Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Panama City Beach - the Ocean's Healing Powers

I usually try to keep my blog a happy and up beat kind of place.  I haven't posted about the past 3 months and what has been going on because it has been anything but happy.  On October 31, 2011, my dad was admitted into the hospital for what first seemed like pnemonia.  But the doctor's soon realized the problem was really his heart and it was causing fluid to build up on his chest.  He was transferred to Dothan, AL into Southeast Medical Center.  He was in critical condition.

He spent almost 3 weeks in CCU.  I was there the whole time. While there, he had a temporary pacemaker put in, 2 liters of fluid drained from his chest, a permanent pacemaker put in, they discovered an esophageal fistula, he had bells palsy (they thought perhaps a stroke but never saw signs of it). He couldn't have anything by mouth and so when we could go back and see him (only 30 minutes 4 different times per day), he would constantly ask for water and ice - it was hard not giving him any.  He was placed on a feeding tube.

He had surgery to repair the esophagus and was eventually moved to a room right around Thanksgiving.  I went home for 3 days to catch up on home and work items and returned Thanksgiving day.  Mom was ready for a break.  His mind was not as it usually was - he would become obsessed with one thing (either wanting to go home, or needing to go to the bathroom, or wanting me to move his head or feet). But he was in a room and seemed to be better physically.  I returned home Monday after Thanksgiving and Wednesday he was moved back to his hometown to start rehab (to gain strength in his legs and learn to swallow and eat solid foods again).

But he developed an infection a week or so later and was moved into the hospital and continued getting worse so was sent back to Dothan and SEMC again.  I spent Christmas and New Year's with him, during which he had more surgery to repair a problem with his esophagus.  After the surgery, he seemed to look and feel a little better.  When I left, I felt he was finally on the upswing.  I remember when I left I told him that I loved him and he said, I love you too baby.  That would be the last words he said to me.

They found a massive infection on his heart valve (mitral valve endocarditis) and moved him to Noland Hospital (which is attached to SEMC) for long-term care since he was going to need massive antibiotic for as much as 6-8 weeks since he was not a candidate for surgery.  The antibiotics didn't really do much and he continued to get worse, his breathing became labored and on 01/12/12, my mother called us and told us we needed to come so we didn't hesitate and we went.  He was sleeping when I arrived and would continue to sleep all night, although he was on oxygen, his breathing was very labored.

The next morning on Friday, 01/13/12 at approx. 7 am CST, the nurse removed the oxygen mask because it wasn't helping at all and with mom on one side of the bed and me on the other, he took a final breath.

I could go on and on about the emotions during that time and since then and about the kind of man he was and what the following days have been like but as I said I don't usually get into sad things and try to keep my blog more positive (too late, I know).

Dad's 78th birthday would have been 01/16/12, he knew how much I loved the beach and would take me there whenever I was visiting and wanted to go.  So I just thought going to the beach that day was the best way to honor his birthday.

Plus...the beach has a way of healing me - I can feel stress leaving my body, I feel closer to God somehow.  It was especially so this time since the beach was pretty much deserted (even though the temp was near 70 that day).

Here are some photos I took that day - on my dad's 78th birthday.

 This is my friend, Susan, she doesn't know I took this photo. 
I love how she has her hands stretched out. . . 
like a child does when they are happy and carefree

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  1. I'm SO sorry to hear of your loss! In my prayers Nd wishing you peace.


  2. Thank you scrapperjen - the past few months have been very difficult, but my faith helps get me though - I appreciate the prayers and your kind words