Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dad Comes Home

We hope the right of way looks like this sometime. Photo Source: Finger Farms

We arrived at the hospital about 08:20 to find Dad in good spirits, if a little grumpy from being awake all night. He couldn’t sleep last night because he had slept all day the previous day. No big surprise there. He doesn’t like to take drugs for pain or sleep because they can affect him the same way LSD does the general population. Just before the commissary closed, we headed down for another American breakfast, leaving Dad in the capable hands of the nurse who wanted to give him a bath while waiting for The Doctor to come by and authorise his release.

Just before noon, all the paperwork was done, and we thought we were on our way home. But Dad had to pee and couldn’t. Apparently, when we stood up, a blood clot dislodged and blocked the urethra. We spent another few hours, reflushing his system and napping, while he endured another mummy looking hospital lunch. When he was finally ready to go, we met the nutritionist on the way down. She thought we were being sarcastic when we told her how good the food was. I guess she’s used to complaints; nobody really likes the food when they don’t get much say in what it is, especially if it’s good for them and they’re used to an American diet.

We got Dad home about 15:50. He went to take a nap while Chris and I went to get his prescriptions filled. We found that the well had been “shut in.” That’s oil field talk for “shut down” either remotely or automatically. We drove by the new plant on the way into town and found it crawling with welding trucks, while workers in coveralls crowded around a large vessel. The burn-off flare was huge, meaning a lot of natural gas would not be sold.

When got back to Da Farm, each chilled in our respective busses (just like rock stars) until the temperatures dropped below the melting point of aluminium. During that time, I removed the old square TV from Ursula’s console and stored it in her belly. I also “fixed” the power adapter I broke installing the TexTag. It now looks right, but it still doesn’t have any power. I cleaned up a little and read.

That evening, Chris watered the Jiggs again while Dad and I inspected the pod. I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture of the ingenious rig Chris built for watering. He mounted a 200 gallon tank to the back of Dad’s new (a couple of years ago) John Deer tractor. A gasoline pump pushes the water through a three-inch PVC pipe with regularly spaced holes. It takes about an hour to fill the tank but only a few minutes to empty it.

Dad went to bed at his usual time (20:30). Chris and I headed to Dairy Queen to feast on nachos before bed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Day Waiting in the Hospital

Citizens as it looked when I was born. It’s more modern now, and it takes up more than a block.Photo source:
I know I haven’t been keeping this blog up. But here’s the setup: Dad needed minor surgery, and I made the trip to wait with him. I had parked the RV there on a previous trip, so all I had to do was get there. This is the day of the surgery.

Early morning this! Dad needed to be at Citizens Hospital—it has now self-promoted to a Medical Center—around 07:30, so we had to be off about an hour earlier. That isn’t difficult for early risers like Chris and Dad, but for us former alleged musician types, it’s closer to the time we’d rather head for bed than the time we’re programmed to arise—no matter how much reconditioning we’ve done in the years since. We piled into the Black Dodge, and Chris was kind enough to stop for coffee before we got out of Yorktown.

We made it to the hospital and got dad checked into his waiting room. (His procedure would normally be day surgery, but The Doctor wanted to keep him overnight because of the remonteness of Da Farm. But nobody had told the hospital that. Or nobody who mattered.) And there we waited—Dad formost, but also Chris, my brother Jim, his wife Waynette, and me.




09:06—They came to take Dad away. We walked him to surgery. We were told the procedure would take a little less than an hour, and recovery would take another hour. Then we could find Dad in his Day surgery room. (Remember the bit about nobody telling the hospital about The Doctor wanting to keep Dad overnight?) So we went to breakfast, barely making it to the commissary before the gates (literal gates) were closed at 09:30.

For those of you unfamiliar with Victoria (and who really is?), the commissary at Citizens hospital is something else. Many locals make it an dining destination. So much for the myth of bad hospital food! We all had hearty American breakfasts filled with too much bacon and too many carbs. We ate like that one meal would have to hold us all day even though we didn’t yet know the truth of that.

10:15—We went back up to Surgery to wait for a status update.

10:25—The Doctor told us everything went well and he had taken “random biopsies” to check for any tumerous recurrances. We would just have to wait for Monday (if the stars align in a way that rearranges the fabric of space-time but doesn’t open a portal for the return of the Old Ones, and everything else goes well) or later (more likely) to know what the next steps in Dad’s treatment plan will be.

Citizens has an aquarium filled with really interesting fish like this neon blue thing. The aquarium is in the waiting area near my favorite napping spot.

11:15—We started asking where they will take Dad so we can be there. “The day surgery room where they got him from.”

“But,” we explained again, “The Doctor wants to keep him overnight.” Of course, nobody the people in surgery were aware of that. They directed us to Admitting. Admitting doesn’t know about post surgical room assignments. “That’s all handled by the Surgical nurse.” This time we asked a different Surgical Staffer, who verified that post surgical room assignments were indeed handled by Sugical Staff when the patient is ready to leave Recovery. A few minutes later, she tells us, “He'll be in 638. They’ll be bringing him out in a few minutes, and you can follow him up there.”

This little fella is waiting at the farm supply for someone to take him home. My friends tell me his name is Buford, and kids love to ride him and practice roping.

11:55—True to her word, a few minutes later, we saw Dad wheeling by and start to follow. But the elevator ws full. No worries; we kew the room number. We caught the next ride up to the sixth floor and begin looking for him. Unfortunately, there is no room 638. We all confirmed that we had all heard the same number. Then we found him in 628. He was still on another plane, phasing in and out of our reality, so we each told him we love him and we’ll let him sleep it off in peace. Then we drove off to buy fertilizer.

13:30—We found Dad still sound asleep and went downstairs to wait and inadvertantly nap.

15:00—We returned to find Dad somewhat awake. We spent the next few hours watching him gradually shake off the anesthesia and rejoin our world. We joked and told old stories and picked at each other mercilessly—you know: the kind of things families do to pretend they are not having the shit stressed out of them.

18:45—They brought Dad dinner. We made a show out of telling him what there was and getting the nutritionist to “sell him the menu” instead of just saying, “here’s food.” If you offer Dad something to eat, he’ll invariably say, “No, I’m not hungry right now.” But if you tell him what it is, he’ll realize he likes whatever is being served and start to take interest.

After getting him to eat a little of his dinner, we could that he was starting to get tired. We bid him a fond adeiu (or is it a bon fondu?) and headed off to eat too much at a new Chineese buffet. Our old favorite Chineese buffet is now a Mexican buffet—still run by the same Chineese staff. Imagine that.

20:15—We made it to the farm. Chris spread the fertilizer he bought earlier and put 400 gallons of water on the Jiggs he is sprigging over the pipeline right of way. Jim and Waynette went to bed in Dad’s trailer. Chris and I stayed up talking about nothing in particular until way too late.