Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So Far, So Good...

Why Are Emergency Room Chairs So Damned Uncomfortable?

First, Dads's OK. We Think. I'll explain below.

Second, thanks for everyone's kind words of support. I'd like to think the overwhelming outpouring of the "warm & fuzzies" from the blogosphere helped to stave off the Grinch this time.

All right, here's what went down:

Sunday evening Mom and her friend Anne were sitting around shooting the breeze, and Dad was working on one of his projects. He's head of the local neighborhood association, and also involved in the Harris County Community Emergency Response Team project, so he's usually up to his elbows in organizing the next local whoop-te-do.

Over the course of the evening, Mom & Anne noticed that Dad's responses to questions started getting sort of bizarre. He wasn't remembering events of earlier in the day, and when he started fumbling questions about recent family matters, Mom started suspecting a possible stroke and called 911.

By the time I rolled onto the scene, the ambulances were already parked outside the house, and the EMTs were doing the preliminary exam. Physically, he seemed fine, no blown pupils, no slurred speech, or trouble with coordination, but he wasn't able to answer a lot of questions about recent events or family members.

One of the ambulances took off back to their station, and the other loaded up Dad for transport. Mom & Anne went ahead in a car to the hospital, and I hung back to lock up the house and make some phone calls. Oh, and write a blogpost... that was my "take a minute and just breathe" moment just to keep my head from asploding.

OK, the hospital. Word of the day was "confusion". The ER resident didn't think it was a stroke. On a 56-point stroke diagnosis scale where 56 means "you're f#cked", Dad was only rating a 1 or a 2. Might have been a lot of things, maybe a transient ischemic attack, maybe an infection, maybe an electrolyte impalance, he couldn't say for certain, except that Dad was exhibiting confusion. At any rate, the doc didn't feel that an injection of the blood clot-dissolving TPA was warranted.

Dad's answers to questions started getting a little better as the hours wore on. They pulled blood, tested urine, poked, prodded, and generally hooked up every machine available, including the one that goes 'PING!'. They got a CAT scan pretty quickly, but couldn't get an MRI done that night.

The CAT scan didn't show anything out of the ordinary, and it was starting to get into the wee hours of the morning. Dad managed to roll over on the ER gurney/bed gizmo and get some shuteye, in spite of all the wires attached. Every so often, the staff would come in for another test and wake him up. Dad loves his sleep, and was starting to get annoyed with the whole experience.

Mom was starting to get annoyed as well. Every time she asked Dad "How are you feeling?", he'd reply "With my fingers, how else." Dad's coping mechanism with uncomfortable situations is humor, and I was sort of PO'ed at how difficult it was to get a straight answer out of him. I was pretty sure he'd be OK when his reply to "what are your brother's names" was "AlToBoBill". It's an old family joke. When Grandma couldn't remember which son she wanted, Al, Tom, Bob or Bill, she'd yell "AlToBoBil" and take her pick from whoever showed up. I figured if he could remember that old joke, he was probably going to be all right.

They admitted him to a room, and Mom wanted to stay with him, so I left to try and get some sleep. Ha. As if...

So, more tests this week to try and nail down what's going on. Basically, Dad's healthy. He stays pretty active, & doesn't smoke or drink. His blood pressure is pretty normal, given his age & spare tire, and the only meds he's on regularly is a cholesterol-lowering drug and something for sinuses. There is a family history of Alzheimer's, so that's weighing heavily on my mind, but in all other regards he's doing OK.

More news as it happens. I thank you again for your support!