Wow - I can't believe I've been away for so long! This is hard to believe, but my Dad broke his neck! We just got home from the hospital Friday, so we've had lots of chaos, but things seem to be settling down now.
I brought him to the emergency room at Georgetown University Hospital because he was acting really bizarre. I thought he had had a stroke or something. He had actually fallen a few days before but complained of no pain, so we thought we were just lucky. Then his speech as slurred (could be the parkinsons), he was very tired (not unusual), and he was acting manic in his studio. Anyway, after trying to reach his neurologist, I finally decided to have him checked up. A CT showed a broken C1. Further imaging proved that he needed neurosurgery.
There are a million images that have gathered in my head from the 10 days we spent in the hospital, which I'm sure I will convey as they unfold.
Important parts of this story:
My dad is fine and recovering well for someone who is 80 years old.
We took him off of most of his Parkinsons drugs and he is almost symptom free. He was clearly overmedicated.
It turns out he has had a broken neck since May 1, 2007. His orthopaedist decided not to do any further imaging after a CT showed the fracture in his neck. He was prescribed physical therapy which in retrospect endangered his life. I will pursue this issue when my Dad has stabilized.
I have way too much experience with spinal cord injury, so I was filled with dread during this whole fiasco. One of my students was injured at the c4 level and I guided him back to a meaningful existence.
Nurses are the bomb, doctors are the worst.