It started out as a heavy wind, then the momentum kept building, blowing harder and harder, starting to spin around me. The power increased steadily until it was overpowering, hitting me with its impact and before I knew it I felt like I was spinning uncontrollably. I was caught in a vicious tornado, life had thrown too much at me and I was loosing control.
Back in July my husband, Ron, began having some trouble swallowing when eating. By the time we returned home from vacation in August the problem had become much worse. It was discovered that he had a large tumor in his esophagus and that it was cancerous. During the time it took for the various tests and consultations with doctors to be done the tumor became worse and his ability to eat went from normal to soft foods only to very thing liquids/broths. At the beginning of his 5-1/2 weeks of chemotherapy and radiation his esophagus was 90% blocked. He has lost around 40 lbs and is down to around 131 lbs, very thin. He finished his chemotherapy last week and today, the 4th of December, was his last radiation treatment. The treatments have reduced the tumor and four about 1-2 weeks he was able to get some foods down, but the burning from the radiation has now caused that to be extremely painful. We have to wait about a month for the burning to heal and the poisons from the chemo to leave his body. In January he will have surgery to remove the esophagus and they will raise his stomach up to replace it. Once those steps are done and he recovers from the surgery he should be able to resume a normal lifestyle.
If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that my husband and I have been trying to adopt our granddaughters and lost one to adoption already. We found out on the 17th of November that although we have never received an official denial that another family has been found and she will likely be placed with them in January and adopted in June. DHS has fought us all the way, and although we have not totally given up, we know that we are not likely to succeed in any attempts we make. If you are not familiar with what has been going on, you can read about it in Power of Emotion and Attempted Adoption: An Emotional Whirlwind.
My father has been experiencing health issues for the past year or so, plus struggling emotionally since my mother’s death in 2013. He recently went into the hospital in a weakened state and with fluid around his lungs. He was transferred to a medical rehabilitation facility to regain his strength when a set-back sent him back to the hospital about a week ago. I spoke with him on the 7th of December and he was uncomfortable, weak, and having difficulty eating/swallowing. On the 2nd of December, his 75th birthday, he began to fail badly. They attempted to drain fluid from his lungs and one collapsed, his kidneys were not working properly, and a multitude of other problems existed as well. Throughout the day he changed floors in the hospital twice as his condition worsened. By the end of the day he was intubated and not expected to live through the night.
The hospital is two hours from where I live. Ron is weakest in the evenings and has had some dizzy spells and falls so I didn’t want to leave him home overnight. The emotional impact was hitting me and I was struggling with everything — the loss of Kiley to adoption, Ron’s condition, and my father’s anticipated death. I was able to call the hospital and they held the phone to his ear so I could talk to him. I was surprised when my sister, who lives near him, called the next morning and said she was at the hospital, he was failing very fast but they could maintain him for family to arrive. I called into work and hit the road. I was lucky, the roads were clear and very little traffic, I was at the hospital within about 2-1/2 hours from when I received the call. My father’s skin was cold and clammy to the touch, his vitals were very low, but when I spoke to him I could tell from his facial movements that he could hear me and was able to register what I was telling him. My sister and I decided to go to the cafeteria for a quick lunch, as her son-in-law and a pastor were expected to arrive and we would then remove life support and switch him to comfort measures only. When we returned to the room we said a few final words to him. Once we made the change in his treatment he passed peacefully within about 20 minutes.
One life ends and another begins. My daughter is pregnant, a high-risk pregnancy and her C-Section is scheduled for December 12th, so 1-1/2 weeks after the death of my father, the birth of another grandchild will take place. The juggling of life continues as we have to drive her 45 minutes away to the hospital where she will deliver, take care of her other two children while she is at the hospital, and handle getting her and baby back home and to her follow up appointments.
I’m either adjusting to the speed of the tornado or it is loosing momentum. We are now down to my grandchild’s birth, a family Christmas at our house, my husband’s surgery in January, continuing to monitor what happens with our granddaughter being adopted out to a non-relative rather than us, and my sister and I sorting through and cleaning out our parents’ home and belongings and handling the details of settling their estate. It only goes to show that Life is a Melting Pot of incidents and activities.