Stupid date comes around every month. Without fail. I look up, wonder why I feel blue and BAM there it is – UNLUCKY 19! I was looking at my Facebook feed and the memories sugestion came up. When I looked at everything facebook had collected for this date in history, one post on this date in 2014 I mentioned that it was a tough day and I hoped tomorrow would be better. I have no idea why I felt that way or what happened. But I know why the 19th will forever be a thorn in the side of any day from now to forever! BOOOOOO HIIISSSSS 19!!!
Today is also a day of sixes. I had my 6th chemotherapy treatment today marking the halfway point in my first cocktail of treatments. I feel good except for the red, sore bumps on my very few hair follicles. Mostly where my head rests on the pillow or the band of my hat rubs. Nothing much to do about it but use a gentle soap and some antibacterial cream so…bring on the neosporin and the bald head!
AND – Six months ago today, we said goodbye to my Father. He had gone into the hospital late Saturday night with trouble breathing and general weakness. He had butt-dialed his older brother and did not have the strength to hold the phone to talk. Mom, Dan (his brother) and the EMTs who answered the call, all had to convince my Dad he needed to go to the hospital.
I understand his hesitation. He had been in the hospital from mid April to June 6 because of a motorcycle accident at the YOUNG age of 75. He shattered his leg from the knee through the ankle. They fixed it by running a long rod down the legnth of the tibia and screwing a metal plate to a number of bones in his ankle. He also fractured his hip/pelvis and broke his wrist and pinky on his opposite hand. He tumbled so many times that he does not remember his helmet flying off and his body scraping along the road with enough friction to burn his clothing into his skin and put a couple of painfull strawberrries on his head. When he went home to an empty house in June, he was still not allowed to put any weight on his leg. Makes it interesting to lower yourself onto the toilet with one broken leg and an opposite broken hand. Very tricky business – probably messy too!
I digress – in September of last year, Mom and Dad had both eaten something that did not agree with them earlier in the week. They were both pretty sick for a couple of days then Mom started to get better, but Dad did not. Two (or maybe three) days later, she made the decision and called an ambulance to come get him. She told us and then the next day the hospital called and said they were going to have to intubate him soon so I needed to come down asap if I wanted to talk to him. I arrived about an hour later just as they completed the intubation. I was too late to talk to my Dad. I was pretty pissed. They called me to come, I made arrangements and got down there as soon as I could and still they did not wait. Why did they even call? I had talked with him earlier. He had been on the phone with Mom earlier in the morning and she said he seemed fine. Still wispering, but fine. But when I talked to him around 10am, he could only whisper I could not understand most of what he was saying and needed the nurses to hold the phone. The nurse actually got on the phone at one point and said it was just too hard for him. After my sister called they made the decision not to let him talk on the phone, and then when that changed nothing, they called my Mom to have her ok an intubation.
One good thing is that shortly after I got there, they were bringing him off of the paralysis medication to check to see that they were getting good breath sounds, good oxygenation and all that. They also ran a tube onto his stomach that also came out of his mouth with all kinds of green yuck in it. Looked like old, browning, soggy, spinach chunks in spinach juice. When he came around he was fighting the tube, gagging and moving uncomfortably. He could not see me in the room and seemed to be looking for someone to help. I got up, went to the side of the bed, and put both hands on his chest, I looked him in the eye and he looked at me. I said, “Daddy, don’t try so hard. You have a tube down your throat to help you breath. You have another one emptying your stomach. Try to relax nd let them do their job.” He blinked slowly and nodded slowly up and down. Then I said, “I am so sorry Daddy! I know this is awful, but you are very sick. You must try to relax and let these people help you. I love you!” He blinked and nodded again just as slowly as before. I stayed with him, eyes locked until he began gagging pretty severely and lots of green junk came up through his tube. Then I went out into the hall and grabbed a nurse. They surrounded the bed, checking their instruments, making sure the tube was inserted as far as it was supposed to be, said things like, “I know, I know, I’m sorry but we have to do this.” Then they gave him a sedative and he drifted off to sleep. He was the same the next morning, sleeping, moving at the sound of my voice, but not looking at me, not communicating with me.
That was September 18. ON the way home that night, I had to pull over and curse the universe. I screamed, moaned, cryed (a really ugly cry), slammed my hands on the steering wheel and yelled, “NO! NOT MY DADDY! IM NOT READY!!! I WANT HIM BACK!!! I WANT MY DADDY BACK YOU HEAR ME?!?!?!” It’s just coincidence (maybe) but about 30 minutes after I got home, the main doctor called. MY Dad’s heart had stopped. They had performed CPR and broken some ribs which in turn collapsed a lung. Not only was he not getting better, but now he would need to somehow recover from these new injuries as well. During the course of treatment it was also discovered that his blood was not really giving the medicine to the areas of the body that needed it. The thousands of dollars of antibiotics, blood pressure and other meds were not making it to the areas of need and were not being absorbed. He was not getting better, in fact he had steadily gotten worse. Now with he additional injuries (common when resuscitating especially an older person), it did not look good. He wanted us to plan to come down in the morning and to consider taking him off of the life support systems he was relying on to live.
I did not cry again until my father’s memorial gathering in October. My father was already gone. He left us when I was crying in the car. His heart stopped and he was gone. That fact was confirmed when I saw his body lying in the hospital bed the next day. Yellow and swolen and chapped. Tubes everywhere, chest rising and falling abruptly with the breathing apparatus. What a horrific site. The decision was easy, but I’ll not describe what happened once they turned everything off. I will say this, once it was over and we left the hospital room my husband declared to me that “I do not want you to be at the hospital or take the kids to witness anything like that with me.” and that and he would never be participating in anything like that again. Can’t say I blame him.
So here we are, 6 weeks into chemotherapy, 6 months after the death of my Dad and both on the 19th of the month. Interesting timing don’t you think? Once could go crazy thinking about all of the possible reasons why. “But I can’t think about it now, I’ll go crazy if I do. I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow IS another day.”
Love to you all!!!