He’s still there.

I think it’s a chronic subdural hematoma. At least that’s what my Internet research points to. I know. I said I wouldn’t diagnose people or animals on the Internet. But I need some answers.

My father was admitted to the hospital last night. This morning he had emergency brain surgery. The MRI revealed bleeding on his brain. That’s why he’d suddenly gotten worse. That’s why suddenly he had difficulty walking. It also may be why his bladder suddenly was no longer under his control. And then there was the shaking. The tremors.

I say suddenly. Apparently this has been developing over the past few weeks.

So they cut a hole in his skull and inserted a tube to drain the blood. To ease the pressure on his brain. To stop more brain cells from dying. My mother said he answered questions appropriately when he awoke from surgery. She then went home so he could rest. Rest his brain. When she went back this evening, he’d been asking for her. Normally, she would never leave his side. But the nurse said he shouldn’t be stimulated.

The traumatized brain needs rest.

This evening he was anxious. Rambunctious, my mother called it. He was trying to pull out the oxygen tubes. She didn’t stay long. She thought she might be stirring him up.

He answered questions appropriately. He was asking for my mother.

He’s still there.

The doctors say he’ll be in ICU for several days, and then he’ll be moved to a regular room. After that, rehab. She seemed surprised when I told her it likely would be inpatient rehab. I reminded her that her eldest son, the one who died in April, had had emergency brain surgery back in 1995 when he fell, drunk, and hit his head. He was life-flighted from the local hospital to the trauma center in downtown Houston. They cut a hole in his skull and drained the blood. The same way they did with my father this morning. My brother spent many months in TIRR. (A famous brain rehab center in Houston.) I visited him often. But he was no longer “in there.” Until one day, after many months, he just popped up. And there he was.

As we talked, my mother warmed to the idea of inpatient rehab. We’re not thinking about the possibility it may be a permanent stay.

As we hung up, I told her to have something nutritious to eat, and to get some rest. I told her she needs to take care of herself and build her strength.

She told me she needs to stay healthy so she can take care of him as long as he needs her.


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