Wednesday, 20 July 2011

When it rains it pours

Sorry I have been absent for a bit. Basically here's the update:

We explained to my father very patiently that we were worried about his neurological symptoms. The walking funny, the non-repsonsive limbs, the talking in his sleep (which was making my mother completely crazy) and the lack of mental clarity. Eventually, we managed to convince him to get looked at a by a neuro-psychiatrist and have a couple of tests done. The next morning, as if by magic, his psychological condition massively improved. He was walking straight and confidently, he was talking sense and he was keen to go to work (literally, in the office and everything). He has more or less remained that way through the start of his new Chemo treatment (every two week, 4 courses, can be taken anywhere so long as it's in a hospital). They have also hired a new nurse who will start this week, I think. The only noticeable side effect of the new drug is that he is very tired and sleeps for many hours a day. I will let you know what happens with that.

Everything looked like it was ok, so I went home.

Two days later my mum rang. My grandfather (mum's dad) had rung earlier in the week, while I was still with them, to say that he was feeling very run down and so had gone for tests. What she was ringing to tell me was that his tests had come back showing that his body is utterly riddled with cancer. The irony is that there is a fairly good chance that it started off as pancreatic and then metastisised. One idiot doctor has given him 3 months. Maybe it is.

So I spoke to my grandfather yesterday and he seems very blasé about everything, which either means that he is the most Zen person on earth or he is in deep denial. I couldn't possibly guess. I am not as close to my grandfather as I am to other members of my family, which is probably what causes me to be most worried about my mother in all this. She now has both a father and a husband who are dying of cancer and my father's only comment is: "Well maybe you should start to think about what it is you are being punished for". Nice.

Still getting my head around everything. Will let you know how that works out for me.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Bumping into the wall

So I find myself at the hospital again. My father was discharged on Friday but we are back. And here's why: On our way to a run of the mill blood test, my father started walking wonky. He spine was totally bent favouring his left side and what was weird about it was that he couldn't tell that he wasn't straight. He was almost falling over and bumped into the wall several times. His oncologists told us to take him to the Emergency Centre.

So he's currently having a CT on his brain and we have absolutely no idea what is going on. My gut feeling is a mini stroke, but who knows. What is slightly funny about it is that my father is not afraid of his symptoms. He would rather have gone out lunch than be checked out. What he is afraid of is having to be in hospital again. Because that's where they hurt him. That's where there are unconcerned strangers who poke and prod him and that's where he gets bad news.

No idea what is actually going on with him, so allow me to wait and see. Don't we always?

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Back to Houston

So I am back at the airport and on my way back to my parents.

Funnily enough, we are experiencing a repeat of what I talked about in March. My father has had more fluid taken out of his abdomen and is still down and out with the mystery infection that he can't seem to kick. There are various theories as to what could be going on, including a possible parasite. But we have to wait to find out.

In the meanwhile, though, I am hoping that my advice is going to finally be taken and my father will get a brain scan. Why? Because his mental state has been fairly rapidly deteriorating over the past month or so and I don't think that merely stress can account for it. He doesn't know how to do simple tasks most days, he forgets words and his memory is shot. The symptoms seem quite similar to dementia, but obviously, with the speed at which the decline has occurred, something else must be going on.

And his cognitive problems are part of the reason I am on my way there again. The second is that, in about April, my parental hired a nurse to keep an eye on my dad, give him medication and just be around when my mum needed a break. He was wonderful, but unfortunately his father got unwell and he had to leave. So my mum became the sole carer again. Sucks.

And it's hard. It's hard when my father thinks he's fine and starts talking utter crap to work colleagues (potentially an expensive problem). It's hard when he is in hospital the whole week and my mum has no one to relieve her for a couple of hours so that she can go and have a shower and change clothes. It's hard when everyone is far away and there is no one they can call if the shit hits the fan. So I go, and I just wish I could stay without reprecussions in my own life.

I wonder if my mum ever has time to sit and wonder about where her life has taken her. She has now spent almost two years doing nothing but caring for a man that is increasingly less able to be independent. I am not suggesting that she is either a saint or a fool, only that it would seem very odd to me. Then again, if I look at where I have ended up, I wouldn't have dreamed such a thing. Again, not in a bad way. Just unexpected.

Must check what my flight is up to.

More soon, I promise.