…but I’ve been very busy since my dad’s initial stroke around September 28. I had him moved up to a rehab facility closer to me and he was doing well in his therapies. He got back up to 50% of his ADLs, but was still having trouble walking and following instructions from the rehab staff. Coco and I were there every, single day by his side, cheering him on and spending time with him while he was in rehab and the hospital. He was doing great…he was confused sometimes, but he was doing great.
Then, last Wednesday, October 16, he had another small stroke and was sent to Einstein Hospital where he spent two days in the neurology wing. When he was stable again, he went back to the rehab center while I searched around for a skilled nursing facility for him as he would need round-the-clock care for the rest of his life. He was doing well in rehab again until…unfortunately, he suffered yet another, more serious stroke around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 23, as I was en route to hang out with him.
When I went to Einstein Hospital, where he was moved, to spend the day with him on Thursday (as I stayed with him all day on Wednesday, too), I was told that the doctors and staff had exhausted their efforts and I was asked what he would like to do since he would never have a decent quality of life ever again. The doctors stated that it was really only a matter of time before another stroke, or cardiac arrest, would take him away from us. I made the difficult decision to make him DNR and put him on hospice care.
Shortly thereafter, I called his siblings and everyone came to sit with him, hold his hands, and get him to relax as he was aware of everything that was happening, but he could no longer communicate with us. My sister flew up from Georgia again Thursday night and we were going to head out early to sit with our dad on Friday morning and wait for the priest to come give him his Last Rites.
Around 5:51 a.m. on Friday, I woke up with to a racing heart and what felt like a panic attack. I laid there wondering if I’d made the correct decision for my dad’s life and I kept saying, “Daddy, tell me I made the right decision for you” over and over again. At 6:00 a.m., my alarm went off and I got up and looked at my emails on my phone. Then, there was a call from an unknown number and it was the hospital, calling to say that my dad passed away, peacefully, from brachycardia at 6:00 a.m.
These last few days have been a clustercuss of prepping his things for the funeral and trying, desperately, to find the funds to have his burial on Saturday. He didn’t have life insurance and his accounts were a mess. We suspect he may have had several mini-strokes prior to the first one on September 28 and his cognition must’ve been askew since bills were unpaid and he’d given a lot of money away to relatives.
I’ve bumped into all kinds of horrible things this last month and almost every one of them stems from my dad’s obesity. There are things you’d never even imagine could happen just because you’re obese and it’s terrifying me. I couldn’t find a nursing home that’d take him…or a hospice unit either…a regular wheelchair couldn’t support his weight…he required a bigger hospital bed…he couldn’t fit into an MRI machine…his cemetery plot was too narrow (we opted for cremation then)…and his cremation cost extra because it takes longer for an obese person to turn to ash…all because he let himself get to weigh over 400 pounds. My dad was an AMAZING man and his weight has screwed over a lot of his dignity and comfort and it’s taken him away from us and I hate that. The world is a lonelier, scarier place without him here and his death could have been delayed had he ate better and left his apartment for exercise…even a small walk outside. (Turns out, he wasn’t leaving to even get his mail anymore.)
I ask any of you who are over 300 pounds to get absolutely serious about your health. I have been through hell these past few weeks and it’s all obesity-related. I implore you all to eat healthier and get exercise and don’t do what my dad did. Get help from a professional if you must, but please…don’t just give up and give in. Someone you know loves you so much and doesn’t want to see you suffer and, most certainly, doesn’t want to have to go through what I’m going through and what I’ve gone through all month.
I don’t know when I’ll be back to blogging since there are more things I have to deal with over the next few weeks and I’m extremely busy juggling everything right now, but I promise that I’ll be back sooner or later. One of my new goals is to help at least one person or one family from going through this.