Saturday, April 13, 2013

My Dad, My Hero

I don't typically discuss my private life on Plate and Pour, but I need your prayers, thoughts, positive energies, wishes for my dad. He is in the ICU on a ventilator and heavily sedated. We are taking it hour by hour right now.

Right now, I am sitting in the ICU next to my dad, and I feel strongly compelled to write about him.
My dad has advanced idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).  For more information on the disease see this NIH website. It is a very unforgiving lung disease. Idiopathic means cause unknown-- my dad has never smoked or been around second hand smoke. He was diagnosed in 2010, but his disease become more advanced in September 2012, requiring him to use oxygen at home at night while sleeping. He had a dry uncontrollable cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue after routine activities (showering, dressing, etc.).  In February 2013, he started to get tired from walking 10-15 feet and thus, started to use oxygen continuously 24 hours a day.

About a month ago, my dad went to the ER complaining of a severe headache. The CT scan revealed a subdural hematoma requiring brain surgery. What followed was a whirlwind of brain surgeries (yes plural), extubation and ventilator scares, and many nights spent in the ICU.  We spent our time in the ICU eating, telling stories, making dad laugh, and playing a family favorite card game, badam saat or seven of hearts. We were an atypical family in the ICU. The TV was turned on only for the latest episode of "Dancing with the Stars," a favorite show of mom and dad's. Close family friends came and sat with us, brought warm chai and homemade Indian food, and offered to make airport runs. Family from a far sent loving emails for my dad to read on his iPad, lit devos or prayer lamps for my dad, and sent prayers our way. We felt surrounded by love and support from all over the world.

Throughout it all, my dad had his trademark smile on his face, made jokes with the nurses and other staff, and maintained a bright spirit.  The doctors, nurses, and staff frequently commented that dad's incredibly positive outlook and attitude helped him stay strong and fight hard.

Suddenly, on Monday, my dad had extreme shortness of breath and was unable to regain his breath. He was rushed to the hospital and admitted to the ICU. We still do not know why he had the acute episode of shortness of breath. Over the next several days, my dad was very weak and experienced a few repeat episodes. With the help of IV steroids, my dad became a little stronger. Late Friday night, the whole family was with my dad, talking and laughing. Suddenly, my dad had a coughing spell that led to shortness of breath. He wasn't able to regain his breath with coaching, the non-rebreather, or BiPAP. Then the decision was made to put him on the ventilator. Due to the rigidity of his lungs from the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, it was difficult to get him stable on the ventilator. After what seems like an unbelievably long time, he is finally stable, though heavily sedated.

We do not know what will happen next. The doctor said that we will take it hour by hour, and so we are.  Please keep my dad in your prayers and thoughts.
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