Thursday, April 22, 2010

"I'm Having Brain Surgery Today"

Dad is out of surgery and doing fine. It went well, he is in recovery and asking when he can play golf.

A few months ago, my dad slipped and fell on the ice. He hit his head and his hip. I’ve mentioned it before, but dad’s a pilot. For the past lifetime, he keeps in shape because he doesn’t want to lose his pilot’s license. He always gets up at 5am and works out, and eats healthy, and generally is annoying with the fear of going to the doctor. Not because he is afraid of what they’ll find, but of what they’ll report back to the FAA. The FAA=God. So he refused to go to the ER. A simple concussion could ground him for a year.

A few weeks ago, the bigwig at work told inferior bigwigs to tell dad that she didn’t feel safe flying with him. This was HUGE. Like HUGEBIGFUCKINGDEAL huge. It was a slap in the face to him to hear that. What the f*ck was going on?? My mom called me at work, and it took my breath away. Oh dear, this HAS to do with the fall.

We (my mom) had noticed little things. Like, he generally didn’t feel good. He was whinier, bitchier, if you will. He shuffled a bit when he walked, and at Easter Workaholic saw him fall against a door frame, twice. And when they golfed, his normal slice had turned into a hook. All of this was explained away by arthritis and Charlie horses. Until last weekend.

Last weekend, my parents went to a wedding, where my dad saw his brother and his cousin, who is a MD. Between the two of them yelling at him and asking him what the hell was the matter with him, why hadn’t he been to a doctor?? he decided to go to the doctor. The woman that he saw sent him for a CT, and was like, “I’m sure it’ll show nothing, you are completely asymptomatic.” Imagine both of their surprises when the scan came back and the right side of his brain was squished by fluid.

He can talk normally…just ask the doctors and nurses. He can argue. He was driving his manual transmission truck up until last Tuesday, when he was ordered not to. (Apparently the risk for seizure for a chronic subdural hematoma is pretty severe when you’ve got a ton of blood/spinal fluid on your brain, and driving is not advisable.) He could golf, although not well, just ask him. His memory is what it used to be, that is to say, he can remember the story of his student who had a grand mal seizure at 30,000 feet 5 years ago, but he can’t remember where he left his coat.

So at this moment, my dad is in surgery. My sister is on a plane from England. My other 2 sisters are here with me and my mom and his brother and sister-in-law. And we are just feeding ourselves and hanging out and waiting. The neurosurgeon and his resident seem to think this is a fairly routine surgery. Drill a couple holes, let the fluid drain, DON’T PLUG THE HOLES WITH CAULK, go home and recuperate. (after a couple of days) Give it a month before you start driving again. Flying…well, one step at a time, but we think so. It might take a couple of years, but I think he’ll get back up there.

So the past week has been scary. Not as scary though, as the weeks before, when he was GROUNDED and we didn’t know why. Now we have a plan. And my dad will be around for a long time to come. He’ll see Sam grow up, and can teach her and her little brother or sister how to fish. Maybe even play golf. Who knows…all I know now is that we sit, and wait, and hope for the best. Prayers are welcome.


alison said...

Gail, you guys are in my prayers!!

Mary said...

Your dad looks exactly like what I was picturing! Thoughts and prayers are with you all.