When I left the hospital yesterday, specialists were inserting the feeding (Panda) tube into Pop’s nose. I assumed they’d be successful, and that the nutrition and medication would start last evening. Well, he turned out to be a tough assignment, so they put him in the hands of an expert this morning to accomplish the task. The feeding hadn’t yet begun when Lisa and I arrived early this afternoon, so we’re a day behind schedule.
I learned a few more things today which I’m trying to comprehend. Pop has C.diff. C.diff caused diarrhea. Diarrhea caused dehydration. Dehydration (along with elevated sodium levels) is a primary contributor to loss of brain function. Before he arrived at the hospital last Tuesday, Pop was deficient about six liters (6.3 quarts) on his normal body fluids. Pop’s sodium level is still up. When it comes back down, and when he is adequately hydrated, he might regain his normal brain function once again. And if he does, he will be compelled to drink WAY more water than he has been. Problem: he hates water.
In any event, when Pop is released from the hospital (if he is), it will be to a Skilled Nursing Care (SNC) bed where a more critical level of care is available. Why SNC? Because this cycle will happen again. As I’ve said before, C.diff will always be present in Pop’s body. It will rear its ugly head again, as it has in cycles of six-to-eight weeks since last Thanksgiving.
How’s Mom doing in all of this? I’m going to ask Lisa to contribute her thoughts to that question.
Hi, Lisa here.
After Fred and I left the hospital, we went straight to Piedmont Place to see his Mom. The staff noticed that we were coming toward the nursing station and their faces conveyed concern. We stopped, and Fred gave them a “Reader’s Digest” version of what was happening with Pop. The head nurse then said, “he’s not bouncing back this time, is he?” After hugs all around, we went in to see Mom.
She was sitting in her recliner, feet up, listening to a CD filled with hymns that a friend had made for her. She told us that she’d listened to it for hours at a time and, along with “staying in the Word,” she was finding some peace. We sat quietly for a bit and she said, “I’m praying for comfort for him this time, not for healing.” It sounded odd coming from her; this woman of great faith, who believed in God’s healing power throughout her close, decades-long relationship with Him.
Fred asked how she was doing and she replied, “I have a heavy heart.” She almost seemed to feel guilty about it, like if she’d had more faith, she wouldn’t have a heavy heart. We talked about the fact that this was normal; that she was going through something she had never gone through before, or would again; that even Jesus had a heavy heart. She recalled scriptures she’d read that said “He wept.” We sat again in silence for a while. “I’m sorry I’m not saying much today,” she said. “Sometimes it’s not talking time,” I replied. “Sometimes it’s just ‘sitting quietly together’ time.”
As we sat there, both with Pop at the hospital and then with Mom at PP, I couldn’t help thinking about what it must be like to lose someone you’ve been with for 59 years. Not having that person there when you wake up in the morning. Not having them there to quibble or fight with. Not sharing the daily routines that were part of your lives. There is security in the known.
Mom and Pop have had some sweet moments these last months. She has enjoyed telling us about them and, I believe, they will come to her remembrance just when she needs them most.