on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. Monday I had to buy groceries, clean up the worst of the messes in the house (it all falls in to filth and chaos so quickly when I’m not hear to keep up with my messy animals and teenagers) and take Daniel to his one and half hour dentist appointment.
With my chronic fatigue, this would be hard on me in the best of circumstances. Driving wears me out quicker than just about anything else and I get achy and exhausted if I don’t have days that I don’t have to go anywhere in between days that I do have to leave the house. But, to top all this off, I felt sick enough to go into the walk-in clinic on Friday morning and discovered that I have acute sinusitis and the beginning of an ear infection.
Sunday afternoon, things weren’t looking good for my dad. His blood pressure was too high, he had fluid around his heart, fluid in his abdomen which was putting pressure on everything else, the bowel obstruction and the aneurysm lurking below it all. He was so weak and groggy that I was afraid he wasn’t strong enough to come back from all these things. I left the hospital in tears.
Thankfully, things began to turn around on Monday and, while I was there yesterday morning, they unhooked him from some of the tubes and declared he was well enough to be moved out of ICU, if a bed were to become available. Sadly, the hospital is completely full.
It seems like Dad is recovering from whatever it was that caused this cascade of problems but there’s still the aneurysm to deal with. They plan to send him home and have him follow up with a vascular surgeon, who strongly suggests having the aneurysm repaired within one month. They estimate that there’s a 30% chance of it rupturing. If it were me, I would want it repaired ASAP. My dad tends to be a put-it-off, wait-and-see kind of guy. This combination is bound to make for some anxiety over the next month.
Today I want to go see my dad but I just can’t face three hours on the freeway, flying over the bumpy cement sections at 70 mph in my too-small car with road noise assaulting my plugged-up ears and giant semis and tanker trucks looming over my car while continually wandering into my lane. Yesterday I was nearly run off the road by an Angry Orchard truck. I have a series of muscle knots seizing up in my right arm, shoulder and neck from all the tense hours of driving.
Yesterday afternoon, when I hoped to be taking a nap, Scooby tried to cheer me up by releasing a live rat in my bedroom. Trouble killed it and dropped it on the bed next to my pillow. So instead of taking a nice, long nap, I ended up washing all of my bedding. I can’t help but wonder how the feline brothers will “help” today!