February - March 2013
Sometimes the simplest things alter life in major ways. In mid February I made a phone call to my brother in Pittsburgh, from Fort Pickens Campground, near Penscacola Beach, Florida. That simple call changed everything about what we've done and plan to do from that point to this, and beyond.
During that phone conversation, it was revealed that Dad was sick, in pain, vomiting and refusing to go to the Emergency Room. After threats to Daddy, made by me, he finally agreed to allow my brother Vinny to take him to the ER. Turns out the old guy had a hernia, which he had been ignoring, that in turn, was causing a bowel obstruction. The ER admitted him to the hospital and surgery was scheduled for Saturday morning.
While Daddy was being prepared for surgery, during his chest x-ray, it was noted that he had a mass of some sort in his lower right lung. It was decided that this would be addressed after the hernia / obstruction repair.
Daddy's abdominal surgery went well. This fact is astounding, given his frail physical condition, and advanced age. In prime health, he weighed around 150 pounds. When admitted to the hospital, he weighed in at a mere 116 pounds. The hernia repair was accomplished and the obstruction was not severe enough to require a resection. Thank you, Lord!
A couple of days after the emergency abdominal surgery, Daddy had a CT scan of the mass in his lung, followed by a biopsy. The biopsy confirmed that the mass in his lung is cancer.
All of these events took place before Raymond and I returned to PIttsburgh from Florida. My brother Vinny was the primary person dealing with all of these events. Perhaps a little background is in order.
Vinny owns the home in which he, our Dad, and two of our other unmarried brothers live. When Daddy was discharged from the hospital, it was to return to Vinny's house. In addition, Vinny had, at the end of January, retired from his 30 year gig at the USPS. His original plan had been to take a couple of weeks, head off to the beaches of NC and simply relax. For whatever reason, he didn't go, and I thank God that he didn't. He stepped up and became Daddy's primary care giver in those first days of Daddy's release. The other two brothers living in that house did what they could, but Vinny bore the weight of it. He's a good son, and a wonderful brother.
Raymond and I arrived in Pittsburgh on February 22. We were blessed to find the ONLY open campground in the PIttsburgh area, in the Tarentum area, about 18 miles northeast of where my Dad and brothers live. We drive and live in our motorhome, but have no other means of transportation, so we had to obtain a rental car. And let me just say that IF we had suspected that we would EVER be camping in PIttsburgh in February/March, we certainly would've opted for a motorhome with an arctic package! But that's a tale for another time, as is the whole experience related to our stay at Mountaintop Campground. This is the story of Daddy, which I will continue.