Wednesday, November 13, 2013

So Here's What's Been Happening, Part 1

2013 November 11

So Here's What's Been Happening

When last we left the life and times of the Kleppick wanderers and their dog, they were camped out in a relative's driveway in Cranberry Township, PA. The wife was preparing to have surgery. The husband was unhappy about the delay in leaving for Florida. The dog, seemingly had no opinion.

The other story line involved the wife's 88 year old father who had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in February, after emergency surgery for hernia repair and bowel obstruction.

Let's start with the Dad. He had begun having labored breathing often accompanied by coughing, which sometimes produced blood. A visit to his oncologist on October 8, resulted in an appointment with a  Radiation Oncologist. The idea was to try small doses of radiation in order to shrink the centrally located tumor which was causing pressure on the old guy's trachea and esophagus. The plan was to start a course of 14 radiation doses the day after the initial visit.

Surprise! Remember what we said once before about the best laid plans and all that? The afternoon of the first radiation appointment, the Dad fell. He was climbing the stairs, lost his balance, and tumbled backward, down four steps, landing on the back of his head. He never lost conscientiousness, but paramedics were called, radiation  therapy cancelled for that day and off went the oldest daughter and #3 son to the ER. There they sat, with their Dad for a really long time. About hour 5, or so of the ER trip, Dad went off for CT scans of his head. When he returned, the ER staff moved him to what they referred to as "a holding area". It had one very nice nurse and an excellent ER doc, and was much quieter than the general ER. The reason for the move, was that Dad was now going to be taken for an MRI of his brain, because of something the doc reading the CT scan thought he saw. It was at this time, during hour 6 of the ER visit, that son #2 and his wife arrived. Everyone sat while the Dad went off for an MRI. The oldest daughter, who was cranky and hungry at this point became snappy with the #2 son who was trying to lighten the mood with jokes. This offended the #2 son's wife. All in all, the situation was devolving. #1 daughter was afraid that the cancer had indeed metastasized to her Dad's brain. This opinion was reinforced by the ER doc who said that it was indeed a possibility with this type of cancer. About an hour after he had left, Dad returned from his brain MRI. Now the group waited while longer until a doc read the MRIs. In hour seven,the ER doc announced that the MRI was negative, and as soon as the nurse dressed the scraps on Dad's elbows from the fall and discontinued his IV, he would be discharged. What a day!

The next day began Dad's radiation therapy. Oldest daughter went along even though her presence was unnecessary, since #3 son drove them. The treatment did not take long at all, in fact Dad was only back in the treatment area for about 15 or 20 minutes. The radiation therapy continued Monday through Friday, until October 29, when they concluded. #3 son was present for all treatments, since he has been acting as primary care giver. 

It was during this period of Daddy receiving radiation that #1 daughter (that would be me, JeanMarie) was scheduled to have cervical spinal surgery and fusion. Next post will detail all that, if you're interested.

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