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Can't Believe I've Been Gone So Long


JayT

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Hey y'all. I don't know I've stayed away from here for so long. I miss my friends from here; the people I would talk to everyday and who helped me through my crap. So, most of y'all know I moved to deep East Texas two and a half years ago. My parents built a house on our family's land. We moved down here from Dallas area to be closer to my grandmother. She passed away on November 30, 2019- two days after Thanksgiving. She was up and talking to all of us on Thanksgiving, woke up and ate breakfast on Friday morning, went back to bed around lunchtime saying she was tired, then never woke up again. She passed away on Saturday night around 8:30,. To get my mom's mind off everything, my parents and I booked a cruise on Christmas Eve and went on the cruise during the last week of February (right before the world went to you know what thanks to covid-19). I was working as a bartender at the time and making decent money. Then the state shut down. The restaurant went to to-go's only, but I still got to work so things were okay, except my pay went to about half of what I was making. No one drinking at the bar means no one is leaving tips for the bartender; who depended on those tips to live. Before the shut-down, between hourly and tips I was averaging about $18-$20 an hour. Even after we reopened, due to social distancing, I only made $9-$10 an hour. The company did nothing to compensate for the change in income. Every morning I had to open the bar (even though nobody was allowed to sit at the bar top) I would listen to an audiobook. By the time the doors opened at 11, my earbuds would be out  of my ears and my phone was put away. I had everything set up and ready to go. One morning at the end of August, one of my managers told me I wasn't allowed to wear my earbuds any more at all. I argued that the policy was we weren't allowed to have them while the restaurant was opened (an email I had seen stated that). Well, I refused to take them out, because honestly, listening to the book helped me focus on getting everything done on time. Otherwise, I would get too distracted by other things. I ended up telling to eff off and she sent me home. I asked if I was fired and she said I would have to call my general manager the next day to find out. Turns out, I was fired. 

On September 17, 2020, my mom had triple-bypass heart surgery and had a pacemaker put in. She was released from the hospital on September 22. My dad started getting sick on the 28th with a slight temperature and occasional cough. By Wednesday the 30th, he was no longer coughing and acted like he felt fine. On Saturday night, he finally let on that he still didn't feel well. The next day being Sunday, there was nowhere for us to go to get him tested for covid-19 except the ER, which we decided since he didn't have a fever we didn't need to go there. So, Monday morning on the 5th of October, first thing in the morning, I drove my dad up to the testing center to get him tested. When they put the oxygen monitor on his finger, they were concerned by how low the reading was. They decided he needed to come inside the office and was put on an oxygen tank to try to get his O2 level higher. When that didn't work, they told us he needed to be admitted to the hospital. They told us it should only be for a couple of days, just so they could monitor his O2 level and get it back up. So, Monday around noon, I dropped my dad off at the entrance to the ER at the hospital. He was admitted to the covid-19 unit, so he wasn't allowed visitors. Since my mom was still recovering from her surgery, I contacted the surgeon who told me she also needed to go get tested ASAP. On Tuesday morning, I drove my up to the same testing center. Her temperature was totally normal and her O2 levels were excellent. So, they said they would call us with the results in about twenty minutes. On the way home, we got the phone call from her nurse practitioner saying she was positive for covid-19. We didn't need to worry about anything unless she developed either a fever or cough or had trouble breathing. Thankfully, none of those things happened. But since she was positive and I had been exposed to both her and my dad, we had to quarantine for 14 days. We talked to my dad on his cell phone on Tuesday all day. On Wednesday morning when we spoke to him, he told us he was tired and was going to rest and he would talk to us later. Around five that evening, we got a call from the hospital saying they had to put a chest tube in him because he had a pulmonary ambulism. That night, he was placed on a ventilator. They kept him sedated once he was placed on the ventilator. On Friday, we got a phone call saying they were concerned about his kidney output. On Saturday, they transferred him from the smaller hospital fifteen miles from our house to the bigger one that was forty miles away. On Sunday they started him on continuous dialysis. They finally took him off continuous dialysis and started doing it when needed. We got daily check-ups from his nurses and/or doctors, and were told some days he was improving. However, on days they had to do dialysis, he would have a bad day and the pressure and O2 level on the ventilator would have to be increased. On October 21st, my mom and I were finally able to leave our quarantine. On Friday of that same week on the 23rd, is when we were told the was no change from the previous day. He wasn't worse off than the day before, but he wasn't better either. We were told that everyday till Wednesday 28th, the doctor asked if we were given the opportunity and she was able to pull some strings, would we like to see him in person. 

On Friday, October 30th, my mom and I drove the 40 miles to the hospital. We had to put on full body covers, hair covers, shoe covers, hospital-grade masks, and gloves before they allowed us in a room to see him. That was when we both knew he wasn't going to get better. The doctor (a different one from the phone call on Wednesday night) came and spoke to us while we were in the room. Basically, she told us that since there hadn't been any changes in his condition for a week straight, if we wanted them to turn off the ventilator, they would. She told us that in her opinion, since he wasn't getting any worse or better for so long, she didn't see that changing. We told her we needed to talk about it and we would let them know. She told us there was no hurry to make a decision, we could take as long as we needed. We finally got back to our house around 7 that night. After calling my brother and letting him know what all we were told, we decided to tell them to turn the machine off. We didn't feel like it needed be delayed any further. Unfortunately, since I wasn't on his HIPPA list, I couldn't make the call for my mom (who had only been released from her surgeon's care a week earlier and was told to take it easy and not over-stress herself). She had to tell them turn off the machine. They told us they would call and let us know when he passed; that it could take anywhere from five minutes to eight hours, depending on how strong his heart was able to hold on. Twenty minutes later, they called us back and told us he passed peacefully and let us someone was holding his hand from the time the machine was off till his took his last breath. 

Oh yeah. By the way, my brother didn't come to the funeral. He lives in Austin and works for Texas DPS in the driver's license office. He is married and has five daughters and one son. His wife is a psycho who hasn't allowed me around any of the kids in in the last ten or so years. My brother had an AVM in 1990,, which is an internal brain injury caused from a burst blood vessel in his brain. Supposedly, his doctor told him since he had that injury, he was now at a high risk of getting the disease. So, his excuse for not coming to his own father's funeral was, in my opinion, complete and total bull. If he was at such a risk that he couldn't travel the four hours to pay his last respects to his father, then he shouldn't be going out in public at all right? Well, he has been going to work everyday since the DPS offices reopened. He has been dealing with people the whole time and been exposing himself every time he went in the office. His psycho wife is so paranoid about him bringing the disease home to the kids (who are all homeschooled, never have any contact with other people in social situations even before the world went to crap) he had to sleep on a cot in the garage and wasn't allowed to have any contact with the kids for about a month. He finally convinced her to let him back in the house as long as he takes a shower and sanitizes everything before interacting with anyone. So, my theory is she wouldn't allow him to come to the funeral because she's a paranoid psycho who needs to pull her head out of her ash.  

The whole time my dad was in the hospital, I took care of my mom. I would get her pills for her every morning, afternoon, evening and night. I made her meals for her and made sure she recovered from her surgery and from covid-19 as best she could. Well, given the fact my mom is 71 years old,  had a triple bypass, tested positive for covid-19, and lost my dad, she started having memory problems. Nothing major like forgetting who people were or forgetting to take care of herself. It was little things, like she couldn't remember if she had eaten that morning or if she had taken her meds. When I brought it up with her NP, she said it could be from the stress of losing my dad or she could still be suffering from what they are calling "the covid haze", Even though she was asymptomatic, the disease could still cause a "fog" to form with her memory and the effects of the haze could last for months after she had the disease. So, now I'm a full-time caregiver for my mom. I can't leave her alone. She would have no clue what meds to take or when to take them. I don't think she would even eat. She's not trying to starve herself or anything like that, she would just forget to eat if I didn't prepare a meal for her. 

So, that's what's been going on with me since I've been gone. 

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I’m so sorry for the loss of your dad and all that you and your mom have endured and are still are enduring. 

Take care, Jay. :hug: 

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  • Site Administrator

I'm so sorry to hear about your dad and the struggles you've been having. Take care of yourself and know we're here if/when you need us.

:hug:

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I'm sorry for your loss and everything else you've had to go though. You're a friend and I want to wrap my arms around you and give you the biggest hug I can. :hug:

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