Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A week of terror and chaos



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Originally uploaded by dalehugo.

Shortly after my sim on April 1, I met my wife and kids in Santa Fe for a little shopping. Linda sounded a bit weird on the phone but I was tired so I did not give it a lot of thought. When I met her in Santa Fe, she pulled me aside and gave me some very disturbing news.

The evening before (Friday) my mom had gone out to run some errands. Her part of Northern Texas was having heavy rains and was under constant tornado watch. As she returned at dusk to Nocona, TX, her SUV went over a low water bridge as it had hundred of times before. Only this time the bridge was under water completely and a flash flood was raging across it.

My mom's truck stalled and slid off of the bridge into the creek. It quickly filled up with water up to her neck. She was able to get the passenger window down and get out of the truck before it sank. She swam with the current and held on to a tree. A witness called 9-11 immediately but it took the local fire department between 30 minutes and an hour to get her out because of the location and strength of the creek's current. She was battered and bruised and swallowed quite a bit of water.

She was taken to the local hospital and treated for hypothermia and mild shock. She (luckily!) sustained no major injuries. She was released Saturday morning at 5am, just as I was leaving Los Alamos to run the sim.

It Gets Worse...

After several calls to my parents, we decided I would not go out to Texas. She was safe and although she had a ton of tasks to complete (new driver's license, the truck was totaled and still missing, etc.) I had plenty to do here.

Sunday morning I jogged lightly, ate lunch with my wife and kids, and took a nap.

As I slept, my dad was feeling poorly. He suffers from congestive heart failure brought on by a heart attack 13 years ago and a heart bypass. He has a pacemaker and is on blood thinners but he looked terrible last month when I saw him at Aunt Adele's funeral in Florida. He was ashen and gray.

As my mom played in the kitchen for a few minutes, my father slumped over in his arm chair and passed out.

My mom found him unconscious. She tried to revive him but he would not wake up. He suffered a mild stroke last summer and it appeared he had another one. Another call to 9-11 and the EMTs were back out to my folks, this time bringing my father into to the ER in Nocona. The stroke team stabilized him, took a CAT scan that reveled nothing, and then transported him to a larger hospital in Wichita Falls, Texas. He never regained conciseness that day.

My mom called us (as I napped) as the ambulance crew arrived to take Dad.

That did it. We packed up and the next day we headed out for Wichita Falls, a 600 mile drive. 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 vehicles, and 4 dogs. A long haul. Along the way my mom called. Dad was awake.

Then Dad was talking. And walking. And going to the bathroom. And bitching about the food. I spoke to him on my cell as I drive through the plains outside of Amarillo, TX. He sounded GREAT. No way he recovered from a stroke that fast that completely.

When we finally arrived in Wichita Falls, we found my Dad sitting up in bed. His color was fantastic. He was alert. He was on NO IV drugs, not even a saline drip. He had complete symmetry in his motion. There was no drooping in his face. No stroke.

The cardiologist also confirmed no heart attack. An echo showed his cardiac arteries were still clear. A pulmanologist said his lungs were fine. A neurologist also confirmed no stroke. In every sense he was fine, better than he was a month ago. Except for that nasty part about him passing out for 24 hours...

He went into the hospital on Sunday. He was discharged on Wednesday with no diagnosis.

On Wednesday evening, I found the truck. I forgot to bring my camera so I used my phone to snap pictures (which are on Flickr). It was about 75 yards off the road in the creek. It was up to the windows in mud and stagnant water. Later, I came back with Linda. The water line was easily 15 -20 feet above the creek bed. One hell of a flash flood. My mom was lucky to be alive.

The both were.

A later visit to my father's neurologist confirmed he did not have a stroke. It is suspected that he had a Bazil Seizure at the base of his brain brought on by stress from my Mom's ordeal and the congestive heart failure. It also turns out that my Dad's Coumedin levels were too low and he now is taking a month test to look at the clotting factor of his blood.

They are both doing absolutely fine! Amazing...

We left for Texas on Linda's 50th birthday. And today is my Dad's 72 birthday.

Naturally, I go no training in this last week. And little sleep and lousy eating. The race is this Saturday. I will train very lightly this week. But the alternative was a lot worse.

We packed clothes for my Dad's funeral as we left New Mexico. I am glad we did not need them!

Love and Sweat,
Dale

1 comment:

Tri-Bob said...

Dale-

My prayers remain with your family through this time.

God Bless,

Tribob