Tuesday, 4 January 2022

To Family and Good Health


What's the stereotype for a "Happy New Year"?

New Year, New me? A set of goals to reach? A new diet? Money saving? Better eating? Although I set the odd challenge I tend to stick with "Spend time with my family and good health for all".

We didn't start the New Year like this. Just as we didn't start last year the same way.

2021 didn't start off with "Family and good health" where my father ended up having a severe stroke at the age of 80. It was just another thing for him to fight but the year left him physically fighting a body that was paralysed down his right side and the other half failing him due to old age and dementia. The year just left him needing significant personal care.

So, I’m sure you can imagine, I was hoping for “Family and Good health” this year but 2022 had different plans and started off a bit rubbish before we even got to it. 

On the 22nd of December we were contacted by Dad's Care Home to say that he had contracted Covid. Which, for us, was ironic as we had Covid the fortnight before and that day was when we were clear for contact again.

The Care Home itself went into a 28 day shutdown where dad was one of multiple people who had been diagnosed positive.

We hated not seeing him on the 24th as planned but understood what needed to happen for both his and others well-being.

On the 28th we were then contacted by the home again to say that he had started to become ill. Dad also started being sick (a common symptom) and his breathing wasn't great. They informed me that he was being monitored, they were also seeking a doctor to get antibiotics and they would let me know if anything changed.

It didn’t seem that it was going to well.

Then we got to the New Year.

On the 1st of January we got the call to say that they were concerned about his health, particularly his breathing and wanted to send him to the hospital.

Following that the next 24 hours went a little crazy.

Due to the New Year, the season and the current set up due to covid regulations the communication with the hospital was non-existent.

I managed to contact A&E to be told that he was admitted to the "Hot area" where all Emergencies with covid would be sent. To which they were awaiting an X-ray of his chest before they could tell us any more. Being around 9pm I left it until the next day.

The following morning, on the 2nd, I was ringing for around 4 hours to get through but there was still no answer. However by the late afternoon we finally managed to get some contact only to find that he was being moved from A&E to one ward but that ward was keen to move him to another. So with him being pushed between wards I was asked to contact today (it's Monday 3rd whilst I write this) to find out how he is. All they could tell me was that he's stable but not in a good condition.

So we are now on the 3rd of January and the morning had started with a concern. I woke up to  find a voice mail message on my phone from the hospital to call them back regarding Dad.

When we spoke to the nurse we got the update that we didn't want but had expected. Despite his Covid status we were allowed to go in a see him. His health had deteriorated to a point and we could see him, as needed. He wasn't in a great condition but we could potentially spend some time with him.

So I went.

On reaching the hospital he was fighting for every breath. The doctor entered to discuss his progress and prognosis.

Sadly, my father's Covid status had progressed to pneumonia and he was struggling to breathe. In addition, his kidneys were starting to shut down and he had Sepsis. By the time we got there he had sadly lost consciousness. So we didn't really get to do much than just sit with him. They wanted to keep him on antibiotics for a bit longer but the most likely outcome is to take him off the following day.

However, as I write this, I am back at the hospital and sat by his side. Whilst my brother and I watch his final breaths. It didn't take long. Only a couple of hours at home and we were contacted to say he had already deteriorated and we should really come back and spend some time with him.

And 4 hours later, at 20:00 and he was gone.

All the years with my dad and the man he's evolved in to and I find it hard to be there.

After his stroke he physically didn't recover and needed significant care. He was just a man in a bed. His Dementia and Alzheimer left the man we knew to be a small fragment of himself unable to even recognise the woman he was married to for 50 years.

So I struggle to see the man I knew but I'm still mourning the person he was. He was just holding on and struggling to breathe whilst we're waiting for him to pass and then he wasn't.

Health and family is definitely something we wish for everyone but something we don’t expect not to happen; especially so close to us wishing it for the year.

I am grateful that I have my family and they are in good health. To which I pray that their good health continues. But, for now, family and good health hasn't kick started the year the way we expected.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry Martyn. Sending love and hugs to your family. x