He's gone. He passed away yesterday around noon.
About two weeks ago, Dad umpired a baseball game. He called a timeout after the third batter. His face was white, he was covered in sweat and he said he was dizzy. The other umpire said, "Pete, I'm calling the paramedics." Dad insisted that he not and said he just needed to lay down for a minute. He then slept through an entire game in a dugout. The other umpire never called for help despite "reading about this stuff all the time." His wife is a medical transcriptionist, and he proofreads her work.
That heart attack lead to a clot developing in Dad's left ventricle. A sizable one apparently. Late Tuesday night, Mom went to bed. Dad was on his way to joining her, turning out lights, locking doors and about to shut down the computer, when part of that clot left his heart, broke into little pieces and entered his brain where it had the same effect as if a shotgun peppered his head from the inside. He became unconscious immediately and Mom, responding to the crash, found him face down on the tile floor, struggling to breathe.
It's been a week. He's still in ICU on a ventilator. He's had MRIs that show numerous small strokes, a "shower," and damage to the thalmus, cerebellum and both sides of his brain. The strokes are all small enough to not show up on CT scans. Some days we see improvements. He opens his eyes, he blinks, he appears to respond to commands and even questions ("Blink once if you wear glasses, blink twice if you don't."). But most of the time, he is unresponsive. The doctors have been pretty straightforward and have not fostered any false hope, although his neurologist said he saw improvements yesterday and the day before. Yet today we were told that he is not viable and that he is showing signs of his brain shutting down. Mom signed the orders to Do Not Rescusitate.
My dad is 58.
I talked to my mom earlier. She sounded teary and shaken but okay. She said Dad was still on the ventilator, still unresponsive except when the nurse would move his pillow. Then he would open his eyes but not focus.
But I just got off the phone with my brother. It turns out it was a massive heart attck that somehow didn't show up on whatever earlier tests they ran. The doctor told Mom to call loved ones. That's it. That's all we know.
Adam said, well, people have heart attacks all the time... And I said, right, and sometimes they recover. And sometimes they don't. How do we know...?
So what do I do? Other than feel numb, that is.
My brother just called me at work. Apparently Dad collapsed last night, Mom called 911, they intubated him, got him to the hospital and now he is sedated and in ICU.
They've ruled out stroke, heart attach, aneurysm.
This isn't real.
If I was writing a cheesey story about a pregnant woman, I'd use a lot of foreshadowing leading up to the delivery. For instance, I'd have her pack up her office on Friday, set out her FMLA papers on the desk in anticipation and not sign up for the Christmas potluck lunch the following week. All "just in case." I'd give her lots of contractions and have her time them while shopping at Home Depot and Target on Saturday night. On Sunday, after doing yardwork and finishing some dangling house projects, she'd lay down for a Sunday afternoon rest and read a book. I think the book would be "Baby Catcher: The Chronicles of a Modern Midwife" by Peggy Vincent. As she approaches the book's epilogue, she'd feel a slight twang somewhere in her insides, like a snapped rubberband. It's 4:45 pm.
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