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Taking selfies with dad

Taking selfies with dad

Dad is going through a big transition physically and I wanted to capture some pics of him throughout the process. I didn’t want to take face shots of him with all his tubes but now that they are out, I can take some shots. This is dad and I hanging out waiting for his meal to come…a full cup of water! But it’s a start and I’m thankful that he is able to drink from a cup and not a tube. God is good!

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Dad kicking back & watching a movie

Dad kicking back & watching a movie

He’s had most of his tubes taken out so he can slowly start to drink some water. If he has no issues with the drinking, they will start feeding him. God willing all for well with the eating cause then he can come home! Woohoo!

Slight bump in the road

SO we hit a little bump in the road on Sunday night. Things were going well with dad; he was up and about, he was in good spirits and was feeling ok. While he was still on morphine, the pain was starting to slowly subside. Things were going well. A few of his friends from work came past to see him and they had a nice chat with dad, so all in all he was doing well. Mum and I settled down, mum with her knitting, me with my studies while dad took a nap. Then all of a sudden he starts shaking and saying that he was cold. We put some blankets on him but shaking wouldn’t stop, so we called the nurse and she came in to check his temperature – turns out his temp was high, so we took all the blankets off. The shaking got worse, which is expected because he was cold but it turned into full body shaking to the point where his body was almost convulsing. I didn’t worry too much about this but mum and I stood around him trying to keep him calm. Mum started praying over him – now one thing I will say about my mum is that she would fit right into a Gospel church in Texas as she is very vocal and loud with her faith; you hear a lot of “amen”, “thank you Jesus” from her regardless of where she is. So when she started to pray, the ward my dad is in went silent because she was praying so loudly and passionately. I’m pretty sure they heard her in the corridors. Bless her little heart. While mum and I prayed for him, I noticed he was starting to zone out, which at first I thought was good, but then he got a really vacant look in his eyes. That’s the only way I could explain it. He started slurring his speech and he started looking at us in a really odd way. I tried to talk to him but he wouldn’t look at me, so I started asking him questions. He wouldn’t answer. The nurses came in, checked him and told us his temp was getting higher and they were paging the doctor. I tried talking to dad but again, he wouldn’t look at me, so I asked him if he knew who I was (not sure why I asked that) and he didn’t know. At this point, I’m trying not to freak out otherwise mum would freak out, so I asked him if he knew my name and he just stared at me with a blank look on his face. He looked at mum and she asked if he knew who she was and he said yes but couldn’t tell her what her name was. I asked again “dad, do you know my name? Another blank look and then “Yes. You’re Jennifer” Who the frik is Jennifer?? At this point, I internally started freaking out. My mind went into over-drive and all the worst-case scenarios entered my head. (On a side note, I’m very proud of the fact that my face did not reflect my mind and I managed to keep a very calm exterior). I know that a high temp can make you delusional but I didn’t think it would make you forget people. The thought of my dad not knowing who we were was heartbreaking and petrifying. I stood behind the curtain for a minute to get my head together and pray madly while mum and the nurses tried to hold dad down because he was getting very restless and kept trying to stand up. We finally managed to calm him down and get him settled, and about 15 mins later, he started coming back to us. I was ready to unplug his machines when I asked him if he knew who I was and he looked at me very seriously and said “no…….booboo” and smiled (Booboo is my nickname at home). Dad was making jokes at inappropriate times, which meant dad was back.

We all settled a little but when I looked at dad and he had a look of absolute fear in his eyes – he knew something had gone on but didn’t know what. I think he must have had a black spot in his mind because he kept asking us what happened and if he said anything. He was getting a little worked up trying to figure out what happened but we finally got him calmed down. Once his temperature came down, he went to sleep and we went home (they allowed us to stay past the visiting hours). We tried calling the hospital a few times to see how he was but each time we called the nurse wasn’t around. We were about to try again and dad beat us to it – he called to say he was doing ok and was heading down to X-ray. Thank you Lord. I don’t recall being that frightened, thinking that dad had lost his memory scared the heck out of me. But all is good. Time to refocus on the positives – he’s cancer free, won’t be needing chemo, and, will more than likely come home in a couple of weeks, so I’m grateful for that.

I spent the morning with him yesterday and spent the morning with him today. I took him for a walk outside today which he enjoyed, we chatted for a bit then I took him back up and settled him into bed. Mum is with him at the hospital tonight while I stay home and get some rest because I’ve woken up with a head cold and am very lethargic. I’ve been struggling to get through the day and I don’t want to spend too much time with dad and give him my cold, so I agreed to stay home and go pick mum up later. I keep telling myself  I’m going to attempt to get some study done but I’m not sure how that will go as my head and eyes are killing me as I type this up – chances are I’ll curl up on the couch and snooze until I need to pick up mum. In any case, i can’t afford to get sick at the moment, so I think it may be time to overload myself with vitamins I think. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

God bless xx  

More reasons to smile

We got the news that dad is completely cancer free post surgery, so there is no need for chemo. Thank. You. Lord! Humbled again by God’s favor and grace. It’s such a relief knowing he doesn’t need to go through chemo. I know it would have been tough on dad and would have taken a huge toll on him. He was afraid of going through chemo more than surgery, so this is definitely a blessing. He’s still in hospital however they are happy with how things are coming along. They did an ultrasound for him the other day and were happy with the way his stomach – or what is now his stomach – has held together since surgery so they will attempt to orally feed him in the next few days. When I got to the hospital today they were removing one of the tubes out of his stomach and dad was in agony! Despite the morphine, he was still feeling some pain, so I don’t want to imagine what he would have been feeling without it. But I keep telling dad that this is temporary and he will soon be out of pain. Plus, he is now cancer free, so this is a small price to pay in comparison. 

All in all he is doing well, he’s up and about more and more, showering himself and going for walks through the corridor, getting in and out of bed on his own. All very positive signs however the challenge we are having with dad is that because he is on so much morphine – due to the level of pain they are giving him an hourly baseline shot as well as the morphine he presses for – its hard to tell if what he is saying is true or if it’s the morphine speaking. He mentioned an incident to me the other day and I called the nurse to ask about it and she said it never happened.  That’s happened a few times so we are at the point where we double check everything dad tells us. I feel bad for the nurses because they are doing a great job with him but we keep having to ask them to confirm what, if anything, happened. But, we have to do it, which I’m sure they understand. Speaking of the nurses, they are amazing, especially considering how difficult dad can be when he is in pain (which most people are but dad takes the man flu to whole new level!). Previously when dad was at another hospital I had to step in a few times and ask the nurses to do things that should have already been done or ask them to be a little nicer to him because they were being rude or rough with him. People carry on about the staff in public hospitals but the team at Liverpool is amazing. They are clearly under staffed and dealing with some difficult patients, but they still do their job with a smile on their face and with care. The other night one of the patients in dads room lost control of his bowls – he seemed to be paralysed from the neck down. It was not pleasant and what made it worse was that this poor man knew what was happening and wasn’t able to control it. When the nurses came in to clean him up the second time, he was almost in tears telling them what had happened. He was distraught and ashamed by it and the nurses just loved on him. I could hear them telling him “it’s ok, don’t be upset, most people in your position experience similar situations. This is totally normal”. They were cheerful, joking with him, singing songs while they worked around him until he was settled down. There was no condemnation or embarrassment. Once they finished with him they came back and looked after everyone else with the same care and respect. It broke my heart listening to this man tearfully tell them what happened but I was so in awe of these nurses that just treated him with so much care and respect. Peopel will say ‘it’s their job’, and it is, but they are being such a blessing to their patients by doing their job with such love and care. I will definitely be sending a thank you card and flowers when dad is out.

 

Overall, things are good and we are on the home stretch. I’m tired but we will only need to keep this up for another week or 2, than dad will come home. Once he comes home I can get some rest and start to focus on my studies again, which have taken a backseat. I’m struggling to read the newspaper, let alone read through counselling notes, so no point even attempting to study. In a few more weeks, everything will go back to normal…. just need to hold on for a few more weeks. 

God bless xx

Worn out

It’s been 5 days since dad had his surgery and I am exhausted. The day after surgery when dad was in intensive care we spent a few hours at the hospital tag teaming bed-side visits with him and all things considered, he was doing great and looked good. He had his colour back and was very coherent (when he wasn’t knocked out with morphine). We sat with him; prayed with him, let him sleep, then did it all over again. They moved him into a ward on Saturday, which was great and quicker than I expected, so it was a good sign of his progress.  We’ve so far spent every day at the hospital spending time with dad, trying to lift his spirits. The morphine is knocking him out big time and giving him major hallucinations – some funny, some not so funny. I was sitting with dad on Sunday while he was dozing off and he woke up, looked at me and said “Leila, did you know that Superman made $17 mil on the weekend!” then falls back asleep. Rightio. Poor bloke has had some bad visions coming through as well though and they are making him more tired. On the whole though, all things considered, he is doing well.

 

I came up alone today to give mum some rest so I’m sitting in the hospital with him at the moment watching him toss, turn and mumble in his sleep. He looks tired and today, he looks like he’s aged a few years. He told me when I arrived that he choked during the night while he was taking a sip of water and because he pushed so hard, some blood came out of his stiches. I asked the nurse on duty about what happened and she said that she wasn’t told about it so there is nothing she can do. Apparently the night nurse verbally hand over to the morning nurses and nothing was mentioned. I asked dad again and he clearly explained the situation to me so I tracked down the nurse and told her to follow up on it. It may be a non-issue to them however if my dad is telling me something happened to him throughout the night; I want to know if it actually did. One of the other nurses came in and told me that he isn’t pressing the morphine button so they have set it on automatic for him. Poor dad.

 

As for me, I’m tired. I have held things together pretty well so far. Shad was sick on the weekend so I had to do double duty at the hospital on Sunday, so along with doing all the grocery shopping, finishing my assignment, driving back and forth all day and trying to find parking (If I get rich I’m buying out the parking bay in the hospital and making it free for everyone!), I knew that at some point soon, I would break. I broke. Yesterday we were having a few issues happening at home and I was going back and forth trying to sort some stuff out. I sat down to talk to mum and my eyes started tearing up, so mum goes “don’t worry about it, everything will be fine”. I looked at mum and said, “I’m tired. I am so tired”, and that was it, I broke. Uncontrollable sobbing took hold and I just cried for about 10 minutes. Than I felt bad cause I didn’t want to add to mums worrying and started crying even more. Mum hugged me and started praying for me. I am so emotionally and mentally tired. But it’s to be expected. I’m gearing myself up for another few weeks of this and making sure I have some time out by reading or going to the gym. I’m thinking I may need to increase my visits to the gym, as it’s a great way to vent without offending people. A lot of things are going through my mind and there is a lot I want to say to people, but I know it’s all out of anger and frustration, so I’ll keep praying for God to keep His hand over my mouth.

 

Dad has a check up on Thursday to make sure that everything is holding together the way it should, so God willing all will be fine and they will start feeding him through his mouth instead of through a tube. They haven’t mentioned whether or not he will still need chemo so that’s still hanging over our heads, but being that the cancer was removed and it hadn’t spread anywhere, we are praying and believing that he won’t need it. I’m watching dad sleep and listening to him snoring loudly enough to wake the dead, and it’s made me smile. At the end of the day, the exhaustion from going back and forth to the hospital is better than the alternative of him not making it. Back to watching over him.

 

God bless x 

He made it through!

Dad made it through the surgery last night. Thank you Lord! We had a long wait but the surgeon finally came out around 8:30 pm to advise that dad had got through and he was happy with the outcome. He told us dad isn’t out of the woods yet as this next week will determine if his new stomach will hold, but on the whole, its looking positive. Once the surgeon finished talking mum asked him if she could hug him, which he said yes to but I think he may have gotten a little embarrassed. God bless him. I don’t know how surgeons do it, he had a surgery in the morning that went longer than he thought it would and then went straight into dads surgery. I would imagine that removing someone’s stomach is no easy task, so I take my hat of to people like him.

 

In any case, we all relaxed after that. We each sat quietly, thanking God in our own ways. I had been emotional on an off through the day and all I wanted was to cry but I held myself back because I knew if I started crying, I would likely end up bawling like a 2 year old in the corner. If I lost my emotions, mum surely would, so I buried my head in my book while we waited for dad to be moved to ICU. That was another 2 wait. (I think I’ve mentioned that waiting and patience are not my biggest strengths!). In any case, around 11 pm they called us in and I told Shad to go in with mum to see him first as they only allow 2 people at a time. I sent him in first for a couple reasons; firstly, the surgeon warned us pre surgery that when dad came out he would have about 4-5 tubes connected to his stomach to drain him out, along with numerous other tubes and needles hanging out of him, so I wasn’t sure how mum would react to that. If she fainted, Shad had a better chance of holding her up than me. Secondly, I would be able to get a sense of things from Shad’s facial expression as he came out, that way I knew how to be when I walked in to mum and dad.  After doing the hygine routine and wearing the attractive robe they give you, I finally got to see dad and the poor bloke looked awful. He was puffed up from the morphine and had that many tubes and needles hanging out of him that he looked like something from a sci-fi movie. It was not pretty and it was hard seeing him like that. He was in and out of consciousness but the good news is that in the moments that he came too, he saw us above him and we were able to talk to him and tell him we loved him. We promised him that when he came around he would see us and that was as close as we could get to honouring that promise.  We said our goodbyes and went home. 

We called the hospital this morning and they said he is doing well but is in a lot of pain – I think he keeps forgetting that he has a pain button next to him – but overall is doing well, which is awesome. We are now getting ready to head up to see him for a little while as they have told us we can’t hang around as they don’t want him having visitors. So time for round 2!

 

God bless x

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A day of waiting…then waiting some more

A day of waiting...then waiting some more

Today has been a long & draining day. We are the hospital at 7 am than sat around waiting for dad to get called in. We had a moment of concern when they came out & say they may not be able to find a bed for him, despite booking his surgery in 3 weeks ago. But, after eaiting around, eating, waiting some more, dozing off & running out to put money in the parking meter 4 times, they finally, thank The Lord, called him in at about 1pm. We prayed with him, waved him off & then just stood there staring at each other. This cancer thing was now all too real. We spoke to the nurses who told us to go home cause surgery would take between 5-7 hrs, so we took mum home to get some rest. That planned didn’t work out cause mum turned into a tornado & started madly cleaning, which was her way of keeping busy, so I let her be.

It’s almost 7 pm and we are still waiting. We’re in the intensive care reception & there is a gentleman with his elderly mum sitting opposite me waiting – he arrived at 8 am this morning and spent most of the day here too. I’m getting claustrophobic with all the people around me, there is too many people staring anxiously at the receptionist waiting for her to tell them their loved one has made if through. I tell mum I’m going outside for a walk & thankfully she is caught up in her prayer book. I need to get out of here cause its getting hard to breathe.

I’m sitting on the stair railing typing this on my phone to keep my brain from getting fried. 7:02 pm and counting. Time to wait some more