Monday, August 06, 2007

Eight Days

It's been eight days since Dad's stroke. Wish I could report significant improvement, but nothing much has changed since yesterday. Dad is opening his eyes a bit more than he did yesterday... but there's no indication that he's actually seeing anything, so I'm not sure that's helpful. Dad continues to verbalize, sometimes more sometimes less--but the words and phrases he speaks still aren't responses to questions or commands. And he still doesn't respond to requests for action (squeeze my hand, raise your arm, wiggle your toes, etc.).

I think the fatigue is starting to catch up with me. I actually had trouble keeping my eyes open while I was walking this afternoon--and when you're nearly dozing off on a two-miles walk in 90 degree heat, I think it's a sign that you're weary. I haven't slept well since this began; one or two nights I slept for five or six hours, but three or four hours is more the norm, between the time I stare into the darkness worrying about Dad and the time I wake up in the pre-dawn hours to worry about Dad some more. At least I'm remarkably single-minded...

The drive to Rome has become a bit of an obstacle course, thanks to construction on I-75. There's only been one day in the past eight that I've made a round trip with no problems in either direction; generally there's a backup due to construction-related accidents that affects either southbound or northbound traffic (necessitating a circuitous route through backroads... and if you know Cobb and Cherokee Counties, you know that backroads are never direct, and rarely take you in the direction you want to go without winding in the wrong direction for at least 25% of the time). That probably contributes to the fatigue; when you're spending about three hours on the road in addition to the time at the hospital, it really adds up.

And the hospital itself is an exercise in clinical frustration, no matter how good it is. The nurses in the neurological ward are remarkable, and they try to help as much as they can--but many of the questions we have must be answered by doctors, and it seems that doctors check on patients at hours when they suspect that no one will be there to ask them questions. Today, Kim and I were at the hospital, alone or in tandem, from about 10 a.m. until about 5 p.m., and neither of us ever saw a doctor or a physical therapist. Tests are run, but it's difficult for us to get detailed information about what the tests revealed, since we're not able to see the doctors.

I remarked on Friday that I really felt that we needed to get all the doctors together at one time to get a comprehensive view of what's happening with Dad. Since then, I haven't seen any of Dad's doctors, which is every bit as frustrating as you might imagine.

Tomorrow is my busiest day, since we have to pick up books in my van--and that means that we have to drive almost 100 miles (round trip) to the south side of Atlanta where the FedEx Freight warehouse is located before I can make the 100+ mile round trip to Rome to see how Dad's doing.

Every minute I'm not in Rome with Dad, I feel guilty...

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