Lessons Learned

It is humbling to realize how many people are out here, floating about in the blogosphere, who will take the time to try and make a little bitty redneck girl feel better.

For all the well wishes, good thoughts and prayers you sent in my direction, and that of my father's, I thank you. I really, really thank you. All of you. For every key stroke you sent my way, I want you to know it helped. It all helped.

My dad is doing much better. As of yesterday, the doctor's pronounced him stable and took him off the critical list. It was a good day.

Strike that. It was a great day.

Sitting in that ICU room, day after a day, brought back a lot of memories. Some pleasant, other's not so much. But as I struggled with my fear and my memories, I realized something. I would survive this. Even if my dad didn't.

I do wish, however, he had chose another month; a different time, to get sick. With my Shalebug's first year anniversary of his passing approaching in less than two weeks, I really didn't need a reminder of how fragile life is. Or how cold October could be when standing at the edge of a grave in a pretty cemetery.

But now that my dad is fighting to return to his old, ornery self, I thought I would take the time to share with you, dear internet, some of the things I have learned these last two weeks, while sitting in various hospitals, staring at my dad and my husband.

First off, I know now, that no matter how sick my husband is, how legitimate that illness is, I will still be annoyed with him for getting sick in the first place. Heaven help him, he can do no right. I would apologize for this, if I thought I could change this about myself, but since he tends to be a big baby and I tend to be a heartless woman, I'll just choose to accept this quirk about myself.

Secondly, the ICU is a scary place. It doesn't matter how cute the male nurse named Todd looks in his green scrubs, the beeps, tubes, machines and smell of death is still scary.

I learned septic shock accounts for 25 percent of all ICU bed utilization in North America, with a mortality rate of greater than 70 percent.

I learned the leading cause of death in non-coronary ICU patients is septic shock. I learned that sepsis is the tenth most common cause of death overall, in North America.

I learned that watching a dialysis machine take urine out of blood is truly a miracle. Especially when you are packing around a fussy six month old baby who shuts up (finally!) to watch the whirring and beeping of said machine.

I learned it is always funny, no matter how many times I see it, to see an old man waddle about with his back side hanging out from a hospital gown. I also learned an old man's rear is not near as pretty as a thirty year old man's.

Sadly, I learned that watching your father fight for his life, while very scary and humbling, is not nearly as scary as watching your child fight for his life. There is still nothing scarier than rushing to emergency with your sick child in your arms, only to walk out of the emergency room hours later with nothing but a plastic bag in your hand.

I also learned that hospital food is never palatable, my annoying aunt is even more annoying in the face of great crisis and that as screwed up as my family really is, we really love each other. Warts and all. Even when my 6'4" brother hogs the tiny sofa and snores like a lumber jack. Even when my sister uses my toothbrush and deodorant with out asking. Even when my mom shoots pop out of her nose, thereby spraying me with it. Yummy.

I learned there is no better sound than that of my dad finally being taken off the ventilator and telling the nurses he is going to shove his boot up their asses when he gets out of this god forsaken place.

I learned how blessed I am. No strike that. I remembered how blessed I really am. I already knew I was blessed. I just forgot it momentarily.