Posted by: Wagons Ho | November 26, 2016

Challenge Accepted

I have decided that 2016 is Barney from How I Met Your Mother. Just when I think things have calmed down for a minute, or actually have the nerve to think things can’t get worse, 2016 laughs and says “Challenge Accepted”.

I knew these last few months leading up to the anniversary would be tough. But 2016 decided just being tough wasn’t enough.

Let’s start with October, my birthday month. I spent most the month dreading any thought of my birthday. I cringed whenever anyone even mentioned it. I told Marshall, and my friends, I wanted to ignore it this year. I hid the date on Facebook, and locked down my page, just in case anyone remembered without the reminder and wanted to post a birthday greeting. I held back tears as I opened cards from the boys, and hid under blankets on the couch all day. I made it through without completely loosing it though.

October also brought the close of mom’s estate. It was 10 months to the day mom died when we met with the lawyer to have dad sign all the final paperwork. I should have been relieved, dealing with her estate had been beyond painful, but instead I was bawling. I’d like to say it was the relief of finally being done but I think more truthfully it was that we were done. This was the one thing we could still do for mom, the thing we could talk about instead of talking about how much we miss her, the thing we could be mad at instead of being mad that she was gone, this thing that had been with us for 10 months, and now it was done.

Other than my birthday, and the estate closing, we had a fairly quiet month. I thought we were safe for October. 2016 laughed. On Halloween we met with dad’s care team for what we thought would be a planning meeting for his discharge. After all the week before he had been home for a test to see if he could maneuver his stairs. They had started ordering adaptive equipment to be installed. They told him he would be going home soon. We thought wrong. During the meeting we learned that they didn’t think dad would be safe to go home alone. The team felt that he needed 24 hr care. They said that even though they had been telling us he would go home, and making plans for that to happen, they didn’t actually think it would ever happen. To say we were in shock was an understatement. After much back and forth they finally agreed that they were part of the problem with him “needing” so much assistance and they would give him 2 more weeks to show some improvement.

So for the next 3 days dad worked his rear off. He pushed himself to walk farther, do more. He wanted to go home and we were going to make that happen. Then 2016 said “Challenge Accepted” again. On Thursday night, after one of his best days in months, dad got sick. By Friday morning he was in the ICU. By Friday night, as I was on a plane heading there, he was put on a ventilator. He was septic from 2 different infections. It was Dec 2014 all over again (The drama is real ). For the next 3 1/2 days he was on the ventilator and more meds than should be given to any one person. But he turned around. He improved. He came off the ventilator. He moved to the step down unit. He was stable enough I could go back home.

Dad stayed on the step down unit for a week before he moved back to the rehab. He started back in therapy. He had a couple good days. We started talking about Christmas plans again. Then 2106 laughed and once decided not only to accept this challenge,  but to take it up a notch. Last Saturday dad started bleeding into his abdomen. They think it was from a procedure he had the previous day. He was rushed back to the step down unit for blood transfusions. In the midst of all this our old man cat decided it was his time to go. Seriously. So while Jodie (my sister) was at the hospital with dad, who was saying he felt like it was his time, I was at the vet with our cat saying goodbye. 2016 doesn’t play.

And here we are a week later. It’s been 11 months today since mom died. We survived our  first Thanksgiving without her. Dad, who has been in the hospital since Aug, is still in the step down unit, and had to have more blood today. It doesn’t look like he’ll be home for Christmas, or even the end of the year. 2016 accepted the challenge to kick the shit out of me and won. I hope it is done but I don’t want to tempt it to show me what else it can do. Maybe if I hide under the blankets for the next 5 weeks it will forget I’m out here. That’s a challenge I’d love for it to accept.



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