Sunday, March 8, 2009

Great visit!

Baaaaaaa - Chel and I are soo freakin exhausted. We got in at 2am... and then lost an hour because of DST... so we really got home at 3am. And the drive home was terrible.

But it was seriously all worth it. Dad is doing infinitely better.

We left Ottawa really late (around noon) and arrived in Toronto at 4pm. Neither Chel or I were looking forward to the drive to Toronto - or being back in Toronto or Toronto General. But we both really miss dad. And especially after what happened this week, we really wanted to make sure we paid him an encouraging visit.

We grabbed a parking spot in the heated, underground parking. Very nice. VIP like.

We headed up to the seventh floor. This is the floor dad was on before the transplant and the floor he was on before he was discharged. Its a good floor to be on - and its the floor I thought dad was on because that's the last I heard from mom.

So, we poked our head into floor 7 and one of the nurses declared, "Wooo! He's alive!" They freakin remembered me - AND dad - AND knew that dad was still on the 10th floor. Man - the nurses at this hospital are phenomenal! They're so caring and they all seem to be in the loop. No rude remarks, no unwelcoming faces... just lots of transplant love.

On their advice, we headed to the 10th floor - the step down unit. This is the floor dad and I were on when we first got out of surgery. Everyone has a nice big private room. And there is a nurse's station with one nurse for every two rooms. That means my dad was constantly being monitored and always had someone to talk to. Usually they give patients a little emergency button - dad didn't get one because the nurse literally works a few steps away from his bed. This hospital is on the freakin ball.

Walking down the hall to see dad, there were some pretty scary patients. One dude was wrapped in towels... another lady was in a ball crying... some other patients were hooked up to every possible instrument available. Really makes you appreciate your health.

Then, there was dad! In the room at the end of the hall. He was too tired to give us a big hello. But he mumbled a few words of welcome. He's color looked great and his arms/legs looked less bruised (from all the unsuccessful IVs). And my dad's urine bag - it was full! Full of (what looked like) lemonade! This was phenomenal news! In Ottawa, his urine bag was never full. And if it had anything in it, it was a very small amount and it looked like Pepsi. Not only was dad peeing on his own, it was the right color. Go yellow pee!

We all got seated and started chatting - reminiscing. Great times. Dad started to wake up a bit more over the hour that we spent but eventually he needed to sleep. So mom, Chel and I headed out for a great dinner - just the three of us. It was so nice to spend some quality time with mom. What a strong woman.

After dinner, it was about 8pm. We headed back the hospital to spend a few more minutes with dad before we headed right back home to Ottawa. Dad was way more awake this time. He sat up in his bed and we had a great chat.


For the past few weeks, dad hasn't been himself. The depression - its not dad. He may struggle with it, but there was an element of it that didn't sit right with me. His attitude - his lost sense of humour...

I think it was the absence of some of those key Brian characteristics that was contributing to a general sense of defeat around the family.


But that night - dad was right back to being himself.

"Josh - I can't believe what those drugs do to you."

"I know dad! There were so many times when I would get mad at Chel the few days after the surgery for no reason. I wasn't myself. And it was the narcotic pain meds. I hated what they turned me into. My goal was to get off them asap - and I was, 3 days after I left the hospital."

Sometimes, when I get started down a passionate line of conversation, I close my eyes and look down. When I raised my head after my little rant - dad was sitting there nodding his head in agreement.

"Josh - Your my inspiration. Every time I see you I just want to explode!"


If your not aware, dad was prescribed way too high a dose of narcotic pain medication in Ottawa. Between the high doses and my dad's history with drug abuse, that's what lead to his episode this week. When Toronto reduced the pain meds, his body wasn't too pumped about it. To avoid the situation from getting worse, dads body was sedated to the point where he needed a machine to help him breathe. Toronto is convinced that the pain meds are the reason why dad's recovery has been so rocky the past few weeks.

Yesterday, dad didn't have any pain meds. I'm so proud/happy for him!


It was time to go. Blast! As great as dad was doing, Chel and I are always afraid that its just 'the same old story'. We were afraid that he'd end up sick again or in worse shape a few days later. We're praying that this is the end of the sickness and that dad will be fully restored.

While leaving Toronto, Chel said, "You know... walking through that hospital today and even driving through Toronto, I'm not hating as much."

Chelsea and I both HATED Toronto for the first few weeks after the surgery. We vowed never to go back.

She continued, "The city and hospital actually feels like good memories now."

"I know! Looking back, it was such an amazing experience - so much love. It wasn't as terrible as we thought it was."


Today, dad should be transferred to floor 7 where he'll have a TV and a phone. I'll post the number as soon as I have it. The goal is to get dad walking. As soon as he can walk, he'll be out of the Toronto hospital.

I suggested to my parents that they DON'T leave Toronto until they are sure that dad is truly on the mend and that mom and dad can take care of themselves. So, they'll be staying in Toronto (not sure where) for a few weeks after they are released from the General. The last thing dad needs is to be back in the Civic.


In all seriousness - The Civic hospital needs a freakin redo. Staff, facility, etc. It all needs to be redone. If you're in Toronto, go and stop in at the Toronto general. The place is amazing. At some points, you forget your in a hospital.


Anonymous said...

fantastic, he looks so much better

Danny said...

We can't thank you enough Josh for all the information. We have been thinking about your Dad every day and wondering how he's doing. It's hard not to pick up the phone and call one of you guys or your Mom and it's a real asset to have this site to get an update on your Dad's recovery. Thanks for all your hard work in keeping us in the loop!
Nancy and Danny

Amanda said...

I'm so glad to hear things are getting better instead of worse!

Thanks for the info.