The last few days
The last few days have been the toughest of my life.
After this happened things only got worse.
On Thursday night my dad fell (in my apartment) and hit his head on a glass vase. He only had a small cut over his eye, and my husband was home to help him up, but it got me thinking. What was I going to do if he fell when my husband wasn't home? What if he fell in the shower?
I was already having a rough time taking care of both my father and Willa. My father is so weak he can't even open his pill bottles. I had to do everything for him. Now I had to worry about him falling. I was a prisoner in my own home. With the exception of taking Dexter for quick walks, I wouldn't leave my father alone for fear that he would fall while I was out.
On Friday my father's doctor called to say that his scans from the previous two days showed that he had a blood clot. They told me to take him over to the hospital to have him admitted so they could give him blood thinners. I had no one to watch Willa, so my husband had to leave work. Not exactly easy when you're a doctor in the middle of a surgery. Willa wasn't allowed back in the urgent care area, so we kept taking turns watching her while the other one stayed with my father.
Now the idea of my father falling was even worse. If he fell while on blood thinners he could very likely have internal bleeding. I had a long talk with the doctor who admitted him. I told him about the whole situation and that my father was broke, and that we were broke, so we couldn't afford to hire an in home nurse. He assured me that my father would be in the hospital through the weekend. (He was supposed to see his oncologist on Monday anyway.)
I was relieved that I wouldn't have to take care of him, and that he would be safe.
Add more to the pile of guilt.
On Saturday morning we were getting ready to leave for the hospital when my father called and said they were letting him go home. We were confused. We rushed over to the hospital and found out that he was going to sign out against medical advice (AMA).
A nurse, a med student, and two doctors all explained to him that it would be best for him to stay in the hospital. While I paced the hallway crying, my husband had a long talk with him and told him how hard it was for me to take care of both him and Willa, and that I wouldn't be able to pick him up if he fell. It all went in one ear and out the other. I sat down with him and I was very honest. It was a really hard conversation because my father is a very proud man and he refuses to except his limitations.
He looked me in the eyes and said "please don't make me stay here".
What do you say to that? How do you say no to that?
So, he signed out AMA and we took him home.
About an hour after we got home I was sitting in the living room and I thought I heard a noise coming from the nursery/guest room. I picked up Willa and walked into the other room. I found my father on the floor. He had opened a drawer on the changing table and was trying to pull him self up on it. My husband had a really hard time getting him up off the floor, he hurt his back doing it. Not to mention that if I hadn't gone into the other room when I did my father probably would have pulled the changing table over onto himself. If ever there was an "I told you so" moment this was it. But, we didn't say anything. I'm sure my father was embarrassed enough already.
We survived Sunday. One friend came by and brought us breakfast and two friends (who we had canceled plans with because of my father)came by and brought us dinner.
Monday was the appointment with my father's oncologist. He told my father that there was nothing more they could do for him. He also told him that he needed 24 hour nursing care, and that I couldn't provide that for him. My father has great respect for his doctor, so he agreed that it was time for hospice. I don't think when my father flew here on Wednesday that he realized that he would never see his home or his dog again. I don't think I realized it.
I spoke privately with the doctor and I asked him how much longer my dad had. He said if he had to guess- a month. My father never asked the doctor how much longer he had, and the doctor never told him, so several times over the last couple of days my father has made reference to "the next few months" and my heart breaks a little more each time.
The doctor decided to re-admit my dad to the hospital so that they could drain some fluid. The cancer in his liver is causing fluid to build up in his abdomen and legs. The fluid in his legs is so bad that it has actually started to leak through his skin to the point where his pants are wet.
So, back to urgent care we went. When we got there we found out that the blood they had drawn at the doctor's office showed that my dad's potassium was low, which could indicate a heart problem. They had to run a bunch of tests. It was 9pm before my father was transfered to a room.
His heart seems to be fine, and as I type this they are performing the procedure on him to drain the fluid.
When we got home Monday night we discovered that Dexter has a hot spot, which has since grown to epic proportions. He is miserable.
Between taking care of Willa, my dad, and the animals I barely have time to eat and shower. The apartment is getting dirty and the bills aren't getting paid.
I really don't know how I'm getting through all this. I realized that it's amazing what you can get through if you don't have a choice. I've also been getting a lot of amazing support from my friends. Especially my internet friends.
This is all taking a huge emotional toll one me. I'm having nightmares and my anxiety has kicked into high gear. I've been having totally irrational fears. I fear that my building will catch on fire while I'm not home and the animals will be stuck inside. I fear that something like September 11th will happen when I'm not home and they will close off my neighborhood and I won't be able to get back into my building and my animals will starve to death. I worry constantly that my husband will die. I worry that when I'm walking down the street with Willa in the bassinet attachment of her stroller that someone will snatch her. I worry that Willa will catch some horrible disease because she's spending so much time in the hospital. I worry that I will be in a horrible accident that will render me unconscious and Willa won't be getting my breast milk. I worry that I will drop Willa.
The list goes on and on.
I'm struggling with so many conflicting emotions my head and my heart are swimming.
I'm trying to learn to be Ok with death because it is a part of life.
One bright spot- up until this point my dad has shown little interest in Willa. He hasn't done more than say "hi" to her. Yesterday when I was visiting him in the hospital he asked if Willa might like to lay in bed with him. So, I put her next to him in the hospital bed and she lay there and smiled and cooed at him.
It was all I could do to not fall into a heap of tears on the floor.
This whole situation has made me feel very much like a child. Like all of this is too much for me to handle. That a grown up should handle it. All these questions about medical history, and medications, and long term care. It's the kind of situation where I would normally want my parents to help. But, it's my parent who needs the help. I want my mommy. I want her to make me a cup of tea and cinnamon toast, and stroke my hair, and tell me everything's going to be all right.
But it's not going to be all right.
I want to run away.