Life changes, just like that

January 8, 2018

in Uncategorized

My dad is in the ICU. And I feel as far away from normal life as I am from my home in Stockholm.

Dad went into the hospital in December for five days and got out on December 21. Then he went back into the hospital again via ambulance on new year’s eve. On Friday January 5 just before six in the morning, we got a call from the hospital asking for permission to do an emergency procedure. That’s when things changed. It turns out that he had a hole in his bladder. The surgery went well and he was initially doing well in recovery. Then he lost responsiveness briefly and he’s been in the ICU ever since. We regularly get told that he is very ill. And we struggle to comprehend when doctors tell us that he might not make it through the night.

Just as we struggle to leave the hospital in the night, staying, watching him breathe, willing him to live. Then we go to bed dreading a phone call. I call the nurse first thing in the morning, hoping that he had a good night, expecting that he did not.

It feels like an eternity. The days both seem endless and also like they pass before I know it. It’s all consuming. And it’s also exhausting. But we keep on going.

Every day is filled with new terminology and hard-to-spell medical terms to decipher and figure out what they mean. Just when we think we are making progress, that he is improving in some way, then we find there are several other issues to deal with. I am in awe of all the tubes, wires and machines that are attached to my Dad to monitor him, to give him medicine, to keep him alive. Yesterday when he was taken for an MRI and CT scan, it took a team of four about 30 minutes to get him ready for transport. The dedication of his doctors, nurses and assistants is amazing.

Because he has multiple infections, we must all put on a mask, gloves and gown before going in to see him. At first, we struggled with figuring out how to get all the gear on. It has quickly become second nature. We still laugh at how we look in our costumes, however. And I am continually and obsessively washing my hands as soon as I strip out of the gear.

There’s no time for any sort of normal life outside of the hospital, to stop for groceries, run errands, put air in the car tire. I long for a workout, cooking a good meal, outings, walks, time with friends.

More than that, I long for my Dad to be off the ventilator, for him to be able to speak to me, for him to be well. I long for the hospital to not be normal life. But we get up, shower, have breakfast and go to the hospital.

We are grateful for the kindness that makes this strange world easier to naviage– the meals, visits, texts and calls. Today we were beyond happy to avoid hospital food thanks to a  pot of chicken soup from my parent’s next-door neighbor. How awesome is that? Because yes, hospital food does suck. And I am astonished by the lack of healthy options in the cafeteria.

Yesterday, my Dad fully opened his eyes for the first time in days. Joy! Today, we hope that he can have the ventilator off so that he can breathe on his own and speak to us. Most of all, we hope.



1 Roger January 8, 2018 at 15:26

We keep our fingers crossed for your dad and hope he will be out fishing in the spring.
//Roger and Nici

2 Lola January 8, 2018 at 15:42

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Lola + Urban

3 Marilyn January 8, 2018 at 15:44

Sandra, sending love and thoughts for you and your family.
Our hearts are with you. We know this is beyond painful.

4 Carole Henderson January 8, 2018 at 15:55

Dear Sandra,
I am sending good thoughts and prayers for your father your way – I am hoping for a positive outcome – thinking of you in these difficult times.

5 Jodi January 8, 2018 at 16:05

Dear Sandra. You know that I know this road. Sending you kove, prayers, courage and strength. With love, Jodi

6 Sandra January 8, 2018 at 16:08

Thanks Roger and Nici. That’s exactly what we are hoping for too.

7 Sandra January 8, 2018 at 16:08

Thanks Lola. We appreciate that.

8 Sandra January 8, 2018 at 16:08

Thanks for your kinds words. They mean so much.

9 Sandra January 8, 2018 at 16:09

Carole: We are as well. Thank you.

10 Sandra January 8, 2018 at 16:09

I’ve thought of you a lot through all this Jodi and know that you are all too familiar with the journey. Thanks.

11 Judy January 8, 2018 at 17:02

Happy for the good news at the bottom. Hopefully a corner has been turned. Sending our prayers and positive thoughts. Hugs

12 Brooke January 8, 2018 at 18:39

Hi Sandra, like Jodi I have been down this road with my Dad as well. And like my Dad, I hope your father will recover and be home soon. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers dear friend. Hugs to you.

13 Mary Jackson January 8, 2018 at 20:12

So sorry to hear about your dad. We will be thinking of you and yor family. Hugs, Mary

14 Judy Petersen January 8, 2018 at 20:29

Feel my big, warm, firm HUG of understanding. Yer pal on Stockholm’s east side, J

15 Susan January 8, 2018 at 22:04

I’m so sorry to read about this. So so hard – I’m sorry you have to go through this. Thinking of you and sending love ❤️

16 Julie Wilbourn January 8, 2018 at 22:19

Hi Sandy (to me you’ll always be Sandy),
I’m sorry to see this about your dad. The good surgery gone awry plus all the medical speak is blindsiding. The worry makes it hard to go to bed at night & harder to get up in the morning. It sucks (not typically my go-to word, but is authentic in a case like this). But, the good news is you’re with him – keep letting him know that, it makes a world of difference (regardless of the outcome). And your family is supporting each other – that’s huge. And while you may be afraid to leave him for a bit, it’s OK to take care of yourself too & go for that walk outdoors (if there’s something he wants you present for, he’ll wait for you to return). The Wilbourns are sending all good thoughts & prayers the Carpenters way, hoping open eyes is the first step to your dad’s full recovery. <3

17 Marie-Louise January 9, 2018 at 15:12


Oh dear… I’m so sorry for you all and I’ll be sending positive thought to you. Lot so love


18 Suellen White January 9, 2018 at 15:51

I’m sending energy, strength and love. Give it to your dad. Thinking of you.

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