Last week, my dad had surgery to remove a non-cancerous (I don't use the words benign and malignant because I find them confusing) muscle tumor removed from his lung. He was in the hospital for the holiday weekend and when I visited him there I was surprised at how well he was doing: face full of color and for the most part quite coherent. However, one night, he had a very vivid dream (hallucination?) and leaped out of his railed hospital bed, IVs connected and all, and hit the code blue button that summons all the nurses to your room. After this incident, he was moved to another room where a nurse was stationed outside his door 24 hours a day. While in hospital, he kept attempting to do things like stand up although the nurses had told him he was not to do so under any circumstances.
You see, this was my dad's first time in a hospital as well as his first time having surgery. He has never done any hard drugs, prescription or recreational. I told my mother that his actions were the result of being on hard-core pain medications like Oxycontin and Percocet. Essentially, he was feeling no pain and I'm positive his brain had never experienced anything like the disorientation that comes with that kind of medicine. Add to that the fact that he has Parkinson's and, well, basically nothing is in his control anymore.
On Tuesday he was released to go back home and for the most part his afternoon was pretty mellow. Casey and I went to visit and have dinner and he was doing great. However, that night, he wouldn't really stay in bed and at one in the morning my mom woke up to find all the lights in the house on and my dad nowhere in the house. He had wandered outside to find the newspaper, thinking it was later in the morning despite the darkness. My mother ushered him back in the house and he was up at least twice more wandering around after that.
Yesterday, he got up and put on some nice clothes and my mom figured he was confused that he was going out so she let him know he was not to leave the house. She left briefly to run an errand and when she came back, he was trying to lift one of the heavy armchairs in the living room because he believed there was a drinking glass beneath it. There wasn't one. He told my mom that there was also a little boy in a baseball hat under their dining room table. There wasn't. She told me this and I insisted that she call the doctor. The doctor said the Percocet was likely interfering with his Parkinson's medication and that he shouldn't take anything stronger than Tylenol Extra Strength.
Last night was another eventful night and neither of my parents got much sleep. He was extremely disoriented again this morning to the point that his best friend commented he seemed to be exhibiting signs of dementia so my mother called his neurologist. He said dad's behavior was not uncommon and there was a chance that things may stay this way. Of course, I was devastated to hear this. Dad took a nap for a bit and mom said when he woke up he was much more coherent. The day nurse that has been checking on him said he has a fever of about 100.3 and if gets to 101, he will have to be readmitted to the hospital. A night nurse will be coming to stay the night to make sure my dad is tended to and my mother can get a full night's sleep.
It's terrifying to see my parents getting older. To think of my dad hallucinating. To be pregnant and emotional yet have to be strong. It's horrible to think that a procedure to make my dad better might actually make him worse. Tomorrow is his 66th birthday and here we are in the midst of all of this instead of celebrating what a rad dad and grandpa he is. That's my update.
After work update: Dad came down with a fever and had to go to the ER. He was hospitalized again last night and the fever went down. Unfortunately, it's back up this morning along with his blood pressure. Happy thoughts please.