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My story...kinda long.

Forum: Loss of a Parent


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August 30th, 2009, 05:38 PM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
Posts: 10,098
My dad's health had been failing for years without us really seeing it. He had diabetes from a young age and was insulin dependant. He smoked from the time he was 12 until he was about 30. He was a big guy with a big heart and would do anything for anyone if he could. He volunteered at the old age home my grampa was at before my grampa passed away and continued to do so, it gave him something to do and he got to meet lots of people. Everyone enjoyed him there. About 5 years ago they saw a spot on his lung and didn't do any further testing, watched it and nothing happened so left it alone. He ended up having COPD and fought pneumonia for the last 3 years more often than we thought he should have however the doctor didn't seem worried about it. After quite a few xrays they realized the spot on the lung had disappeared, huh? disappeared? So they were happy about that, and said no reason to worry about it now. In December of 2008 he got pneumonia again but it wouldn't go away. They put him on more antibiotics and one more puffer (he was already on one for his COPD). A month went by still wasn't going away, the antibiotics would make him feel better but it was still lingering and he always had issues with breathing so he went to the doc again. Another stronger antibiotic and a stronger puffer. Still no change the next month. Again he went to the doc who again put him on a stronger antibiotic but didn't change his puffer he just had to take it more often. Then April of this year Easter weekend actually my parents were planning a trip to come and see us; my dad hadn't been to visit us for 3 years and they were due for a trip. He was determined whether the cough was gone or not to come. 5am that Thursday morning my mom called me saying she had to take my dad to the hospital because he just can't breathe (nothing unusual) but that she wanted to get him checked out again because something wasn't right. My dad fought with her and fought because he knew that if he went he wouldn't be coming out for a bit and then he wouldn't get to come and see us. My mom promised that if they could fix it with something else at the hospital, they would leave first thing the next morning. He was satisfied with that. When they got there my dad went into respiratory arrest. They got him breathing again and got him into the xrays to see what was going on. They also did a CT scan to see some more. The doc came in a while later (after he went into respiratory arrest another time) and said that there is fluid in there, but it wasn't fluid inside the lung it was between the two linings in the lung. He was going to wait and do some other tests before he drained some and send that off for tests. My dad went into respiratory arrest again and the doc made a quick decision and drained the fluid before those tests happened because something had to be done. They drained off 2 L from his lungs and sent if off for tests. They did countless MRI's, CT scans and xrays all the while we waited for the results from the fluid. They were testing for cancer cells to see if its cancer, just as a precaution the doc said. We were shocked but kept our cool because we thought ah it can't be so we moved on. That was the 9th of april that he went in. On the 15th at 9 at night my mom called me and told me that they got the results back from the fluid and that it wasn't good. The fluid came back as cancer. The mysterious black spot that disappeared was actually adenocarcinoma and the fluid was caused from this spot that they said was gone was actually still there. They would wait for more info and talk in the morning to see whether it was primary or a secondary cancer and what route they were going to take. The next day April 16th (my baby sister's birthday) i went home for a job interview and once i got off that plane, my mom told me that it was terminal. The doc told her that he was only going to live 18 months with chemo and radiation and to remain optimistic that we were going to be given that time and maybe a little more. We were all in shock. This was not anything we ever prepared for. We always thought it would be the diabetes or the complications from that would take him and not at 66. So I went and did my job interview and then right after i went to visit him for a couple hours. He looked worn out, tired. His hair needed to be cut. He was happy to see me and was in great spirits considering the news that he got. We joked and i held his hand while we talked until it was time to leave. He was optimistic, he needed to live another 5 years to see the morgage paid off. When i got home i got a call from my mom telling me how much easier it seemed to be to deal with while i was there, i felt terrible that i had left her and him there. I am the only one in my family that lives away and yet i'm there more for my parents than anyone in my family. So i talked with my husband about maybe going home for a bit to be with him to visit and to help my mom (she wasn't eating). I decided to go so i got all my work done at work and requested time to go home. I left on the 23rd of April. I brought my son with me since he was still breastfeeding so that he could see him one last time just in case. The 23rd during that day he went into respiratory arrest 4 times and each time it was harder to get him back so the doc decided that night they would do surgery to get some more fluid out and see what was going on inside and possibly remove the tumor. I got there just before he came out of surgery. He went to ICU and we were only allowed 2 at a time in there so we had to figure out who was gonna go in and the main thing to remember was to not upset him and and not to let him talk. So we went in and did what we were told we only got to see him for a split second. I went in with my son (he wasn't allowed but we snuck him in) and i wouldn't let him talk to me, i talked to him and said we loved him and to get better and that i would make sure him and my mom were taken care of. I held it together pretty good until i came out from seeing him, i hated seeing him like that. The doc came out and told us all they did. The removed sacs kinda like honeycomb from his lungs (which explained why they couldn't get anymore before the surgery) the fluid was in little pockets. They also put two tubes in his lungs to keep the fluid draining. His one lung collapsed and it was expected to reflate with the machine (BiPap, i think) but that he had to work really hard with it so it would work. The doc said that if he hadn't done that surgery my dad might not have lived another 24 hours. So each day we went in to see him and take care of him and sit with him. Each day he got better but was so weak we had to feed him and he could only eat a couple bites at a time. After about 3 days in ICU they were talking about moving him to critical care and he was getting better, he was breathing with less use of the oxygen machine and was even talking about make a trip to my house to see the girls. He was so worried about my mom, he always asked if she was taking care of herself and how she was doing but was never satisfied with her answer. He was the one sick and he worried about her Sunday the 26th we went in to see him and he still was worried about my mom, so i told him she was okay, she was eating and that i was making sure i was taking care of her and would continue to do so until he got out. My mom reassured him of this. Monday morning, my mom went in to see him (i stayed back because i didn't have a babysitter). The nurse wasn't allowing her in, so after 10 minutes she stormed in. The nurse met her at the door and told her that he had a "significant" heart attack and they were working on stabilizing him but that she couldn't be in there right now. They finally let her in and told her not to upset him and not to let him talk that he was on some morphine and he might be out of it but that he could still hear and understand. We were shocked, he was doing so well. Each additional day turned into a blessing and we spent even more time there. Up until this point, each time the doc asked what my dad wanted them to do save him or not, he kept saying save him even though in his will he didn't want them to do anything. On the 30th the doc came in and told him that the fluid is coming back again and that they were running out of options. Again he asked him what do you want us to do if you go into arrest again...this time my dad said leave me be, make me comfortable. We knew at that point it was only a matter of time. They started to make preparations to move him to palliative care and were just waiting for a bed and we could spend as much time with him as possible even out of the visiting hours. If we wanted a cot in there we could get one but they couldn't give us a time when they were moving him. We decided to go home for a bit until they moved him, they were going to call us to let us know when and where. So we waited. They called us at 930 that night to tell us that he was moved and he handled the move well and that he was resting comfortably with the morphine, they would call us if anything was to happen. So we went to bed. We got a call at 130am the morning of the 1st saying he was agitated that we should come down, so we did. We got there and just sat with him. His breathing was more gurgling than before and he was on alot of morphine. We sat and talked and held his hand the whole time. He called out for his mom (who died a while ago) and was even calling for his brother (who died just last year). At 445 his breathing slowed and the gurgling was next to nil we knew something was going to happen soon. I held his hand for the remaining time we had with him and just listened to him. His breaths were shallower and shallower until he finally took his last breath just after 5am. His eyes opened and he stared off into nothingness and just stopped. He was gone. I relive this moment every night and can't get it out of my head. I always say things happen for a reason but i cannot justify this happening, there is no reason why it did, he was a good person, he didn't hurt anyone. How is it that he has to go? He only had weeks to live compared to what the doc said why? I miss him so much every day. My night stand is dedicated to him with two little books i gave him about fathers and daughters and a picture (the last one i have of him). Each night i nurse my son, i go through everything so vividly in my mind and relive it every single night. I even am awake from 2-5 every night. They say that grieving gets easier but i have yet to see it. I made sure he had everything for his funeral and that my mom didnt have to worry about much with choosing and paying, she had enough to deal with. It is a struggle for me, i can't imagine what it is like for her. All i can do is be there for her and listen to her.

Sorry this took so long but it was hard to type, heartbreaking to pour out my soul about this. I have never experience a death like this nor do i ever want to again. Sometimes i wonder if not being there would have been easier.

Last edited by boberrymom; August 30th, 2009 at 09:15 PM. Reason: spelling
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