Thursday evening, I bit the dust at about 8 p.m. Tom did not get to bed until about 11, having to pack both cars and take care of the most crucial parts of leaving the cabin for an undetermined length of time. (We do have friends coming in to take care of a few things too, for which we are very grateful!) We were planning to get up at 5 a.m. and leave by 6. I was awake at 3:15 and could not get back to sleep. I decided to tackle the 2 days of email I had not looked at. In doing so, I found out that my sister's mother-in-law, a woman I very much liked and respected, had passed away. They had just very recently discovered she had cancer but she had declined very quickly. That news broke through a "dam of emotions" that had been carefully built up on and off over the last 6 years and I cried and cried. I'm grateful b/c later then, I was able to focus better on accomplishing what needed to be done.
We awoke at 5, got the 3 dogs and 4 children in the 2 cars and left the cabin at 6:07...not bad, really. We had dark, dark clouds and rain on and off all the way to Utica. I was dreading driving all day in heavy rain.
We had arranged for an early discharge and were hoping it would only take 15 minutes or so, but hospitals seem to have their own pace and fast would not describe it. So we sent Karla and the kids to the cafeteria while we signed papers, got instructions and waited. The staff were very kind,doing their best to help which eased the pain of the waiting a little bit.
Getting Dan into the car in a comfortable position was a huge challenge. There were 3 folks helping Tom and they were pretty efficient at getting him from the wheel chair into the car, but situating him was the hard part. His back hurt in any position and Tom thought he was most comfortable reclined fairly far back. We positioned him with several pillows and then Tom left to gather his family and meet me at the front of the hospital. But by the time I had exited the parking garage, Dan had slide down some and his R shin was pressed into the dashboard.. Tom repositioned him, trying to pad his leg from the bottom of the dash and we continued. The storm looked like it was worsening and Dan was clearly not comfortable. 20 minutes down the road, just as it began to rain like it meant it, we had to pull of the Thruway and try again. Each re-poisitoning required pulling Dan up from behind and moving several pillows and blankets, trying to make him comfortable. By now I realized that he needed to sit up. His pain meds were beginning to take the edge off and we were able to get him reasonably comfortable with less chance of his sliding forward. Even though he could move his L leg, it was very weak and he was unable to really adjust his position at all on his own.
From that point on, he mostly dozed. That was not surprising....that is his normal state during car travel which is why I do most of the driving. I was relieved, though, that he was able to yesterday. My oldest granddaughter, Morgan, was in the back seat with Cocoa. She rode with me to help if PopPop needed something, and she was our phone operator for communicating with her Dad. I was very glad to have her with me.
The traffic was very heavy but thankfully the dark clouds were more threat than storm and eventually.....around 10:30 a.m. or so, they broke up and the day was quite lovely. I was VERY relieved to not have to deal with poor visibility or standing water on the roads!
The traffic seemed to let up a tiny bit after about 3 p.m. and just south of Columbus, we met up with Megan who was coming to see her Dad. At one of the Wilmington exits, we stopped and Morgan and Cocoa went in Tom's car. They headed off to their campground where they have a camper and Meg and I continued on to the hospital. We arrived safely at West 'Chester Hospital at 6:15 p.m.
It took 3 people to move Dan from the car to the wheelchair but I think they did it pretty well without too much discomfort for him. Once again, the "direct admission" seemed less than "direct" but we got it accomplished. Since the wheels of admission which includes getting orders from the doctor, takes time and Dan was due for pain meds, I gave him a dose just before he was officially admitted. He has some trouble eating but seemed able to take one pill at a time and managed to drink a milk shake on his own.
While they were still situating Dan, Megan ran out to get us dinner at Panera and we ate at the hospital, while answering the multitude of questions.
I was utterly spent by 9 p.m. and left to go home to try to sleep. Megan stayed the night in Dan's room. We were afraid he could not manage the call button and wanted someone to be there in case he needed anything.
During admission, the nurse was very "clear" that the doctor would be there at 7:30 a.m. the next morning to speak with me. Without it being explicitly said, it was obvious to Megan and me, and probably to Dan, that the talk would be about "end of life" issues. Please pray for us especially about this.
Friends and family both in NY and OH have been so incredibly gracious and helpful. We will never be able to adequately thank you for all you are doing.
Sleep has not been kind to me tonight, but I"m going to try to get an hour or so more before I need to return to the hospital this morning. Jodee