Sunlit Water

September 26, 2007

It Begins

Filed under: Personal — by teofilo @ 8:31 pm

When I saw my dad on Saturday, he was doing pretty well, or at least not noticeably worse than he had been for a while.  He went to services with us and while he was a bit tired during them, he wasn’t exceptionally weak considering his condition.  He fasted, which surprised us a bit, especially since he said he hadn’t intended to, but that he didn’t happen to eat anything Friday night and decided to just not eat anything on Saturday either (he did drink water).  In retrospect, this should have been a bit more troubling than it was at the time.

I left Saturday evening after the break-fast, and after that he apparently went downhill in a hurry.  Saturday night he was very short of breath, when he had previously only been short of breath after some sort of exertion, and his hands and feet began to swell.  Over the next couple days he got worse, and when my mom took him to the doctor he was diagnosed with pneumonia and put on oxygen and intravenous antibiotics.His cousins bought him a recliner today, and I left work early and went over there to help pick it up and bring it in.  One of the major problems was that he didn’t have a comfortable place to sit with his head and feet elevated, since we only had a computer chair, a couch, and a bed, none of which was comfortable for him, so the recliner should help a lot in terms of his physical comfort.  As far as anyone outside the immediate family knows the pneumonia is the problem and it will get better.

What they don’t know is that the cancer has spread to his lungs.  This actually started a while ago, but on his latest CT scan it was much worse than before.  My mom talked to the oncologist privately today, and he told her that while he does indeed have pneumonia, he suspects most of the recent decline is due to the cancer.  The antibiotics should take care of the pneumonia soon, so I guess we’ll know then just how much is due to each.

He looks much worse than he did on Saturday.  It’s kind of hard to believe his condition could have changed so dramatically in such a short time.  He now mostly just sits in the recliner and watches TV with the oxygen mask on; he can walk around, but he’s too weak to do anything that requires much effort.  He can’t really be left alone for long periods of time, so someone needs to be with him more or less full-time.  It’s hard to avoid the feeling that the end is near.

My mom has decided to start taking Family Medical Leave on Monday.  She wants to go in tomorrow and Friday to tie up some loose ends, so I’m going to be taking of work those two days and staying with him.  My employers understand and have been quite supportive.

It looks like we’ve finally reached the point where things start to get very difficult.  I’m sure we’ll pull through, but it’s going to be tough for a while.



  1. Teo, so sorry. I’m sure you’ll pull through too, but try not to get too down on yourself if it feels like you won’t. You will.

    Strength and comfort.

    Comment by mrh — September 26, 2007 @ 9:04 pm |Reply

  2. I’m so sorry to hear that. Strength and comfort to you and your family.

    Comment by matt w — September 26, 2007 @ 9:14 pm |Reply

  3. Oh man, Teo. You have all my sympathy. I’m so sorry to hear this.

    Comment by heebie-geebie — September 26, 2007 @ 9:23 pm |Reply

  4. I’m sorry hon. I have only watched from the outside, but my guess is that the most intense pieces are the parts you will value afterward. So I’m wishing you the strength and love to stay with the intensity and also some breaks of peace and escapism.

    Comment by Megan — September 26, 2007 @ 9:53 pm |Reply

  5. Thanks for the support everyone. I appreciate it.

    Comment by teofilo — September 27, 2007 @ 12:14 am |Reply

  6. I’m sorry to hear that. My own father has terminal cancer so I know how this can change your life. You can always be proud of yourself for the way you stepped up in this situation and were there for your family.

    Comment by emir — September 27, 2007 @ 2:57 am |Reply

  7. I’m so sorry, Teo. You have my sympathy. I’m glad you’re able to be there with him.

    Comment by eb — September 27, 2007 @ 4:20 am |Reply

  8. I’m glad you can be there with him too. I don’t know him at all, but I’m sure it’s deeply meaningful and comforting to him to have his son there, and you’re doing something really important for him just with your presence.

    Comment by Tia — September 27, 2007 @ 4:33 am |Reply

  9. Oh, Teo, I am so sorry. I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through. I don’t know if you and your family have given any thought to hospice, but I will offer my little pitch for it here. For the people I know who’ve lost loved ones to what sounds like very, very similar medical conditions, hospice was a godsend — both for helping keep the patient comfortable and for helping patient and loved ones understand and process the process. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Comment by Di Kotimy — September 27, 2007 @ 7:01 am |Reply

  10. I’m so sorry to hear it, Teo. I’m glad that you are able to be there. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

    Comment by Becks — September 27, 2007 @ 8:10 am |Reply

  11. Again, thanks for the sympathy, everyone. When my mom talked to the doctor this most recent time she asked about hospice and he said that was probably the next step. I think it would be good for both of them.

    Comment by teofilo — September 27, 2007 @ 8:50 am |Reply

  12. So sorry, Teo.

    Comment by My Alter Ego — September 27, 2007 @ 11:38 am |Reply

  13. Oh, I’m so sorry, Teo. I’m glad you had this last couple of months at home with him. Take care of yourself, and of your family.

    Comment by LizardBreath — September 27, 2007 @ 1:29 pm |Reply

  14. Take care, Teo.

    Comment by DaveL — September 27, 2007 @ 1:40 pm |Reply

  15. Teo, please know I am thinking of you and sending good thoughts. End of life in my experience can be very, very unpredictable — even the doctors are often taken by surprise. So I´m very glad that your employers are being flexible, and that you have some time to be with your father right now.

    Comment by Witt — September 27, 2007 @ 2:46 pm |Reply

  16. Hospice sounds right. My dad struggled just to breath at the end, and was in the hospital. He recognized me at the foot of the bed in the last week, but that was all. I remember being pleased when he stabilized a bit, even though the end was at hand. I never stopped expecting it to go on a bit longer. Thinking of you.

    Comment by idontpay — September 27, 2007 @ 9:00 pm |Reply

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