Day 056 – Melbourne, FL – Setback

I called my Aunt last night from Lynn’s house to see how she and my Uncle were doing and it sounded like they had a good night.  Their friends came over with a delivery from Duffy’s, a restaurant chain that make really good ribs, and they had a good view of the city’s firework show from the hospital room. My Aunt also said that he got up and walked around the hospital floor

I got to the hospital mid morning and I could see that my Uncle wasn’t doing as well as he was when I saw him on Thursday. He was dozing on and off and when awake he looked pretty tired.  My Aunt went back to the house to freshen up and I stayed behind. A nurse came into the room to set-up a nebulizer (medication delivered by inhaled mist) and was cheerfully claiming that today he would be discharged and transferred over to the rehabilitation center. I could see the discomfort on my Uncles face as she was talking about the transfer and the idea that he would be discharged was distressing to me. I thought there was no way they could move him, but learned soon after that it was a conditional discharge. After getting through the medication we spoke for a while and mentioned that he was tired of the fight and he wanted to rest now. My writing can’t do his accent justice, but he said to me, “Adam, too many fronts. It’s too much for me to fight.”

I have always admired his determination to enjoy life even with all he had to do to keep himself going so it was tough to here him speaking this way, but I also could understand why he was saying it. The plan has been to get him healthy enough so that he could return to rehab and eventually go back home. With the discussion we had with the head nurse at the rehabilitation center, we thought enough would to be done to make sure he was comfortable. Even though we relayed that to him and he read and approve the sign about his oxygen he has been wavering about wanting to return.

After talking to the nurse and watching my Uncle as he dozed back off I started to lose it and had to walk outside to get some air. I’ve managed to be upbeat until today, but I started thinking for the first time that my Uncle would not be going home and had a good possibility of not leaving the hospital. I managed to keep from totally breaking down until I got outside. Luckily, it was early morning and no one was around so I distracted myself by catching a lizard while sobbing. I was on my hands and knees moving the wooden table and chairs around until I finally got ahold of him (pic) and my eyes dried up. I’m a big fan of trying to do something while crying. It may look stupid, but I find it easier than just cradling my head.

While I was sitting there playing with the lizard this young guy comes out and sits with me to take a smoke break and we get to talking. He’s in his early twenties and was in the hospital because he got hit by a car, but seemed to be doing good. He was asking my advice on what he should do about leaving his current girlfriend that he still loves and has just had their baby. He didn’t want to raise the kid in a house where there was a lot of arguing. He was also upset that she didn’t come to the hospital to see him whereas another woman, that has liked him for sometime, did take off work to come down and see him. So should he be with this other girl or stay with the mother of his child? I told him relationships take a lot of work and if you love someone try and work it out – like by going to a relationship therapist or something. He showed me some pictures and both his kid and girlfriend are good looking – for as much as that matters. He also has a kid by another woman so hopefully he grows some backbone and decides to work on his current relationship.

I have been very careful to be as neutral as possible with everything that is going on with my Uncle. I feel my role is to clarify information, run errands, remember stuff and provide comfort, but not advise. When my Aunt Helen has bounced some various scenarios off me – home care, slow rehab, aggressive rehab and hospice (if it comes to that) I thought through the implications of each with her. I have been in meetings between her and the case manger that coordinates discharge and transfer of patients taking notes and being a second set of ears. In light of how he’s doing today my thinking is split between – he’s tired from the increased activity from the past couple of days, but will recover and thinking seriously that it’s time to look at hospice options.

My Aunt came back a little later and we all watched a documentary titled Videocracy by Swedish-Italian director Erik Gandini. It’s about the influence Silvio Berlusconi has had on Italian television. He was Primer Minster from 2001 to 2006 and 2008 – 2001. During that time he also had either direct control through ownership or indirect control through his role in government to greatly influence 90% of Italian television stations. Critiques content he has allowed for gratuitous nudity (veline – which are scantily clad women that stand next to television presenters) and a lack of critical political dialogue on television. The three main characters it explored were varying degrees of hilarious, outrageous and disgusting.

I stayed again tonight and instead of having problems with knocking out the tube from the mask my Uncle struggled with it riding up on his face to the point that the bottom was in his mouth. Often when he sleeps he dreams that he is cooking. So his hands will be moving like he is chopping vegetables, adding salt and spices and of course tasting the food as it is being prepared. When he tastes the food he chews and that action causes the mask to ride up on his face about every 20-30 minutes. There was a lot of sleeping cooking during the night.