Keith hadn’t felt well for a few days. He had come home early from his shift at a local TV station because he had a migraine so bad he was throwing up on Saturday and hadn’t been able to go in on Sunday or Monday. It was around dinner time on Monday when Keith told me he couldn’t stand the headache pain anymore and asked me to drive him to the ER.
We had been through this before. In March 2015 Keith had been in the hospital because his blood pressure and diabetes were out of control. We had learned that only had 25% kidney function and that he had to be careful and follow the doctors’ orders. Just like every time he was told to change his diet and take his meds, he listened for a while and eventually just did what he wanted and took his meds when he remembered.
But on May 9th it all came to a head. I remember telling him as I drove him to the hospital I wasn’t going to do this again – I was tired of the kids and I begging him to take care of himself so that he stays with us as long as possible. I was tired of him being in a foul mood because he wasn’t feeling well and taking it out on the people around him. I told him he had to start taking care of himself or he could find someone else to do it. It wasn’t nice, but I was really fed up with going through a medical scare because he wasn’t doing what he was supposed to do over and over again.
When we got to the hospital his blood pressure was hovering around 225/150 it would go up a little or down a little, but it basically in that neighborhood. They gave him IV meds for his blood pressure and something for the pain of his headache, and something to help settle his stomach so he wasn’t puking every few minutes. As soon as I saw his blood pressure I knew he was staying for at least a couple of days. Eventually, they confirmed he was going to be admitted.
A short time later they came back in and said that he was actually going to be admitted to the ICU because they couldn’t get his blood pressure low enough for long enough. He was only in the ICU overnight, but it was more than long enough.
He spent 12 days in the hospital. Mostly because they couldn’t get his BP and diabetes under control. Then they wanted to check his heart and his kidneys…it felt like he was going to be there forever. I didn’t bring the kids in every day, as much as they wanted to see their dad, I wanted to keep them on their schedules and getting their homework done. From the way things looked, we were looking at a long road and I wanted to keep things as normal for them as possible.
When he finally came home we thought it was a sign of things getting better. Unfortunately, that’s not how it worked. But that’s a story for another flashback.