Tuesday, August 26, 2014
My heart is heavy. On Sunday, I sat at my stepdad's side clutching his hand as he breathed his last breaths and watched him slip away. He is at peace and we are in turmoil. This pain will ease and the memories will become pleasant, but right now we are hurting and so very sad.
Friday, August 22, 2014
Fair warning - This blog is regarding the poor health of a family member and contains medical details that may not be suitable for all readers...feel free to skip to the last paragraph if this is you.
My step-dad is back in the hospital. I believe this is the 11th visit this year...third in the last 6 weeks...but I've lost count. First, some history. He's a smoker, an alcoholic and addict (pills). He had acute pancreatitis about four years ago and was diagnosed Type-2 Diabetic at that time - a diagnosis that was probably long overdue. He suffered an ischemic stroke coupled with a heart attack in October 2011, followed by a hemorrhagic stroke just 3 weeks later - on my sister's wedding night - the bleed was the size of a baseball. He recovered as much as he could and did pretty well for a little while...he has some executive functioning impairment, short term memory impairment, and total numbness on the left side of his body, but otherwise was okay. Then depression began to sink in and he started drinking again. Since then he's been on a roller coaster of bad health. Between being unable to properly and consistently manage his blood sugar, continuing to drink and smoke cigarettes, skipping meals (causing his blood sugar to crash) or eating foods that cause his blood sugar to spike, taking too much medication or skipping medications, he's spent more time in the hospital than out in the past 3 years.
This time my sister found him at his apartment unresponsive, hardly breathing, and vomiting blood. It appears that his liver is failing and maybe his kidneys, too. He took 6 bags of fluid intravenously before they got any urine output...it was almost 6 hours later and they were going to start him on dialysis if it continued (it didn't). His urine is very dark brown but the nurses say there's no blood in the urine (probably liver failure), he's intubated and on a ventilator and his blood oxygen was at 93% when I left last night (slightly low - should be 95% or higher), he has more tubes coming out of him than I thought possible. His hands are swollen from the amount of fluids they are pushing through him. If it weren't for him involuntarily moving his lips to drool out the blood collecting in his mouth, he would look dead. At one point my mom and sisters were told that his symptoms appear consistent with a person who ingested antifreeze, but I think that has been ruled out and my sister and brother-in-law said they didn't find anything at his apartment. The cardiologist said he may have had a small heart attack but it could be a false positive because of the kidney trouble; he will do an ultrasound today. We think he may have accidentally (or intentionally) overdosed - my sister said his pupils were just pinpricks when she found him - usually from opiates in our experience. We're not sure exactly what combination of things put him there this time. The worst part is that he was discharged on Tuesday from the Comprehensive Treatment Unit (addiction treatment) in the same hospital - because my sister had found him passed out in his car just a few days earlier.
Even if he does pull through and miraculously recover from whatever this is, there is every reason to believe he will continue on this destructive path until he dies. It's excruciating.
This is really sad and I'm hurting. I'm sad for my two sisters who have to watch their dad deteriorate, for my mom who continues to be there for him even though they divorced years ago, for my kids because he's the only Grandpa they ever knew, for my husband and my brothers-in-law who have to see their wives hurting and are feeling quite helpless, for his lifelong friends who are losing their "brother", for him that he can't see how much we all want him to live and be well. I'm angry at him, even though I understand addiction - I know it isn't a rational disease and he is behaving like an addict - I don't blame him, but I am angry (a subtle but distinct difference). I'm angry that his choices are making me lose another dad...my biological dad died 31 years ago - I was little, but I remember. I watched my dad get sicker and sicker until he died and I don't want to do that again, but that's exactly what's happening. And I'm so sad. Just...sad...
Monday, August 18, 2014
It was a busy weekend filled with lots of unhealthy foods and not enough exercise. After 3 weeks of losing, I'm pretty sure I'll be up at least a little this week, but I'm really okay with it.
Life happens. Two days doesn't negate the two solid months I've done well. And it's in the past. Today I am making better choices. But, more importantly, I am NOT punishing myself for the choices I made yesterday. It doesn't do any good anyway, I can't go back and undo it. Being super strict in order to "make up" for those less than stellar choices only leads to me feeling bad about myself or miserable because I'm hungry or overeating because I screwed up.
So, I've let it go. It happened, it's done. Right now I can make a better choice and keep moving forward. Be kind to yourself - it's magic. :)
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Yesterday I was really down and depressed. It was bad...worst I've felt in a long time. Some of it had to do with consuming too much sugar on Easter, but that doesn't account for all of the feeling. I do feel a little better today and I'll take it. Now I have to do some major damage control at work for all the deadlines I've missed in the last month or two. I know it's my own fault and my actions (or inactions) have consequences, but it's scary. My husband lost his job 2.5 years ago and we are surviving on only my income. I make enough money that if I lose this job, it will be hard to find a similar salary elsewhere. I honestly don't know what I would do if I do get fired. :(
A few days ago, my 6 year old daughter was sad that her friend wasn't playing with her. She asked if she could have a piece of candy and I told her no. She said to me, "but mommy, it helps me feel better". She's just 6 and she already feels the emotional relief of eating! I'm so sad that I've passed this terrible habit on to her. I was so taken aback that I just said "I know, but it's not healthy for you"...could have handled it better, but I didn't know what to say. I need to start being healthy for her and my son, if not for me.
I want to start meal planning so that I know what to make for dinner and we're not just having cereal, hot dogs, or mac & cheese all the time. I'm just not that organized. Often times I don't feel like cooking after working full time. I know I need to just do it. I can ask my husband to help me with it, and he would if I tell him exactly what to do and make sure it's not too challenging. All the resources online have meals my family would not eat, so it's discouraging. I can make a list of things we do eat and start there, but it's hard for me.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Today is the worst I've felt in a long time. Not sure if it's all the sugar I consumed yesterday, or if it's just depression rearing its ugly head again. All I want to do is lay in bed and cry. I am really struggling emotionally lately. I've been eating like crap and haven't exercised at all, so it's really no surprise that I've gained back nearly all of what I lost with my DietBet in November. I feel so overwhelmed by everything in my life and I can't seem to get motivated to do anything that I need to do. My house is a wreck all the time - there's stuff everywhere - and I hate it, but there's so much of it I don't know how to start. I can't even get motivated to do much of anything at work...just the bare minimum. And I'm forgetting things all the time, which makes me look bad. If I'm brutally honest, I'm actually nervous that I will lose my job if I can't get it together but even that doesn't motivate me to get going.
Most of my extended family celebrated Easter together at my aunt's house, which was nice. It's good to see everyone and catch up / visit with them. Seeing my cousins all losing weight and getting healthy is bittersweet for me. I am genuinely happy for them, but it makes me even more self conscious and unhappy with myself.
Things will get better, right?
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