Right now, my outdoorsy, nature-loving, almost-daily-hiking, bear-talking-to, Harley-Davidson-riding Dad who can usually out-do most men half his age in just about anything physical, is stuck in the hospital.
I took this photo about a week and half ago when my dad stopped by on his way to have an MRI done. He has been having some weird health issues lately, particularly with slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. Recently these issues have gotten significantly worse. He has been mostly unable to eat due to problems with swallowing, and has lost weight and become weak. His speech is so slurred he is very difficult to understand. After weeks of doctor visits and tests, he still had no diagnosis, no course of treatment, and absolutely no idea what was going on. Finally, he decided he couldn’t wait any longer for answers, and drove himself down from the mountains early Sunday morning and asked my sister to take him to the emergency room at Emory University Hospital. He was dehydrated and his sodium and electrolyte levels were very low, so they admitted him. While he’s there, they are running tests and getting his records from the other doctors he has seen recently so that we can find out exactly what is causing these problems.
It’s Wednesday and he is still in the hospital; he is no longer dehydrated and his fluid levels are getting back to normal, but we’re still waiting on a diagnosis. His is a perplexing case. Gaggles of doctors come in every day to examine him, ask questions, and run more tests. It’s possible all of this is related to the fact that his medications (for pituitary disease) have been out of whack for years, so they are also working on getting all of that straightened out and properly managed. Or it could be due to an illness last year, when his sodium levels dropped lower than any of his doctors have ever even heard of because most patients would have died if their sodium dropped to the level his did. Or it could be a number of other possibilities, some of which are scary. We just don’t know yet.
I’m praying for answers, and for effective treatment of whatever this is.