stress

Where I’ve Been

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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!

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30 thoughts on “Where I’ve Been

  1. I noticed you weren’t around all weekend and I was hoping it was for good reasons, but I’m sorry that’s not the case. That aortic aneurysm is nothing to mess with… it definitely needs to be repaired ASAP! That’s what killed my Granny, and there was no warning…. just boom and that was it. Don’t let your dad put it off and wait and see!

    1. I’m sorry you lost your granny to an aneurysm. It’s so scary how something like that can happen without any warning. I lost my grandma suddenly to a heart attack. It’s such a shock.

      The latest news is that the surgeon can fit my dad in tomorrow, unless the fluid around his heart becomes too much of an issue. He argued with his girlfriend, insisting he wanted to wait but was agreeable to getting it over with tomorrow when I talked to him a little while later. Maybe the 30% chance of dying before the surgery thing finally sunk in.

  2. Sorry you’ve had to deal with all of this. I did notice that you haven’t been around much lately. Take care of yourself and get some rest. (Without rats I hope!)

    1. I did get some rat-free rest this afternoon! Even so, I have to wonder how long it will take me to recover. As you know all too well, fibro makes everything so much harder and payback for doing things can be so severe.

  3. I hope your dad will recover well, as my uncle was a few times in the ICU with his health issues too, I know what you going through. When our loved ones get health issues, it’s so sad, and strength is needed to be a help…. I hope your dads recovery continues.

  4. I’m sorry to hear about your day and hope he will soon recover. The driving to and fro from the hospital must be tiring and stressful as well. I hope that you won’t have to do it for much longer or that some kind friend or relative will give you a break and do the driving for you. Scooby and Trouble were less than helpful but that’s boys for you isn’t it? I’m sure Trouble thought he was helping. “Look mum, I fixed it. That rat won’t disturb you now.”

    1. Lol! You’re so right about that being boys! Looking back on the situation, I’m glad Trouble stepped in to help. I have no idea how I would have caught a live rat!

  5. Gosh, Trisha, you have my deepest sympathy. Having been through much of what you’ve just experienced (me with the bowel obstruction in 2014 and my 88yr old Mother with an aortic aneurysm in 2012), I can feel your pain and anxiety. Having FM and other health issues yourself does not help.

    Both the bowel obstruction & the aneurysm are life-threatening and please keep up the insistence that your Dad has that aneurysm repaired urgently. (It was too late for my Mother). Luckily my bowel obstruction passed within the 5 days in hospital and I didn’t need surgery. Some 38% of people with a bowel obstruction die, but I only found that out after the incident. Thank goodness I didn’t know it at the time. (I must admit now I’m a little paranoid if I don’t have a regular bowel every day now). A gastroscopy and colonoscopy last year revealed some of what might have caused the problem, but I have to say I am vigilant with my digestive/colon health now more than ever.

    Hopefully the fact that your Dad is in hospital and having all this attended to with the best medical care will reassure you.

    I was only thinking of you yesterday and wondering if I had a wordpress glitch and got UN-followed or something.

    As to the rat? Ughhhhhhhhh.

    You’re doing a stellar job coping with all this and you deserve star billing! Give yourself a pat on the back and (again?) explain to your family that you need their help for a few days while you rest and recover from the stress.

    Try and get a little rest and ‘me’ time. Hopefully your Dad will have a rapid recovery once the aneurysm is repaired and can put it all behind him.

    1. I had no idea that a bowel obstruction could be so deadly! Like you, I’m glad I didn’t know until the situation resolved. I’m sorry you had to go through that. I saw how horribly sick it made my dad. I’m also sorry to hear about your mom. I think my dad’s other health problems are a blessing really, because we wouldn’t have known about my dad’s aneurysm until it was too late otherwise. I think the danger of it has finally sunk in because he sounds like he’s ready to have the surgery.

      Thank you for encouraging me to rest and take some me time. I don’t feel so guilty for spending most of the day on the couch. 😀

      1. To be honest, the bowel obstruction didn’t make me so ill, just a blown up stomach and two ambulance trips (as the 1st hospital E.R. Dr couldn’t work out what was wrong and sent me home after the 1st admission). 4 days later, with no symptom resolution, I called the 2nd ambulance and insisted on further investigations at the local hospital. Yes, my Mother passed away in the early hours after the aneurysm burst. She was too fragile for emergency surgery at 88.
        With chronic ill health and pain, never feel guilty for taking a rest, especially with a demanding family & household. I’m lucky in any severe situation as I’m single and can usually call an ambulance to a nearby hospital in an emergency. I couldn’t cope with these bad pain/stress/ill health if I had a family to care for.

  6. I’d been missing your posts and thought maybe the fatigue etc. had caught up with you to the point you just needed a break. How awful to have to deal with all that on top of feeling poorly. The rat must have felt like the last straw.

    I normally enjoy the drive to Bellingham, but only if I can choose when to go to avoid the worst of traffic. When it’s all backed up it can be miserable for a long way. Add in the stress of a sick loved one and I can imagine how terrible it’s been. And I know what you mean about a low car. Many years ago I was stuck driving an old Hyundai that felt like I was in a go cart on the freeway.

    I hope your dad gets the surgery soon and has a speedy recovery.

    1. The drive to Bellingham is rather nice during low-traffic times. I enjoyed my early morning drive up there yesterday. And good thing because I’ll be doing it again tomorrow morning. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful place! I do enjoy the scenery.

  7. that is a lot to contend with. I hope your Dad gets his surgery quickly and makes a smooth recovery. hey cats! it was a nice thought but humans don’t care for rats being dropped on them when they are trying to sleep. ❤

  8. One of my hubby’s coworkers had to have surgery for an aortic aneurysm. I hope your dad gets that taken care of soon, for everyone’s peace of mind, and that all goes well. I know how hard that must be on you, physically, and emotionally. No wonder your pets were trying to help with gifts! Hugs!

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