There’s a new forum I’m posting in called Six Words Saturday. You post something about yourself or your life, or whatever is on your mind using only six words. Not only is this an interesting little concept, but it works out well for me, because I only have time to type about six words.
*Edited to cross out vampire words.
The old man needs many prayers.
This is my husband with his dad, Pete. He is in a hospital in Upstate New York. He had open heart surgery about six weeks ago and has not been well enough to go home. His wife, my husband’s step mother, is relying on friends and relatives to take her to visit him, and it is about a 45 minute drive, one way. We flew up there last week, to visit, in the few days we had off from work.
The doctors keep changing his medication. One day he is “himself” and the next day he is confused, uncooperative and angry, depending on which medication is being given that day. We had a meeting last Tuesday with his doctor, to try and convince him stop experimenting with new drugs and put him back on what was working for him, before his surgery.
You see, what has worked for him, for over forty years, is Lithium. My father-in-law has suffered with bipolar disorder for most of his life.
Very few people outside his immediate family are even aware of this. He is a warm, playful man who loves to tease and tell jokes. A kind man, who plays raspy versions of When the Saints Go Marching In and The Old Rugged Cross on his harmonica, in church every Sunday, with tears in his eyes. A devoted grandfather, who makes a concerted effort to remain in touch with his young granddaughter – when divorce and distance has produced a situation that would cause ordinary grandparents to give up. A loving husband, who allows his wife to make “Ninety-nine percent of all the decisions.” A proud father, who will spend hours bragging about the two sons he raised.
A crusty, determined man, hardworking and tough as nails, who has endured decades of working with dynamite, with crews of other tough men, who carved the highways of Upstate New York out of stone.
That is who he is – when he is on Lithium.
Heart disease and high blood pressure forced his doctors to take him off of lithium this past August, and since then he has been in a confusing, downward spiral.
Bipolar disorder is an unrelenting, powerful disease. I know this for a fact, because the Pete I knew would have never succumbed to anything. This mental illness has raised it’s ugly head again, after all these years, and turned Pete into someone that I barely recognize.
When we met with the doctors, we were able to get them to agree to run some more tests to see if his body could tolerate being put back on lithium. However, since then, he has developed fluid around his heart and lungs. The medication that they will have to use to treat that will prohibit them from being able to give him lithium.
I know this is more than six words. But please, if you are reading this, could you pray? Or send up positive thoughts. Or whatever you do.
I know Pete would appreciate it.