Saturday, July 20, 2013

Blow to the Psyche

So, just as I was getting back on my feet again (and getting back in my groove with this blog) my Dad became seriously ill.  This past Monday my Mom and I took him to the doctor because he was having trouble breathing.  I was out in the waiting room when my Mom came to find me to tell him that he had to be taken by ambulance directly to the hospital because an EKG showed that he was in a-fib. I don't know to explain my feeling - I wasn't surprised, yet I was in shock.  I had observed that he hadn't really been doing well for some days and he seemed really weak, but still, I wasn't prepared to actually find out that he has serious heart problems.

Now, my happy place in my mind here is, ironically, that in that last sentence I could still use the present tense and say "has" serious heart problems. In the ER they were able to rule out a pulmonary embolism and he was admitted to the coronary care unit.  It turns out the Dad is now in constant a-fib, and he had to have some help getting rid of some fluid around his lungs and restoring his breathing to normal. But he's doing better now and actually came home yesterday.  Now, we'll have to manage with medications to maintain his stability despite the a-fib.

What has changed for me is that I had really gotten to a point where I saw my Dad as semi-immortal.  He's 92, almost 93, and this is the his first major hospitalization.  Up until now he's been in amazingly good health with no major problems. That has all changed in the course of one week.  I realize that I'm still numb because I never even cried.  I know that with schizophrenia, it's typical to dissociate from pain.  I was a bit on the manic side this past week, too. With less sleep and heightened stress that's no surprise either.  But I really thought that MY Dad was going to be the oldest person on Earth some day and now I have to face the fact that he is actually elderly and becoming more frail. I can't tell you how I feel because I'm intellectualizing everything right now.

I would say that I managed the crisis part pretty well and now there's little time to think because there are so many adjustments to our daily lives.  My family is holding together strongly and Dad is just grateful for our ongoing care and support.  But my paradigm has shifted and I know that I will never be the same again - because he won't be.

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