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August 23, 2006: Dodging bullets

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In the middle of this thing that is going on with my father, the rest of life still must go on. That means going to work (and jumping every time the cell phone rings), and doing laundry, and paying bills, and scooping litter boxes, and dealing with cats who need medical attention too. Yesterday morning I dropped Sebastian off at the vet and then had two reasons for leaping for the phone every time it rang. Since he is nearly 15 years old, going under anesthesia is a risky thing to do, so I was half afraid that the vet would call to tell me that he didn't make it through the surgery. But despite my worries he came through just fine, although he now has no more teeth at all (before this he was only down to his four front fangs, so it wasn't like he had a lot left to lose). I picked him up from the vet last night, drove home, deposited the growling, wobbly cat into the upstairs bathroom and shut the door on him so he wouldn't hurt himself, and then turned around and drove back to Sacramento to go to the hospital, because after Monday's not-so-good news, I needed to see him and reassure myself that he was doing better.

And yes, he is doing better. They've got both an occupational and a physical therapist visiting him now, both of whom were able to push him to a little more progress with his right side. Now that he is coming out of the drug-induced fog he was in all weekend, he stays awake a little longer and can carry on actual conversations. And today when I arrived I discovered that he is doing so well that he finally could be transferred out of ICU. So as of this evening he's been moved to a more 'regular' hosptail room; even better, they've removed all but one of his needles and tubes. He looks less like a Borg and more like a normal person.

I have decided that all of the crazy roller coaster of the last few days has all been to prove to us just how lucky my dad really is. Bcause of the stroke, they did an ultrasound on his carotid arteries on Tuesday, and followed that up with an MRI this afternoon, and discovered that they are both full of plaque, and the left one is seriously, almost dangerously, constricted. Basically that stroke could have happened at any time and it is only a *very* lucky coincidence that it happened now, and was mild enough that he's going to recover, but serious enough that they ran these tests. So now we know that the problem is there and they can treat it, eventually, somehow. I catch myself thinking about what *could* have happened - because it sounds like the stroke was inevitable, and likely sooner rather than later - and it is really hard to stop myself from going down that self-torturing mental path.

So instead I am focusing on the mundane things of life. Emptying and reloading the dishwasher. Feeding and medicating an extremely pissed off (and now toothless) cat. Figuring out a way to finally get a good night's sleep, now that one more hurdle has been jumped and we are all one step further down this (very long) path until we can put this whole thing behind us and (oh, please) never have to go through this again.

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