Posted on May 17th, 2019
My dad had ankle replacement surgery in the spring of 2015. He was 88 years old and his ankle injury from when he was in the service (some 60 years earlier) had gotten to the point where he couldn’t play golf anymore (this was catastrophic as his golf game and his 5:00 Perfect Manhattan were what he looked forward to most)! He decided that it was time for it to be fixed. His Michigan doctors would not agree to the surgery because of his age, so my dad consulted his doctors in Florida where he and his wife resided during the winters. His surgery went well and he was sent to in-patient physical therapy rehab after. It is there that he received sub-standard wound care and infection set in.(Sepsis and Surgery) We brought him home with orders for nursing wound care and outpatient PT. My sister and I took turns going to Florida to help with his care because his wife had recently been diagnosed with beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
All was going well with his at home wound care and he was given the OK to travel back to Michigan. I took a family leave to stay with my dad and his wife until my dad was ambulatory and able to care for himself. He would not agree to have his wife admitted to a memory care facility so he over extended himself trying to care for her, telling himself that she was fine. We were constantly checking in on them and so were their neighbors. In the weeks that passed, there were falls (he would “forget” to use his walker) and ER visits, he survived all of these. He was becoming more and more exhausted insisting on caring for his wife who now was becoming combative. My sister and I had no legal authority to have her moved to a facility because she was not our mother and my dad was still in denial about her condition. We hired a sitter for his wife who came every day for 12 hours.
The last ER visit was once again for dehydration and pure exhaustion. It was very hard for my father to be incapacitated, even for short periods of time. His mind and his body were not in sync. We got the call that he was going to be discharged home the next morning. However, my sister got a call at 4 AM that he was failing and he was being moved to ICU! WHAT??! Sepsis had set in and even though they were pumping his body full of antibiotics, he was not responding and he was not to recover.
As a retired Chief of the Detroit Fire Department and a war veteran of the United States Navy, he received a hero’s send-off. He never did get that one last golf game in that he was so anxiously awaiting for. I’m sure he’s been playing ever since in the great beyond.