Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Whatever you celebrate..and however you choose to celebrate..

Best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.

:) A special thank you to ALL of my friends who've been so wonderful to me - not just through this last month - but who have been so wonderful to me all year long.

I love you guys, and I don't know how I'd make it without you. This year has been the best and the worst..but I'm still standing and I know that's only because I have so many amazing people holding me up some days. :)



Thursday, December 24, 2009

Faith, Hope and Love - Part II: Miracles

Scary things happen, and sometimes, you look back and wonder HOW you made it through. It's true of both worlds, and of all circumstances.

My dad has since woken up from his coma..he speaks, he thinks, he moves his body. He does all of the things that they said he would never do.

Is he himself ?

Not quite.

He doesn't remember who we are..or who he is all the time. He does sometimes, and he does remember people and places and things. So the memories are THERE - not erased. Just not being accessed all the time.

That's the brain injury - he needs time to heal.

He's been moved from the first hospital to a heart hospital - a defibrillator has been put into his chest (the surgery went well and he's responding well), and he's now in one of the best sub-acute rehab centers in New York.

The scariest thing? A lot of what happened after he left the first hospital was only possible because we were able to spend money and call in favors. If my dad were alone..he'd have died in the first hospital. I'm certain of it.

He's fought through EVERY single doubt that's been laid in front of him.

But God..he stepped in and gave my dad and my family the strength to do what had to be done. To dig down deep, and when we thought we had NOTHING left to give, God gave us what we needed.

For example..

The social worker at the hospital after his heart surgery said he should be put into a nursing home for rehab..and that he should go into one maybe out in the suburbs because they're easier to get into.

Unacceptable. We wanted him in a top notch facility that spent their time focusing on REHAB and not on a facility that would look to make him comfortable. See, the belief is that..he's too weak for true physical therapy. I don't believe I didn't believe any of the OTHER doctors.

In order to get him into the rehab center, I had to call two clients who are trustees for the rehab center and have them pull strings - which they did. The social worker at the second hospital had already told me there was no way he could get in. She said only celebrities can get accepted in there on such short notice. And when she got back the acceptance notice, she was shocked.

Not only did we have a bed waiting for him there, but there's a spot in the Mount Sinai acute rehab center when he's strong enough. Another place she said would never take him in because they're very exclusive.

I've never really had much to do with medical insurance..and hospital administration until now - but I believe that it's all kinda shitty. The patient is lost somewhere in the paperwork shuffle..and God help you if you don't have someone there to fight for you every step of the way. (Just a side rant).

I believe..that with a little luck, a lot of faith and an unimaginable amount of love, anything is possible. It also doesn't hurt to have a ton of hysterical women on hand to drive doctors, nurses and administration NUTS enough to do whatever is necessary.

But I know that God gave me back my dad. Dad wasn't ready to go and we weren't ready to let him go.

People who normally spend 46 minutes in cardiac arrest die. It's that simple. But for whatever dad did not.

So while he's not 100%..he's still here. And I believe in my heart that he just needs time to heal and the right therapy to be almost back to his old self. I know he won't be the exact same as before, but there's no reason that he can't be almost the exact same.

I kissed his hand tonight and said.."You're my dad and I love you." He kissed my head and said.."I'll always be dad and I love you two times more."

Yeah. He wouldn't be dad if he didn't. :)

Wishing you and yours a VERY Merry Christmas..filled with love, faith and miracles. :)


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Faith, Hope and Love - Part I

As most of you know, my Thanksgiving didn't go as planned.

Thursday morning, Thanksgiving morning, I stood in the kitchen facing the stove, dicing apples to cook with. My dad came in from outside, sat at the kitchen table..and in the background, above the tv playing the Thanksgiving day parade, I heard he and my 9 year old nephew talking. He was going to put peanut butter on some crackers for my nephew.

And then my nephew said.."Papa..are you okay? Papa what's wrong?"

I turned around and my dad was face down on the table. I pulled him up and held him I shouted to my mom to call 911. She ran around and grabbed my dad, screaming.

I ran around her and grabbed the phone while my sister and brother-in-law lifted him off of the chair and laid him out in the kitchen.

His teeth were clenched, so we had to pry his mouth open. My sister did that. Talking to 911 was a blur. I did it between breathing into his mouth..listening to my sister count compressions on his chest..and blocking out my mom screaming in the background. I could hear him taking

The FDNY arrived first..they took over the CPR and the FDNY paramedics arrived right after them followed by NYPD.

Everything went by so quickly..yet so slowly.

A firefighter had his arm around me while he tried to complete a form with my dad's name, birthday, etc. And when they said "CLEAR!" and shocked him, he hid my face. But I saw what I saw.

They shocked him four times.

My sister threw me a pair of pants from the stairs and I pulled on my sneakers and ran outside of the house where they were preparing to carry him out.

And if I said I was holding it together, I'd be a liar. I was bawling and my mom and I were holding each other outside. My aunt came; later we found out my brother-in-law called her as soon as it happened.

You see. He's not just MY dad.

He's the dad to everyone in our family. My mom's father passed away when they were young, so my dad became THEIR dad in a way. He raised my aunt from the age of 5 - she's 50 now.

My aunt drove us to the hospital, my sister and I and her husband. My brother-in-law stayed home with the kids.

The next few hours were painful. Seeing my dad in the ER undergoing a process they called the Arctic Sun to drop his body temperature. He was on a respirator. He was unresponsive.

I cried so much..everything blurred. The nights and the days..and the people..and everything was numb.

The doctor's told us he was in a deep coma.

They said we needed to come to terms with the fact that he was not going to wake up - that this body laying there was the best things were going to get.

They told me he couldn't even hear me speaking to him.

His prognosis was POOR. Very, very poor. They all said the same thing. From that point on, every doctor that came in to tell me something negative..I threw out.

I cried. I stopped sleeping..eating..going home..going to work. I stopped everything because..without my dad..without his voice every day..without his smile..his eyes..without world stopped.

I just sat next to his bed and I prayed. And I talked to him. I begged him to wake up. I begged him to come home.

On the Monday after his collapse, doctors started coming in..telling me we needed to think about making him comfortable in his last days.

My family called me and told me to come home..we had a lot to discuss as a family. My dad's wishes were ALWAYS clear. He did NOT want to be kept alive by any machines. I knew the talk that was coming.

And I did not go home for it.

I cried so much that day, the nurses cried with me.

That night, I finally went home. We sat around and all talked. And I did what I always do. I said what I had to say and I left.

You dad always knew. He knew that if the time should come when he needed to be taken off of machines that were keeping him alive, I would not be able to do it. He knew I'd fight and find a way to keep him with me.

So I said.."I know dad's wishes..I agree with what you've all decided. But in my heart, I can't do it. It's like we're giving up hope on him. If it were me in that bed, he'd never..give up on me." With that, I crawled into my dad's bed and went to sleep. All I could contribute to the discussion had been said.

Tuesday morning, my mom, my older sister and I laid in my parents bed and cried. We were supposed to sign the paperwork to take him off of the respirator at 10:30 AM.

It was all so somber. The drive to the hospital. The silence as we all walked the halls.

We sat through everything..hospices for his last days..moving his body. My oldest brother left the room. He couldn't take it. My sister held my mom's hand while she signed the DNR and the order to remove the respirator.

I broke down and left the room in tears. I laid on the bed next to my dad and told him..he didn't have long left..he needed to wake up NOW. I cried until I was even amazed that I had tears left.

I left the hospital shortly after..laid on my cousin's couch and ached inside. After about an hour, we headed back to the hospital and as I got off of the elevator, my oldest sister was standing there waiting.

"Daddy moved his foot."

That was all I needed. I dropped my coat and bag and headed back to his room. And it was true. He moved his feet..and his hands..and his head. He was still unconcious, but he was MOVING.

So we stood there..and debated. Were these simply reflexes from the coma? Or was he finally waking up?

After a while, we decided..we couldn't do it. Despite what the doctors were saying..we had to give him a chance. So we pulled back the order and had the paperwork removed.

This blog is getting long now. And I'm tired. LOL

So I'm posting this..and I'll continue the rest later. :) Long story. Believe me..and the yet hasn't even been written - so I can't share that with you.


The Bubble Butt!!!!