In my last post I explained where I’d be for the coming weeks. Never did I imagine it would end like this.
A few days before Halloween, my dad was experiencing minor chest pains. He was the picture of health until that time. The only time he had ever been hospitalized in his life was in 1955 to have his tonsils removed! At 89 years of age, the only medicine he took was a blood pressure medicine. He volunteered with the hospital auxiliary, the ramp ministry (where a group built ramps over the steps at homes where the resident was unable to navigate the steps), worked in his yard, drove everywhere and lived a totally independent life.
He was having these pains, but drove to his lady friend’s house. She knew immediately something was wrong and convinced him to go to the emergency room. They felt sure he had had a heart attack and transferred him to the “big city” hospital.
A heart cath revealed major blockages and he ended up having 4 by passes. The heart surgery went well. Even recovery for that was good. Heart looked and sounded good. But he got pneumonia and a kidney infection. He had to be trached as well. Still, a few weeks in, he was better enough that the trach came out and he was headed to our hospital for rehab in a couple of days. I left him one day and they called an hour later saying they had almost lost him. He had become septic from the kidney infection, his blood pressure dropped drastically and he had a seizure. Back to the ICU.
He had to be trached again. The massive antibiotics caused C-diff. He just couldn’t recover. I left him on Christmas Eve in stable condition. Two hours later he was gone.
Total hospital time was eight weeks. I spent almost every day of those eight weeks sitting and watching him sleep. I don’t regret a minute of it. It hurts my heart to have to write this, but I feel I need to.
The world lost a great man. He was truly one of the good ones. A rare breed. I saw him really angry one time when I was 13 years old. I’m one of the few people who could even tell if he was annoyed. One of the things I heard over and over when people were paying their respects, was he was such a sweet, sweet man. And he was.
John L. “Leck” Horton
September 6, 1927 – December 24, 2016