Baby steps

So it has been over a week since my dad had a stroke. Yesterday he was moved from the hospital to an in-patient physical rehabilitation facility. We are not sure how long he has to stay there, but he has already made some progress. Right after the stroke, he had no use of his left arm…now he can move his shoulder, wiggle his fingers and can feel sensation, but he still cannot lift it. My mom, sister and I went to visit him today and he was in a wheelchair the entire time. He can walk a bit with a walker, but needs a lot of assistance with getting up and down. Thankfully, the alcohol withdrawal symptoms seem to have subsided. He’s not all whacked out and confused anymore, which is a relief because that was really hard to witness.

My mom told me that two nights ago, when my father was told he had to go to the facility instead of coming home, he hysterically cried and told her that none of us care about him and we all wish he died. I don’t know why but that really made me so sad. I feel like I “should” not really be as affected by how he feels, because god knows he didn’t really care about all the nights I cried myself to sleep growing up because he was drunk or because I was afraid of him, etc. I am glad that I wasn’t at the hospital that night, because it would have killed me to see that. Sometimes he cries when he is really drunk, but I don’t ever remember him crying when he was sober.

Everything feels like it is in limbo right now. I feel like there is a giant ticking clock counting down until he is discharged and goes home. Even though it would be an early Christmas miracle for him to stay sober, I am confident he will drink as soon as possible, and then things will just go back to “normal” (whatever the hell that means in my family lol!!)

Rock bottom

My dad had a stroke on Friday. I am still wrapping my head around it, so I thought it would help to write. My mom frantically called me that my dad had called 911 when he was home alone because he thought he was having a heart attack. The EMTs broke in the front door to get him and rushed him to the hospital. By the time my mom, sister and I all got there, the doctors already ruled out a heart attack and concluded he had a stroke. My dad was fully conscious the whole time, although he had some confusion about what happened. The stroke paralyzed his left arm and hand. He apparently fell while all of this was going on (he can’t fully remember) and badly injured his arm (the same arm he cannot move).

He is currently still in the hospital and is now going through terrible alcohol withdrawal. The doctors had to even suspend further tests related to the stroke because of the withdrawal symptoms. I went to see him again yesterday and he was very medicated and looked horrible. My mom said he is 100 times worse today because the detox was really kicking in. They are giving him medications to help, but he is definitely suffering. The nurses basically told my mom not to come back for the next two days because they said it will get worse before it gets better.

As I was racing to the hospital on Friday, I honestly didn’t know what happened and I didn’t know if my dad was alive, dead, unconscious, etc. I had so many thoughts running through my head, but one thing stands out more than anything…I really, really cared. That sounds crazy, he’s my dad so of course I should care, but I think my mom, sister and I have convinced ourselves that if something happened to him it would be more of a relief than anything else. I felt so horrible on Friday night because Friday morning I had a conversation with one of my good friends. It was the anniversary of her father’s death and she was telling me what an amazing man, dad, husband, etc. he was. I made a flippant comment that it made me mad that men like her dad died when my dad just keeps wasting his life away and that it doesn’t seem fair. As I was driving like a maniac to the hospital, I remembered saying that and felt like it was my fault. I know that it isn’t, but I don’t think I will ever say something like that again.

I don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know how extensive the stroke was, or how long he will be in the hospital, or even how long the withdrawal will last. I don’t know if he will regain movement in his arm (he is able to wiggle his fingers, which is encouraging!). I don’t know if this is finally- FINALLY- him hitting rock bottom and I don’t know if he will start taking his health more seriously (I’m praying this is a huge wakeup call for him). I am not even letting my mind entertain the idea of not knowing whether or not he will continue to drink. I do know that I love my dad and that I want to be strong for my mom. And I guess that is all I need to know right now.