Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bastille Day, 1988

Links and other things are down at the lower left hand side of the page - I'll correct that tonight...

The dated entries are a diary of my grandfather's illness. His journey began in 1985 after having eleven pints of blood transfused over a three day period, following surgery for an aortic aneurysm. He symptoms (fatigue, weight loss, sores that wouldn't heal) began in 1987, but were very subtle and were dismissed as part of aging.

On Bastille Day of 1988, my husband and I took my grandfather to the hospital. He had recently lost a few pounds, which I thought not unusual for him during the summer since he was outside in the garden or riding his bike to the store. He was very short of breath though and had a fever of 102. Even without a stethoscope it was obvious his lungs were raspy sounding.

We waited in the emergency room for only a few minutes because the triage nurse thought my grandfather (who I called Bamps) looked very pale and ill. About 20 minutes after waiting for word from a nurse saying my husband and I could come back to the examining room, a nurse did come out and said my grandfather was being admitted to the progressive care unit, into an isolation room. He appeared to have pneumonia, and possibly some sort of bacterial infection of the lungs as well. He would have more tests, the results of which could take a couple of days.

When my husband and I went to his room, before we could go in we had to put on a gown and mask as a precaution. The doctors weren't sure what he had yet. Bamps' spirits were still good, although he was very fatigued, and really just wanted to sleep. He was also adamant that we not hover around him in the hospital. Since visiting hours were limited, our hovering ability was greatly reduced.

It was early evening by the time he settled in and the doctors said all they could tell for sure is he had pneumonia (what type they weren't sure yet), some odd skin lesions, and thrush. Dr. S, my grandfather's primary physician, said that by the next afternoon they would have some answers. In the meantime, my grandfather would be in isolation, receiving IV antibiotics and fluids, along with a host of other medicines.

Hank and I went home and I called my mother to give her the news. At this point all we could do is wait.

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