Saturday, June 30, 2012

Adjusting to a new normal

We're sitting in the familiar waiting room right now. There's a panoramic view of the Roanoke Valley. You can see everything from the Blue Ridge Mountains to downtown Roanoke and it's incredibly peaceful. The mountains bring comfort to me. 

The above picture is of my daddy, my grandma, and my nephew Christopher from about 2009. I love my Daddy's smile in this pic. This pic of my Dad is currently my profile picture on facebook. Right now he's in critical condition at a hospital in Roanoke, Va. He had a severe heart attack on Wednesday 6/27/12 and it's been a rocky ride since. 

My daddy has congestive heart failure and he had another heart attack when I was in high school. Heart disease runs in our family and he's the primary reason I try very hard to eat a healthy diet that works for my personal body type. I try to be a good example to him and I try hard to encourage him to take good care of himself. But sometimes, especially when the hereditary cards are against you, even with the very best efforts, medical emergencies happen. 

On Wednesday the hosital team worked head to clear the blockage from his heart and encourage it to pump and work properly. However, his heart was so weakened by that attack that they didn't realize how critical his condition was. Slowly his organs began to fail and emergency surgeries took place to attempt to stabilize his heart and his organs. Thursday was an extremely critical day and the doctors and nurses honestly didn't believe he was going to make it through the night, despite the emergency measures taken to save him. 

But miracles do happen. They may not "appear" to be as miraculous as you'd see in a movie or on tv... but thank GOD for small miracles.  My Daddy made it through Thursday night. He's had 2 (I think) surgeries now and he's currently attached to some type of mechanical heart device that works as the lower two ventricles for his heart. He's also attached to a breathing machine, so he is intubated, a dialysis machine, and of course has numberous other IV's over his arms, legs, and hands. His life right now is very much a miracle of modern emergency medical devices and a whole lotta faith. 

The small miracles of today are the fact that his skin color is so much better than it was earlier in the week. I barely recognized him when I saw him on Thursday evening, but today his face looked like the Daddy that's always been there for me. He also had just a slight amount of urine in his catheter bag today, which means his kidneys are beginning to function, even if ever so slightly. The nurses also detected the very slight sounds of movement in his bowels, so they decided to try feeding him with a nasogastric tube instead of intravenously. My aunt told me it would be very good progress if they could feed him through his stomach instead of through his veins, so this latest development is great news and I'm praying his body will accept nourishment this way. 

It's been an emotional roller coaster. The incredible downs of awaiting possible imminent death in the early, early hours of Thursday morning. The frustration of not knowing.... the quiet solitude of simply waiting with the unknown. The careful joy of realizing he made it through Thursday night, but was being wheeled into surgery on Friday morning. The guarded hope of doctors and nurses who give us scientific and factual updates, but contain any thoughts on the future of his condition.  Life has thrown me a lot of unknowns in the past month and I'm learning to accept this as the current norm. And that uncertainly is okay. 

Living in the moment, from hour to hour, from day to day is the new normal. And honestly, it's a good thing. We can so often focus on the future. On when life will be better when "this happens" or "that happens", or when we make more money, or when we have more vacation time saved up... I'm incredibly guilty of this having this frame of mind... but right now, I'm thankful for the day. I'm thankful for seeing the rosy complexion in my Dad's cheeks. I'm thankful for seeing him move his legs or arms when we speak to him for only a few moments every day. 

Of course it's easy to rest and feel a bit more comfortable when things aren't changing. It's the calm eye in the midst of the storm... and right at this moment, I'm extremely thankful for it. 

Pin It!