More soon about our vacation journeys, I promise.
On Tuesday night I took Blake and Ava camping at Roaring Springs. Courtney was working that night, so my parents offered to let Jack stay with them to make the trip a little easier on me. As we settled into our sleeping bags, Blake wanted to tell scary stories. He went first, and told a story about a witch who brought a haunted sunken pirate ship up from the bottom of the ocean. I decided to go with a classic, and told them the story of the hook-hand hanging from the car's mirror. Then it was Ava's turn.
"Once upon a time, there was a princess who liked to ride horses. And she had a nightmare. She was hurt and scared, and her daddy couldn't help her."
There was more to the story, but that opening stayed with me. What's scary to Ava is thinking of situations where Daddy can't help. I held her in my arms as we went to sleep that night.
We returned home the next day and picked up Jack, and my dad mentioned that he felt like he'd sprained his knee, because it was very sore. My mom called me Thursday morning to see if I'd help her take him to the doctor. His knee was swollen to the size of a cantaloupe, was bright red, and radiated heat. The doctor diagnosed him with cellulitis, an inflammatory skin condition, prescribed antibiotics and painkillers, and released us. We were still worried, but felt like we at least had a handle on things.
Two days later, things had not improved. I called my mom to check on him, and while we were speaking, he tried to get up and fell to the ground. He managed to get up but fell again. Mom called an ambulance and took Papa to the hospital, where he was up all night being moved around and having tests.
This morning Papa's organs started going into failure, especially his kidneys. His heart went into atrial fibrillation, his platelet count dropped through the floor, and his blood pressure was very low. When a surgeon visited, they quickly diagnosed the problem as necrotizing fasciitis, flesh-eating bacteria. They took him to surgery almost right away.
And then the surgeon came to the waiting room to speak with us. They removed all skin, fatty tissue and muscle from below his knee to his hip. They're pretty sure they got ahead of the infection, but may still have to do more surgery. She kept talking in terms of "if he lives," and tried to prepare us for the chance that he might have to lose the leg in order to survive. None of us can believe how quickly this has all happened. We still don't really even know what caused the infection, but right now my father is sedated and fighting for his leg, and his life. Even in the best case scenario, he'll probably be recovering for three to four weeks in the burn ICU, where there are more sterile conditions.
I had a nightmare. My dad was hurt and scared, and I couldn't help him. I couldn't help him.