Yesterday step-father was moved from ITU to the Stroke Ward. All day he had been really responsive, nodding at me in response to questions, giving me a smile when I came out with some pathetic joke and obviously able to understand ‘commands’. The docs had started him on an anti-convulsant, so he was not twitching and they had passed a naso-gastric tube to enable them to feed him. I was on a high, all the previous gloom and doom had seemed over-kill. ITU was unnaturally quiet and the docs were all sitting round chatting so my sister and I went over to them and asked if they could show us the scans and explain the features. First they put up the scans done when he was admitted and they showed us the large bleed and the brain shift, then they put up the second one showing the large area where the brain had swelled and the effect that the swelling had had on the ventricles, one had been squeezed in and displaced, apparently this is bad.
So yesterday, other than my Mother throwing a complete wobbly, all was wonderful. Yes, once I got home and considered the implications of a large degree of brain damage and my step-dads future abilities, I did descend from my cloud 9 but I was still feeling fairly positive, then I saw him today. Non-responsive, pulse-rate of 170 and having difficulty breathing. The consultant spoke to Mum and told her that they had re-scanned today and discovered that Ref has Pulmonary Embolism, they are not going to treat it. We still went out for Mum’ 80th birthday meal, very subdued and some tears, but we did mark the day. Following the meal we returned to Ref, ready to sit with him through the night, and we were greeted by a responsive man, still on oxygen, still rasping as he breathes but back nodding and, occasionally smiling, so we stayed until 9pm and then came home. No one said that this would be easy but this hope, despair pattern is exhausting.