Saturday, April 22, 2006

Update on Dad

I've been going over to see Mum a few nights a week since my last posting but I haven't actually seen Dad. It's been strange for me and my sister as he hasn't let anyone other than Mum in his room for a few weeks. I know it's about his pride - the situation he is in makes it hard for him to maintain his self esteem and self-worth. Still, we talk a little through one of those walky-talky things that people have when they first have a baby... It's not perfect but at least he's communicating.

What it does mean however, is that when Dad calls Mum she has to come running - and he's had her up and down the stairs 70 times in a single day, twice. Trouble is he is sometimes a little confused and forgets why he called her. Also, Dad is afraid of wetting the bed so he sometimes gets himself into some kind of a mental loop and is getting in and out of bed by himself (a long, slow, tiring process) to get to the commode and then does nothing once he gets there. Later in the day the desire is still there to go to the loo but the energy to actually get there and do it isn't - which is where Mum comes in, usually at night. She has sleeping pills to give him and tried one last night but it didn't seem to do anything.. Still, assuming she doesn't collapse of exhaustion first at least her leg muscles will be fine!

She has been offered respite care. This is where Dad will go into the Hospice for a few nights and Mum gets a chance to recharge her batteries. Mum, I think, wants the respite but doesn't want Dad to go into the Hospice. I think she thinks he'll think (sorry about that tortuous start) that she's putting him into God's Waiting Room so doesn't want to do it yet. She mightn't have a choice in putting him there soon so the more time she has with him at home, 77 times a day or no, the better. I'm watching the situation.

In terms of the cancer, he hasn't been all that great. He took a major step last week when Mum had to give him an oral morphine tablet - but it sent him a bit mad (he was flying!) so the Doctors prescribed an additional morphine patch for his arm and a lollipop-type thing which kicks in in about 3 minutes. It's another opiate, like the patches, but this lolly has a kick on it like a mule. It says in the instructions that under no circumstances are these things to be left anywhere near children as even the leftover stick might have enough medication on it to seriously or even fatally harm a child. Wow.

So, to summarise. He is on two morphine arm patches per day and this lollipop thing when he needs them - one a day at the moment. He's on the lowest dose of the lollies, 200mg. They go up to 1600mg!

I took a day off work yesterday to go the hospital with Mum and Dad to see his cancer specialist. Dad is going to have his third cycle of chemo, starting next Wednesday. The Doctor seems to think that the chemo is having a beneficial effect and they will be doing a round of tests after the chemo to see what the impact has actually been.

I must say he was on fine form - both in the hospital and at home later in the evening. It was good to see him in clothes (rather than PJ's) at the hospital and with a smile on his face. He was quite chatty and fun! It's a matter of pride, I'm sure.

Doctor said that the type of cancer dad has is quite susceptible to the chemo and the test results could be quite positive BUT if there was any remission it would only be temporary. The cancer might be slowed down for a while but it will come back.

I managed to get 5 minutes with him after Mum and Dad had gone to the rest area and asked him what the prognosis was now. He said that it was the same as before - 3 to six months. So, we're basically starting the clock again....

As Dad said, "a few months is a few months" and we'll take what we can, gratefully.

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