I got the dreaded call last Friday afternoon. It was my dad’s doctor. “It looks like your dad has had a massive stroke. He is unresponsive.”
Okay, I am the idiot. I was shocked. Why is that idiotic? Well, my dad is almost 93 years old and has had vascular dementia for a long time. The usual end game on vascular dementia is a massive stroke. But still I was surprised.
Anyway the doctor was really nice. He told me that they had gotten him into his bed and that he looked very peaceful. We talked about how I did not want dad to be sent to the hospital and that the doctor agreed that it was not the thing to do. We talked about calling in hospice but decided that we could wait until Monday. (Calling hospice at 4:30 on Friday afternoon seemed to be a useless activity. It could wait until Monday) The doctor did mention that it could be a TIA (transient ischemic attack), which is usually a warning sign that a massive stroke could be on its way. If it was a TIA then dad would wake up in the next 3-4 hours.
I got off the phone with the doctor, shed a few tears and started making calls. I have two brothers and two sisters. These calls are not exactly a quick process. Each sibling was surprised but agreed that we knew it would come some day. We just didn’t expect it that day.
My daughter and her boyfriend were here so we went over to see my dad. On the way into the building, we ran into the doctor. He told me that he had spent the last 1/2 hour sitting at my Dad’s bedside. He thought there was some eye movement when he said Dad’s name but that was it. He told me that dad had lasted longer than he ever thought he would and that he was “one tough old guy”.
We went up to dad’s room. The nurse stopped me on the way in and told me how sorry she was. We got to the room and my dad did really look peaceful. It was odd to see him in bed – he has been sleeping in his lazy boy chair for the last year or so but other than that, he just looked like he was sleeping.
We stayed awhile and then went home. Before I left, I took my Dad’s ring. He has worn this ring almost as long as his wedding ring. The ring is silver and has a three dimensional face on it. It was not on his finger when we got to the room. After we found it, I thought I would take it for safekeeping.
We got home and I made the round of calls again. I told everyone how peaceful he was and that the doctor had said it was a possibility that he could get restless and the he had left some medicine to cover that possibility. I even called a few other relatives just to let them know.
My daughter, her boyfriend and I ate dinner and then just sat around the table talking. At about 9 p.m., the phone rang.
He woke up. He is fine. He called three times between 10 and 10:15 p.m. looking for his ring. Just shows you that the old adage is correct.
No good deed goes unpunished.
Thanks for reading.
So grateful that you started this new blog. You have many warm and wonderful stories to tell. Thank you for the inspiration.
Thank you Lori.
It’s so hard guiding our parents through these difficulties – and I am glad this post had a happy ending. I really like your humor. What a better way to deal with everything life dishes out.
Thanks Linda. With many of the things that go on with dad, the easiest thing to do is laugh. I guess you could be incredibly sad all the time but it really wouldn’t serve any purpose. It is heartbreaking and there is no chance that it will get better. At least the things he does and says are funny – at least in my mind…..
Oh dear, I hoped you rushed over. Carol you are going thru some time right now. Sept 1 my ex, father of my two oldest children passed away. He almost died several times over the 35 years he was on dialysis and in and out of kidney transplants and even though everyone knew he wouldn’t have a normal life, it was still a terrible shock. No one can ever ever be prepared. Hold on with your brothers and sisters and children. Much strength and love to you from me.
Thank you so much for your support. I am so sorry for you loss. I know you have been having dark days lately and I hope the day is brighter today.
I know this is hard. The bright spot is that he remembered how to use a phone, he remembered you, he remembered to call you. I’ve had a few of those “I’m having a stroke” calls myself. Dad just called a meeting for this weekend to get his estate in order for when he really has one. Hang in there, Carol. It takes courage to even write about this stage of life.
Carol, I’m so glad I found this post this morning. My heart goes out to you. I “lost,” as we say, both my parents within three years of each other back in the early eighties. My dad died suddenly of a massive heart attack, so I didn’t get to say goodbye. My mother died three years later of cancer, a battle that ended in much suffering. So I’ve seen it both ways, and I can’t say which is worse. I admire your balance and your sense of humor as you deal with your dad. Say your goodbyes, and nature will take its course. I’m sure, even though he may not be able to express it, that he feels much loved. Take care of yourself, too!