Saturday, January 20, 2007

Life with Dad.

It's all about that this week. He was scheduled for surgery next week to remove a cancerous tumor from his colon. But when the dr.'s gathered that he was having abdominal pain, they moved the surgery up a week. This, after fooling around for over a month - he was diagnosed in November. So all the schedules that had been re-arranged to accomodate Dad's surgery were all for nought. I ended up taking the day off on Tuesday to take him to the hospital (40 minutes away) and spent exactly 12 hours there. He never got back to his room until 10 p.m. But it was a blessing that he got back there at all, with having a bad heart and all.

Wednesday Chris and I went to visit as soon as I got home from work. He was doing remarkably well - at that point not even 24 hours after surgery. He was like "super Dad". Pretty hyper and a bit confused. We were able to speak with the doc at around 8 p.m. He said the tumor was much larger than they realized. And he had a cement-like abdomen from a previous colon surgery (to remove a cancerous polyp) years ago. In fact, he said Dad's bowel was obstructed. (Hence the pain he'd been feeling of late and, probably the source of "gut" pain he's complained of for years...) So we do expect Dad will be feeling much better overall after the surgery heals. He ended up with an ostomy, which we knew. The doc knew we were also concerned about spreading, but couldn't tell us anything yet. He said the tumor was years old, so I don't see that as a good sign, that, and it's size. We'll have to see on that one.

Thursday, my BIL, Bob, visited and said Dad was experiencing a lot of confusion. The nurses ended up calling the family Friday to see if we were ready to bring him home and, though we initially thought this unreasonable, it turned out to be the best choice. Being very confused and hallucinagenic is not uncommon in the elderly after surgery and during a hospital stay.

On Friday, I worked from 8-1 so that Chris and I could go right down (we thought when my earlier hours were planned that we would only be visiting Dad for the afternoon in the hospital) and, though we were reluctant to bring Dad home at first, we soon saw that he was not only doing amazingly well physically, but was REALLY messed up mentally. So we agreed it was best to get him home and in his own familiar surroundings and bed. Chris's sister, Beth, was to come for a week on Saturday, so Chris spent the night with Dad and I came back down in the morning to be there when he woke up and to meet his needs.

Dad did fine and after a fitful beginning, did get some good sleep. Slept til about 11 a.m. He was much more himself - and more in pain after not having meds since the wee hours - so I drugged and fed him and then brought him over to Chris's sister, Kellie's, to stay for the rest of the day. Don't know yet when Beth will get in - today or now Sunday, due to some snow showers.

All in all, I'm so glad that Chris and I were available for Dad this week. We love him dearly and are very concerned about his care and recovery. (Yes, we got taught how to care for his "ostomy" bag and etc. It's not too bad, but I can hardly believe that I'm all caught up with the bathroom needs of yet another parent - the second within a month!)

Being back in my own cozy little den now, though, is very welcome. I have a few things to get ready for church tomorrow and then I am going to totally "crash" in front of the tube. My sweet little Rocky is curled up on my lap even as I'm blogging - keeping me warm since the fire got pretty low with Chris gone overnight.

I think Dad will recover nicely from the surgery. In fact, as I said before, he'll probably be feeling better than he has in a long time. The next hurdle will be facing whether or not the cancer has spread and what to do about it. As the doc said, it's a philosophical question as to whether or not you give chemo to an 83 year old man with a bad heart.....We shall see.

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