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My Dad

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Old 12-20-2016, 02:56 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2016
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My Dad

On 12/8/16, my dad went into surgery for a benign lung tumor. The surgery went fine and he went into recovery for a few days. A few days after, he apparently started acting erratically and fell when he got up to go to the bathroom. In checking him over, they noticed his heart beat had a weird rhythm, so they moved him to the cardiac care unit where he continued to act erratically (he thought the nurses were planning to kill him and do experiments on him, so he wouldn't take his medicines and he started calling every one of his friends to come rescue him). He started taking off his oxygen mask and got so agitated his lung started to collapse so they intubated him and put him on a ventilator. The next morning they called (I'm in another state) to get consent to go in and remove whatever was blocking the lung. They did it and his lung came back, but when they tried waking him up he wouldn't. They took him for a CT scan and MRI and found he had had an embolic stroke caused by atrial fibrillation. The doctor described it as a shower of little clots all over his brain, but a medium sized one in his right frontal lobe.

They were finally able to remove his tube and ventilator and try waking him up again. He "wakes up" but is VERY sleepy, doesn't really follow commands (he may do it every once in a while), and doesn't really recognize people. His entire left side is weak and isn't really even working. Today (two days after diagnosis) the nurse says he seems more alert and will follow her across the room, but he's still not consistently following commands. The neurologist came back and said that he actually thought his left leg would regain about 70% functionality if he went to physical therapy. However, for that to happen, his "systems" so to speak, have to get back online. The doctors in the ICU aren't exactly hopeful.

I'm not really even sure what I'm asking, but I"m so full of fears and overwhelmed by what lies ahead. I am going down in a week to take care of all his affairs and spend some time with him. I'm scared because I worry that he is cognizant at some level and his worst fear in the world--to be incapacitated to this level--is being realized and he is aware of it. I'm worried for his physical health--that he'll have another stroke. Selfishly, I'm worried for my own well-being and the stresses that this adds on to an already stressful year (My dad was diagnosed with colon cancer in January and the entire year was helping him with chemotherapy). I would just like to get opinions on what hope there is, what questions should be asking, what I should be doing to help him. Thank you!

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Old 12-21-2016, 06:22 AM   #2
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Re: My Dad

I am really sorry you are going through all this and at a terrible time of the year.
Unfortuately, none of us are doctors, and not knowing what his pulmonary or surgeons are saying- its hard to know what is next...did you dad have a living will? Have you ever talked to him about what he wants?

if his disease process is going to continue to deteriorate, he may be eligible for hospice. Hospice needs to be met by Medicare part A requirements. A life limiting illness of 6 months or less with no aggressive treatment- no more chemo or anything to try to "fix" his issues...its all about comfort care- not healing. This may be one path for you, but you would need to talk to the doctors to see if he meets the criteria and if they think a hospice consult is possible.

The other thing to find out is will he qualify for rehab? Putting him in a nursing home for rehabilitation for a few months will help both of you, as he will have 24 hour care as well as an opportunity to see if he can get stronger.

Lastly, you can sign a DNR. A do not resuscitate order. This way, if anything happens again, they will not Vent him or take him back to surgery, but let nature take its course. This is only possible if you are the responsible party or his power of attorney. If he does not have a POA (power of attorney) you and the rest of the family need to designate one asap...there are decisions coming which none of you can legally make unless this is in writing.

Just some suggestions of things to ask about...I hope things turn around for him soon.
RRMS- dx 05

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