About the middle of June my dad started feeling really badly. He was getting off of steroids (which he was on to help keep his blood sugar up as his cancerous spots produced too much insulin. It started as a very rare cancer on the the tail of his pancreas 14 years ago. That was surgically removed but spots had moved to his liver and one on his lung--and they produced insulin willy nilly. The spots were so small he wasn't even being treated for them at the time.) Anyway, he said he felt just awful--awful and tired just like when he had been on chemo.
One Sunday night my phone rang at 11:46 and it was my mom. Never a good thing to see on your phone. She said Daddy had fallen and was bleeding badly and she needed help getting him up. S got dressed and ran down the street to help. It seems Daddy's blood sugar had gotten low and he had passed out in the bathroom. That had happened 3-4 or possibly more other times before. This time he scraped his arm and hand up really badly. His skin is so thin it just really tore his arm up. And being on blood thinners didn't help. So S ended up taking Mom and Dad to the ER. He finally came on home around 6:00am to get ready for work. Dad called a few minutes later and said he was being released so I went to pick them up from the ER at 6:30am. Dad's arm and hand continued to bleed and seep through all the bandages that day and on Tuesday morning I took him to his primary care doctor. He hadn't been to this doctor in 12 years come to find out, in spite of being a patient there since the early 60s. All his needs had been taken care of at M.D. Anderson. I mean, he saw doctors all the time! Anyway, they couldn't believe the wound he had but they got it all cleaned up and the dressing changed. At the last minute the P.A. said he would like to get some blood work on Dad. He had very recently had blood work done with his cancer doctor, but we went by the lab and then home.
About 30 minutes after we got home, the P.A. called me to tell me that Dad needed to go straight to the ER as his sodium levels in his blood were dangerously low. Also his potassium was low. He had already called Dad. Very critical levels are 110. Dad's was 111. No WONDER he had been feeling so crappy! So the girls and I loaded up and went down the street to get Mom and Dad, who were already packing for the hospital. The P.A. said it would take several days to bring up his sodium levels as it has to be done slowly so they were packing for a long(ish) stay. We dropped them off at the hospital at noon, a day and a half after he had fallen.
Dad spent 9 days in the hospital. He developed (or possibly already had?) a blood infection during that time. Then he started to get pneumonia. He was transferred to a long term care facility and went straight to ICU. The girls and I had been to see him or at least Facetimed with him every single day he was in the hospital until he was moved. He ended up being in the long term care facility at least a month. During that time he got put on a ventilator. We didn't take the girls to see him during that time. I know he missed them. He was so, so sick. Then the day came when he got off the vent and things were really looking up! So I immediately took them. He smiled at them and held their hands. He tried to talk but couldn't yet. His voice was just a raspy whisper. Then he started to go downhill and got worse.
Even though we knew he was doing badly, it still came as a surprise when Mom called me at 4:00am to tell me he had passed away. She was there at the hospital alone with him, of course, when it happened. She had been at the hospital night and day for 5 1/2 weeks. My sisters and I all rushed to be with her. Later that morning when I got home, we gathered the girls and S told them what happened.
We weren't really sure Bee would understand but half way through the conversation she clued in and asked, "So Grandpa is never coming home?" And then she just buried her face in her hands and cried. Oh poor baby just broke my heart.
|My mom and Dad at his 80th birthday a couple of years ago.|
We all made it through the funeral planning, the funeral, the out-of-town trip to the trailer (without Grandpa--which was weird) to bury him...all of it. We made it through all of it. We've had my mom over to eat dinner most nights since. My Dad did all the cooking. My Dad did all the grocery shopping. We've taken Mom to do that too. The girls have spent most of their summer running back and forth to the hospital, riding along to take Grandma places, helping take care of things at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and not having a whole lot of fun. Although, since my sister was coming more often they did get to see a LOT of the cousins this summer. That was good.
So we feel like we are just now (in August) getting a summer break. Sweetheart wasn't actually through with History or Math but I called it. We're done. So this is the first time we've had a break from school too.
Bee has cried a lot. She's asked 10,000 questions. She tells me several times a day she misses Grandpa. Little Bit has had some anxiety and sadness that she says she doesn't know why but....and Sweetheart has seemingly handled it really well. But she's older. Anyway, we are all still healing and getting used to not having him around. Little Bit caught a fish the other night and I was snapping a picture the first thought I had was, "Wait until Grandpa sees this!" It's been a hard, hard summer.