Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interesting day today...

I flatly asked dad, "what are you thinking about." He turned and looked at me a moment, then waved his hand around the missing skull.

"I don't like how this feels" and then returned to looking out the window.

Mom and I stopped at Safeway on the way home. She told me similar that came from him during the day. Something to the affect of "My head hurts when i try to think." I like to think he's just re-wiring himself, and it's a bit painful.

We'll see.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

He's thinking outside the box

Dad asked mom both where she's staying, and if she's doing OK. That's a huge step forward as far as his awareness goes. He's thinking outside of his immediate surroundings - outside of his little box of a world.

The medical staff also realized after Esha's suggestion that his complaints of headaches weren't perpetual, but only when he coughed. They stopped giving him so many painkillers and as a result he's able to focus much better - even going as far as wishing my sister a happy birthday, and then jokingly mention she was only 29. (Damn we're old; only in our years as neither of us has even grown up).

The boob is now gone from his head with the lumbar drain in place. It's now inverted with a space large enough to put half a pack of hot dogs. Look up "craniectomy" if you want an idea of his head's shape.

Shark week.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cha cha cha changes...

Dad's condition changes more than Cher's costumes at a concert. Down again yesterday... up again today.

I'm rolling with the swings as they come. The biggest threat to my personal status quo was the look of his now un-swollen craniectomy - not as bad as I thought, but I'd been preparing myself for the last two months. I'm sneaking a camera in to take some shots for pop's little personal album of his progress.

One of my good friends mentioned of the incident, "Wouldn't it be cool if you dad's injury unlocked a mad genius?"

My reply: "He already is a mad genius. Case in point;" and I directed him to the photo below.

Yes, that is a motorcycle. Yes, it has a small block Chevy resting in the frame. Yes, it has two blowers custom machined and mounted.
I ain't riding it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back on Track

My mother called me at lunch, and I nearly broke into tears. Dad pulled a 180 overnight. He's back to being very active, argumentative, and all around goober. I love it.

The suspicion is that the lumbar drain that placed in him yesterday removed enough fluid from his head to pull him out of that funk. This still is the best theory, but a couple more are still on the table and need to be verified.

Thanks to all of you jujubeings putting out that energy into the ether.

Holy shit pop, you gave me quite a scare. I'll see you tomorrow.

This is not my father, but I found it rather genius.
A golden manatee with son lawn ornament. No kidding.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Better Blood Pressure

Dad's blood pressure started climbing almost immediately after i wrote the last post. Once he was actually transferred into ICU it climbed to normal levels. This was without any influence from the medical staff or medication - he did it all on his own, and I also want to believe with all of your help. We're not out of the woods yet, as he's still barely there.

They still do not have a definite on what is causing his current condition, which is the rapid degradation in his physical and mental states. Again, septic shock is still the main suspicion, but some quickly run tests showed he actually isn't infected anywhere. The "big test" results should be coming back today. In the meantime he's being treated as if he's septic; they are not waiting for results to come in to help him with this fight.

Right now, it is apparent to the neurosurgeon that his brain is not correlated with his current state. In other words, his brain is still healing. This is good.

Again, take a moment after reading this to close your eyes and do what you do to get the good energy out there. Only a few seconds are necessary as every little bit helps.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Need your good juju

Only a few of you know this: on March 20th Dad's heart stopped. He became septic after his body was infected from a leak between his feeding tube and stomach, causing severely low blood pressure. His heart eventually ceased from doing its job. Immediate compression brought it back, but for a few moments there... I don't want to think about it.

Tonight, likely due to the same complication, he is again apparently septic and is immediately being transferred to ICU at the same hospital. His blood pressure is severely low - at similar levels to what they were last Month. The staff have better ability to care for him in the ICU for this type of issue, thus the immediate transfer.

Please send your good juju, it is direly needed, and wholly appreciated. I will try to follow up with news as soon as it changes.

This certainly is a roller coaster ride.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

He's Still Got the Boob on His Head

My mistake in making that claim. NOTHING was to be done to his brain until these other regions were drained, and the contents verified.

I visited with him immediately after the surgery, and I could tell he was scared. The meds slow you down considerably, and I suspect he thought the worst. We clarified what had just happened and let him know he'd be coming around again.

He looked great. Healthy, even. When he's aware and not talking, it just seems like Dad there, chilling out and waiting for his dogs to hop onto his lap. When he then communicates we're reminded that he is only rattling around inside that body, trying to get to the surface. Apparently I'm Faith Hill's brother. And my mom's name is Don. My wife is actually my sister-in-law, and he claims he's been in the hospital either for 7 hours, or 148 days.

Dad, I know you're in there. I want to see you again.

From left to right: Nerd, Nerd in Denial, Nerd.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Multiple procedures this week

I'll try to get as much information out in as few words as possible.

As a result of the injury, Dad now has Hydrocephalus. Literally, water head. Cerebral spinal fluid comes in, but doesn't have a way to get out. Currently, without his skull, he just gets a swelling on the side of his head that looks like an A-cup boob. With the skull returned, this swelling would cause pressure, and subsequently damage to his brain. To prevent any further injury, the neurosurgeon plans on inserting a shunt into his body, draining the fluid from his skull, down into his abdomen to be reabsorbed. Yes... basically a tube from his brain to his intestines.

Today they are directly draining the fluid that has accumulated over the last few weeks in his head, hopefully relieving some pressure and discomfort. This procedure is relatively simple, basically sticking a needle in and draining.

He also has a couple of pockets of fluid in his belly. If the belly patches are clean of any bacterial cultures or otherwise, the shunt goes in on Wednesday. Today these will also be drained.

He's ever so slowly making progress on the mental front, recently establishing his mental prowess at 50% personally, by writing that fact down for us. He's a bit further along now, becoming more aware of his predicament, which has substantially interfered with his attitude. He is bummed. Really bummed.

There is plenty more info... but I need to retain some intimacy here. ;) Some scary, some funny, some disgusting. In all cases, look for it in my account of all these happenings - a Graphic Novel titled My Dad, His Brain, and the Boob Growing Out of His Head.

In this photo, Dad reminds me of Toby Radloff. I'm thankful that
he removed those glasses and that shirt from his wardrobe.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sore Sore Sore`

Dad is having physical therapy daily. When i go to visit him in the evenings he is wiped - the news is typically blaring and he is halfway between dozing off and watching; really not much different when I dropped on him midweek anyhow. When I ask how he's feeling, his reply usually is a shrug, followed by mouthing the the word "sore." Poor fellah.

There is some massive swelling on his skull. It looks like his head has a love handle. I must resist the urge to squish it with my finger.

His tummy is still healing. At the lower portion of the incision, you can see pretty deep into his belly. This caught my mom off guard, and I must also fight this temptation - of taking off his gown so i can see the wound. Apparently they let this type of cut heal from the inside out, thus the "gaping wound" appearance.

He's involuntarily twitching a lot. I don't know if this is good or bad, but I told the nurse on duty and he's going to pass this info along to the doctor. Cross your fingers for that one.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Bored Bored Bored

He's bored. That's good sign, right?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Dad was transferred to a new (secret) location today. This is the facility for the upcoming rehab, both mental and physical. Mom is set up around the corner at a nice hotel. They are both less than a mile away from my place.

Should be cozy around here in the next couple of months.

Whew, finally out of ICU!

Dad's going to need to get himself some bigger hats.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Slow and Steady...

Dad is pulling a tortoise. When he tried the hare, he hit some speedbumps.

Over the weekend his progress was steady and stable. We're getting a better grasp of where his mind is, and understand we've still a long way to go on this journey back to Dad.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Big day for pop...

and... i don't want to mention anymore before it's set in stone. But good news is around the corner.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Removing the restraints...

"OK Dad, I'm going to untie you now. Do not touch your head, and do not pull on any tubes or wires, OK?"

He nodded.

"Do you understand what I just told you Dad? Two things: Don't touch your head, and don't pull on anything."

He turned his head and gave me that "WTF, do you think I'm stupid" look.

"Of course not."

I untied him and he let his hand stretch out a moment. He let out a big sigh, quickly and squishily poked his skull-free zone, and then smiled.


Iron Chef Daddy-o. Specialty? Meat and Potatoes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


ALL of the April Fool's prank posts I thought up didn't seem so funny when actually written down. It seems I'm more fragile than I've even convinced myself that I am. I have a sick and twisted humor, but the stuff I came up with left a bad taste in even my mouth.

Dad's doing great. Unfortunately he has an infection at the site of his abdominal surgery, and this is impeding a more immediate recovery. Go away, germs!

It's a waiting game.

His emotional range seems to all be in order; happy, silly, grumpy, Stubborn... they're all there.

I look forward to his further progress.

Demon Dad meets Zombie Mom