Sunday, April 16, 2006

Dad expected to live days

I know that the focus of this blog is Denise. But for the next few days I will also be posting updates about my dad, since so many of you that have been praying for Denise are friends of my parents. We've been getting some harsh news about my dad since the last post. Today we learned that his life expectancy is being measured in days, not weeks or months. My mom's setting up hospice care. My brother and his family came down from Oregon with their kids the other day. Among the cancer tumors he has, the ones in the lungs are causing increasingly labored breathing and discomfort. In talking to the doctor about what to expect from here on out, I felt like I was back at Arcadia Methodist, discussing Denise (respiratory inefficiency, labored breathing, irritation & coughing, morphine, panic, Ativan sedation, coma, no suffering, death caused by respiratory failure). He's able to talk and is in relatively good spirits, still trying to square away business to take care of my mom, all done with a "matter-of-fact" attitude. He also has a "see you later" attitude. Interesting, considering that today's Easter, and our belief in the resurrection of Christ is what gives us that "this ain't all there is... see you on the other side" hope. I'm doing almost disturbingly well with the situation. Part of it is that my dad's attitude is comforting. Part of it's that our faith is comforting. And maybe part of it is that I'm just so used to dealing with Denise's situation for so many months that I'm numb to it and can deal with it almost too calmly. The abnormal has become normal.
I learned from the darkest days of Denise's hospital stay that people in general are pretty ill-equipped to deal with pain, suffering, and death. I know that I never knew what to say, so would generally not say anything to someone that I knew was going to die soon. But I'm confident that my dad would rather hear or read awkward words from his friends & family than none at all. I don't see a link on Kaiser Hospital's web site for sending email to a patient. If you want to send an email to my dad, I will print it out and take it to him to read, just as we had set up for Denise. Email him at If you send an email, please make it personally directed to my mom and/or dad. Please do not forward anything to them. My time is already filled with business relating to Denise, and 99% of forwarded material is either a hoax or something we've already heard before.
On the very positive side, last night my dad said he'd rather that we go to church than rush to the hospital first thing this morning to see him. So we went to church. Among the songs we sang was "In Christ Alone," which is a favorite of Denise's & mine (we had the lyrics taped to the wall during her entire hospital stay). Since EVERYONE goes to church on Easter, lots of people that had been pulling for Denise got to see her for the first time today. Later, Denise & her youngest sister had a great visit with my pop at the hospital. They sang & had good talks.
And last night was neat, in a bittersweet way. One of my dad's friends came by for a visit and told me that during the summer, they had talked & wept many times about Denise. My dad's friend said that my dad decided to go ahead with a couple of chemo treatments, even though he didn't really want to. He wanted to be around long enough to see Denise get well and leave the hospital. That he did.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your message brought me to tears. I am so sorry to hear about your dad. He is a neat man. It's great to hear about his good attitude Denise's high spirits. Praise God that she and he has gotten as far as they have. Happy Easter, and we'll be praying for your family.
Love, Rachel

April 16, 2006 6:47 PM  
Anonymous Beki said...

I'll be praying, too.

April 17, 2006 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm here in Coalinga praying for your Dad and your family.

April 18, 2006 6:05 AM  

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