It's 6am and once again a restless night with no sleep.
We returned from Phx on Thursday, I simply haven't had the energy to write. I've been trying to absorb all that has happened in just a few short days.
My fathers surgery was Thursday, the night before he asked me while him and I were alone for a short time to take the kids back home. So on Thursday morning at 5am Phx time, 4am Vegas time, the kids and I packed up the car and headed to the hospital before his scheduled prep time of 6am. It was very important to me to see him before he went into surgery. He was in good spirits, well as best as he could be considering and I had 5 minutes with him before he was taken downstairs, because they came early to get him.
The rest of the family arrived at about 545am to 6am. As well as his two best friends in the world. My daughter was itching to leave and bitching about getting home, something she'd done all week, which added stress to an already overloaded stressful week. We'd had a huge blow out the day before and both of us said horrible things to each other. I as the mother should have had far more self control than I exhibited and yet it seem that all the fear, anger, worry, stress just stream out of my mouth in ugly ugly words to her. And she was ugly back. When I calmed down, I apologized and let her know that I loved her. It wasn't the first fight we'd had while there, but it was the worse. My son and I also fought. I really believe we were on complete stress overload.
I went back to where they were prepping him for surgery and had another 5 minutes with him, enough to let him know that I loved him very much and that I was doing as he asked and taking the kids home. It was very difficult to leave, his surgery began at 930am and I headed back to Vegas at 10am with promises from my sister, my aunt and a few others there, that I would get phone calls every hour.
We made good time home. Instead of going through Hoover Dam and taking the chance of being stuck in any sort of traffic as I have had happen every time I take that route, I headed off to Laughlin and made my way through there which was a much better drive, even with the extra 28 miles out of my way. I wasn't paying attention much, mostly crying the entire way home and just this side of Laughlin, I was pulled over for going 85 in a 55 speed limit work zone. Man, that was going to hurt. He came to my window and I was already crying, so I just spurted out what was going on with my father while my daughter was looking for my proof of insurance. And at just that time my aunt phoned, so I had to tell him it was them with my first update and could I answer it. He gave me the ok, already had my license and went to his car to do whatever it is they do...
I was told that they successfully completed the small bypass artery and had repaired the leaky value on the right side of Dads heart and were beginning the LVAD procedure. Luck was on my side, rather than a speeding ticket, I was given one for no proof of insurance because I couldn't find my current card and so it's a quick fix it ticket. He said to make sure I went the speed limit, because there were many police out on the road right now and to drive careful and then he said, I hope your father is alright.
The next call I got was again from my Aunt. Details are fuzzy because I think I went into shock and I'm sure that the folks in California could hear my wails all the way from Vegas. The only thing I heard was that Daddy was in a coma. I promptly lost complete control over myself and my daughter freaked out saying I hated her because she wouldn't let me stay for the surgery and now he was going to die and blah blah blah. So as I cried, I followed her into her room, sat on her bed held her tight and told her that I loved her, she was my girl and I didn't blame her for anything, that her Papa had told me to bring her and her brother home today, otherwise I would have stayed. After all, I am the parent and had I not wanted to leave (which I didn't, but I needed to honor his what could be last request) I would have stayed, but it was more important to me to honor my fathers request, so she was certainly not to blame.
A few hours later, after calming down a bit, I received more information. I probably had been told already, however, the coma part of the information given to me blocked everything else out.
So, here's the deal. The left side of my fathers heart was completely dead and the right side of his heart had been doing all the work for a very long time. They implanted the LVAD into the left side and the left side began to beat, as it should. And, this is the only way I can really explain this...
The right side of his heart decided to that it had a mind of it's own all of the sudden and simply shut down, like saying.. Damn finally, I've done all the work for so long and I am tired and wore out and now that you, left side are beating, I'm taking a rest. They could not get the right side to start pumping again and had to place a temporary RVAD in so that it would beat. It was tired and needed to rest and heal and just made the decision on it's own. They left dads chest opened, covered with protective covering that is clear so they could watch for bleeding, and placed him into a medical induced coma, to keep him from feeling any pain and so they left his chest open so that they could go in again in time, without having to open him up again, which he would definetly not survive.
As told to me, the right side of his heart was tired and taking a break. IF they were to have placed the RVAD in the chamber, it would be a double VAD and I recall the doctors telling us that double VADS never leave the hospital, though they can live 5 or more years, they do it in the hospital. Thus, placing it in a temporary position for now.
On Saturday, his eyes popped open and the nurses asked him if he was in pain, to which he nodded his head and they put him back in the coma. I believe that his brain is telling him that he is not ready to die and is causing his eyes to open 3 times now and allowing him to nod his head yes and then close his eyes again. He's fighting it, his brain is, though the right side of his heart is still being difficult. I am also told that if they do not keep him in the coma, he could wake up in horrible pain, alert and see that his chest is wide open and that could cause him to have a massive heart attack just from the fear. So when he wakes up the few times he has, it's his brain saying, Hey, I'm still alive, don't count me out yet, but I have no idea what is going on around me or with me other than the very real fact that I fucking hurt. (I'm fairly certain if he COULD talk, that those would be his exact words.)
I get calls letting me know he is still hanging in there. On Monday, they are going to disconnect the RVAD wire and see if the right side of his heart has healed and rested enough to begin beating again. This was all anticipated, however only my father and his wife knew that this may happen, it was not shared with the rest of us and frankly I think it should have been and then it would have been less of a shock on the rest of us, but for whatever their reasons they decided not to tell us all the stuff that could or would go on with this surgery. I'm sure my stepmother made that decision, a very selfish one really, but what's done is done.
Now, if the right side does not start on it's own Monday, they will try again in 3 days and keep doing that for about 3 weeks, which means he will be completely out of it for at least 3 days. I think his right side will need about a week to recover from pumping so hard for both sides of his heart and then get a mind of it's own again and say, oh hey there left side, long time no see, here, let me help you now, I am feeling much better now. And then they will close him up and bring him out of the coma, but he will remain pretty doped up for quite a while, to keep him from having to feel the unbearable pain that comes with open heart surgery. He knows what type of pain to expect, he's already had a triple bypass, but he was 40 then and much stronger than he is now at 65. The last months, he just deteriorated pretty badly and began looking more like a man who was in his 70's as opposed to his real age.
My father does not want to be hooked up to any machines and I know that if they must place the RVAD in permanently, causing him to have to remain in the hospital for the rest of his life, he will do one of two things... slowly fade away from depression until he simply dies from the lack of will to live or quickly die, from giving up.
My stepmother did ask the doctor when they finally came out and explained the right side of the heart and the temp RVAD thing, if he was going to die and the doctor was very positive and adamant that no, he would not die. But, I know that if the right side does not begin to beat on it's own and the RVAD becomes permanent, he won't last long at all. He hates being in the hospital and he has goals for the next few months.... Attending my daughters, his only granddaughters graduation in June (he won't be ready to come home yet, but they have told him if all goes well, they would probably give him a 2 day pass to come up here for the graduation) and he wants to meet his great grandchild, my oldest boy and his beautiful wives first child (and my first grandchild) that is due to be born late Sept, early Oct. He is as excited about this new baby as I am and if all is good, he'll already be home in Vegas by then, though I doubt he will travel to California like I will to see the baby, opting instead to wait for my son to bring the baby here, which I have been told will be quite often.
So, there it all is. Well, not all of it, but Dad part. I have a really strong feeling within me that it may take a couple of tries, but the right side of his heart will eventually say, Oh hey, hows it going left side, long time no see, here, let me beat with you and become one healthy heart. It just may take it a bit to heal and rest, it's been working so hard to keep him alive for so long, it's just tired. So let it rest and heal and it will begin to help the left side, all on it's own, since it is healthy other than being tired of working so hard.
So much more is happening with me, I've just been lacking any sort of energy to do anything. I am hoping by tomorrow I will regain some of my strength that has been sucked out of me from those 6 days in Phx cramped in a little motel room with my two kids with no place to get some alone time, which all three of us need and are able to get when we are home by retreating to our own rooms. We simply aren't use to being around each other for so long, everyone pretty much does their own thing. Both kids usually spend at least one night on the weekends at a friends house and they are in school all week long, so I have my time then. And we were all totally and completely overloaded with stress, from being there, from seeing him like that, from being cramped in the room and from not being able to get any alone time, though I occasionally had some, when I would go outside to smoke, but eventually one or the other would follow me out, wanting to chat with me, so even then I didn't get that time I needed to just breathe and process.
I have been processing all of this for the last few days, which has also drained me. I have had to find a place where I am at peace within myself, as I was being torn apart and beating myself up for leaving, even though I know that is what he wanted me to do. I needed to find some acceptance to remember that I am not in control of this, or I'd have healed him immediately.. that there is something whatever it is that is far more powerful than myself, that was in control and the acceptance of, what will be will be regardless of whether it is what I want to happen or not, will be. I found that peace and that acceptance yesterday with relief, though for fleeting moments here and there, I ask myself, why this time did I listen to him and leave, since I have never listened to him since the age of 14, which he reminded me right before he asked me to take the kids home on the day of his surgery. I didn't think twice when he told me to go, I told him ok, I will.. but I second guessed myself the whole way home and until I found some peace and acceptance, I was second guessing myself. Now, I know it was the right thing to do, both for the kids, for him and for me (for me, financially, though I would have pulled the money out of my rent money to stay longer if I had had to) I'm already not paying the electric bill and gas bill and am crossing my fingers that if I explain the situation they will break the bills up in 3 payments so that we don't get either shutoff. I think they do that once in a while and I've never done it, so if I am correct in my thinking, then I should be ok..
But, I am broke. We have no food and I have no money till the 3rd, so this should be interesting the next few days, especially with the boy who eats 15 times a day and I have no idea where all the food he eats goes, cause he has not one ounce of fat on him. He will eat and eat and eat till I yell at him that he is eating a weeks worth of food, or two weeks worth of after school snacks in one day and he'll just be shit out of luck, the rest of the time when he comes home from school hungry. He just thinks that they food magically appears, at age 13 he really hasn't quite grasped the concept that in order to get food, you must have money and in order to have money for food, you must budget it in and if you spend all the money for the two weeks when you go to the market, there is no more money left for more food. I can't seem to get that through his head, no matter HOW many times I tell him.
I've finally come up against my own mortality. As a kid, a teenager and maybe some in their 20's think, we believe in immortality. Having only faced one death as an adult in my lifetime (I was a child when my grandfather died, but lucky that those in my family live long lives, so I've only really experienced my grandmothers death 4 years ago) and even facing that, my mortality, my life didn't flash before my eyes. I still had some sort of feeling that I would live for a very long time. However, with my fathers surgery and the moment my Aunt said COMA, my life flashed before my eyes, I realized that no one, (and I already knew this, but it was so prevalent all of the sudden) would live forever, including myself and what the hell have I done with my life that was good and honorable and well... adult.
I processed that as well and the truth is, while I've always been a wanderer and have seen every state in the country except Alaska, lived in many different states as well, been to Israel, Egypt and Lebanon for 6 weeks, aside from those things and being a single mother for 18 years and according to my kids, not a very good one at that, I haven't really accomplished much of anything in my life. It's rather depressing actually and my brain has been trying to wrap around all of it.
At the age of 44, I am already tired and wore out and ready to pack it up. My kids keep me hanging on, but really, I just don't want to do anything at all. I try and learn new things, I read tons of books and grow from experiences, however, aside from designing some Indian Casinos logos years ago and raising my kids, I have not left my mark on this world and now I am just to wore out to even attempt to do anything at all. If I could lay in my bed and not ever get out of it again, I would be perfectly content. It's really sad actually. I have a good singing voice but my parents never encouraged me to pursue a singing career, in fact quite the opposite my stepfather would make fun of my voice, so when I finally found karaoke a few years ago, I would want to go on the stage and sing, but kept remembering how I was told always that I had a terrible voice so for 6 months I just watched, until someone begged me to sing a duet with them and I worked up the nerve, letting them know I wasn't any good but would try, only to find that I love it and I was good, according to everyone there that night and now, I go on fridays for karaoke, enjoy myself and am always approached by others telling me what a great voice I have, or I should go on American Idol haha, I'm too old for that and I doubt I'd try out if I was within the age limit. When I was young, I thought I had a nice voice and so did my teachers in junior high, but again, my parents never encouraged me to follow any dreams I may have, mostly they discouraged me from doing things that I thought I would be good at, at least until I was 14 and then I just ran wild, living no where and doing my own thing for a year, before that trip to boarding school for the next year, only to have me return and run wild again from 16 on, when I met the man I would marry and then divorce. I really think that if my parents had given me encouragement, suggestions and supported me with some of the dreams I had, before it was too late, I might have made something of myself. My grandmother would have liked to see me go to college and would have paid for all of it, and she did encourage me,but by the time she got her hands back on me (after having me all the time when I was little and then not as much after my grandfather passed)but by then I was already off on my own at 16 (well, really at 14, though from age 15-16 she talked me into going to boarding school, which I did enjoy and do regret not going back the following year, and finishing high school) instead I returned to the streets of San Fernando Valley and did my own thing, not even getting a diploma till I was 32 when I went and got my GED just to show my father that I wasn't stupid.
My kids think that they have had a difficult life. In some ways they have, with my bipolar kicking up and me going on and off my medications, they have had to fend for themselves many times. But, the one thing that they never experienced was men coming in and out of their lives, since I made a promise when they were very little, that I would take care of them and put my life completely on hold in that area. And I did. Hell, I didn't even begin going out till the boy was 11 or so and even then, I didn't date. I still don't date, but have made a few poor choices in men, as my daughter says, "Mom you don't have one night stands, you have 3 night stands" the few men I have met, only hang out for a few days and then gone. And it really bothers my boy when I have brought men home (2 whole men) and he has made mention of it, so that has stopped. I suppose my greatest accomplishment in life, has been raising these two kids, who for the most part are good kids, all alone and with no child support from either of their dads. But, while it is a good thing and the only thing I have ever done that made my father proud of me, giving him grandchildren, it seems so trivial in the grand scheme of things.
So, while I am at a place of peace and acceptance with my fathers health at this moment, I am down on myself for not doing the things that I had the opportunity to do, especially since my grandmother would have paid for me to attend college and would have helped me out to start my own business if that is what I had wanted to do and I watch my 34 year old brother, live in a million dollar house, owning a company that he started at age 15 and is now rated #1 with Microsoft, but then my sister from my father hasn't accomplished anything either, other than to hook up with a man 2 years younger than my father, because she is incapable of supporting herself. And thinking about it, my mother didn't parent me, nor did my father. My grandmother had the most influence over me, but she wasn't my parent. As I was saying to a friend the other day, I have had to learn by trial by fire, in regards to parenting, since neither one of mine parented me, though by 14 Dad tried, but by then it was too late, so I suppose with those odds and having children that are actually really good kids, who do not behave in anyway like I did at either of their ages, perhaps that will have to be my mark on the world. I could have done worse with them, but all in all they are well balanced, well traveled, loved and more good than bad, where I was more bad than good at both their ages.
I guess, I really have been a disappointment to those who brought me into the world, wow, I see it now. Being rather narcisstic I really never thought about it that way... I think the best thing I have ever done for my father, is to give him grandchildren and that's not much of anything, though he loves them far more than he cares about me or even my sister. They are his prized possessions and he has to often be reminded that I gave birth to them, I am the parent. Something he always forgets as he tries to parent them himself and tell me what to do as a parent... which is humorous, since his parenting skills as I and then my sister were growing up, pretty much sucked, though my sister never wanted for anything, as my lovely (cough) stepmother gave her everything, thus making my sister lazier than me and very high maintance. Heh. Me, I leave my house in my pajamas and don't like name brand clothing or purses or shoes or expensive dinners and blah blah blah, like my sister, who would never be with a man that wasn't very wealthy, because that girl is HIGH maintance... but I ramble again, as always.
So, I have rambled on long enough and will close this with a thank you to all of you who have been reading me and leaving me supportive loving comments. I read them all, but have been lax in commenting back. I haven't read another blog for a week and know I have lots to catch up on, but not today. I think I want to just stay in bed under my covers and do nothing, after all it is Sunday, isn't this the day to rest?