About 3 months ago on September 9th our dad came down with a really bad sore throat. He followed the normal procedures of going to his family DR and getting it checked out. The strep throat results came back positive and he was given an antibiotic. Not thinking anything of it our dad went about his normal day, and by Friday September 11th he could no longer swallow. A bump formed on the side of his neck, which was later diagnosed as an abscess on the inside of his throat. He went to the hospital that Friday and was omitted to stay. Because he was unable to swallow he was becoming very dehydrated which caused him to be hooked up to fluids and an antibiotic for the abscess. This all seemed like too much to wrap our heads around! This started as a sore throat and suddenly our dad was in the hospital hooked up to machines and couldn’t swallow!!? This didn’t settle well with any of us so by Wednesday September 16th we were all bedside at the hospital.
The abscess that formed on the inside of his throat was extremely infected. This abscess began to leak, which then caused his blood stream to become infected. This leak was caught too late and everything happened in the blink of an eye. Suddenly our dad was being put into a medically induced coma, and getting every and any machine hooked up to him including the ventilator. It was very tough seeing him like that and only hanging on to hope and prayer. Not being able to hear his voice or see his eyes open for over a month was the scariest and most helpless experience in any one of our lives. This infection began to take over his body, eating through veins and destroying pockets of tissue. Once they were able to get the infection under control things became a bit more bearable. The hospital decided putting a trache in his throat would be the next best step, this would help him swallow, breath, and communicate easier! (Thankfully this was only a temporary move and since then the trachea has been removed and the hole has healed nicely.) The coma our dad was in ended up lasting a little over a month, he was awake just in time to see his grandkids dressed up for Halloween!! (That was an awesome moment to witness) Throughout this nightmare, our dad was moved from a local hospital to UPenn in Philadelphia because he was in need of the best care around. UPenn was just that! We could never ever thank them enough for saving our father's life and keeping him here with us.
About a month ago our dad was moved to an in-patient rehab facility. He was making such great progress they decided he was ready for out-patient. They told him for every day he was ‘down and out’, it will take four days to recover! We have a bit of a road ahead of us. However, we are all ready to wake up from this horrible nightmare and get our dad back to where he has to be. His current state is good, but not great. He has Physical Therapy a few times a week and they come out to the house and work with him. He also has a speech therapist, swallow therapist, and an occupational therapist. My mom is currently on a ‘family emergency leave’ from work, an unpaid one at that! With this being said our dad is very weak right now and totally dependent on our mom. (not to make a bad story worse, but our mom broke her wrist last week and is currently in a cast with minimum movement..someone needs to take care of her!)
They say when it rains its pours, and they sure are getting a storm. We are trying desperately to move this dark cloud from over my parents and keep them afloat! Positive attitudes and encouragement are the ways we are trying to cope, but it gets tough when it is one thing after the next for them. With the 2 ½ month stay between hospitals and rehabs the medical bills are out of this world. On top of that, our dad is out of work along with our mom; so even the everyday bills are stacking up. We have to give them credit for holding it together and showing us the true meaning of love and support.
We know it is a tough time of year with the holidays and the last thing we wanted to do was reach out for financial support. However; my parents need it right now! Even if the only thing you can spare is $5, every last dollar adds up and can help put a dent in some of these bills hindering over their heads. As if the phone calls, text messages, private messages and cards were not enough – we would be forever grateful for any donation. If you don’t have the donation to spare, please keep my parents in your thoughts and prayers that this dark cloud moves from over them soon. They deserve it! :)
Have a great holiday season, and thank you for taking the time out to read our story.
-David, Ryan, Caitlin.
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