Monday morning I had my whole week planned, almost down to the last detail. I went into work, the plan being to work half a day, do my weekly lunchtime yoga class and then go home to welcome back my guests. That all changed with a phone call from my sister saying that dad had had a stroke that morning.
I wasn’t on the phone for long as she didn’t know much, so there wasn’t much to say and then I just had to sit down and tried not to shake with shock. Dad was booked in for a plane flight over to the Royal Adelaide Hospital and mum was being picked up by dad’s brother to be brought over to meet him. I went into automatic mode and packed up my desk, turned on my email’s out of office and I think I even changed my work voicemail message. On my way to catch the tram home I thought why bother going home when I’ve just got to come back in, but I went home anyway, and organised JJ’s after school pickup and my guests entry into the house in my absence.
At the allotted time we all met at emergency and finally an hour later we moved to the family room in emergency and then a while after that mum and one sister went into see him. I wanted to see him, but at the same time didn’t want to rush it because I knew he would be a changed man.
I did, however, and kept it pretty well together while I was in there. One of the symptoms of a stroke that I never knew about is the emotions stroke sufferers feel, and the manifestation of these emotions. Dad now cries really easily. As soon as we mention that such and such is thinking of them, or such and such is going to visit he starts crying. Now I know that this is part of the symptoms it’s a bit easier to deal with but it’s still hard seeing my dad cry. The only other time I ever saw my dad cry was when he saw me off on my big overseas trip and that was only a tear or two, this is full-on face contortions and associated crying.
I also find it hard to talk to someone who can’t talk back. I can ask him yes or no questions and he can nod or shake his head in answer, so he knows what’s going on, he just can’t express himself. And trying to make small talk just seems so trivial when he’s lying there. So far I haven’t been in there by myself with him, but that will happen. I don’t want to take JJ in just yet either so that’s an extra complication of my being able to visit, especially once I go back to work.
As for the long-term outcome it’s anyone’s guess but hopefully rehab is an option both physically and mentally for him. He’s a determined man so here’s hoping he will continue to be determined and make it through this and get movement and speech back.
It all caught up with me this morning after JJ would not cooperate when I tried to get him ready for school. I had a bit of a cry, tried to explain that it wasn’t his fault, I was just a bit upset because of Pop. Consequently I wore my sunnies while doing most of my reading with the kids at the school. Every now and again I just start crying when I think about it.
This morning on our way into the hospital we bumped into my youngest nephew (about 9) and his dad coming out. My nephew was very upset which set all of us off. We’re not sobbing around dad’s bedside, he’s doing enough of that for all of us.
So, for the moment, it’s one day at a time.