The diagnosis of stomach cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, and an enlarged prostate forced my dad into care for a few days at the VA Medical Center in Philly. The immediate struggle for my father was the catheter that he was forced to use due to bladder failure.
All of this has me reeling. I’m thinking about how in the world can someone function with so many things wrong? Also, how am I going to care for him in this state? How can I not care for him? What am I going to do? Again, my strategic mind fails me because I don’t know.
Dad went to a rehabilitation facility close to my home, upon his release. My father and I were familiar with this facility because my grandmother stayed there a few years ago. I was happy because I thought it could be a place where dad could get the care he needed. It was January, and he was in the earliest stages of the illness, but I knew this was beyond my capabilities. So I thought it might work out with him staying in this facility because they could provide care that was beyond my capabilities.
A few days after dad arrived, he called on a snowy day. He said he wanted to leave the facility immediately. He said he would get a cab, go back to his own home and die in peace if that’s what he needed to do to leave. I could never let that happen. I was immediately worried about how I would care for him, work, make sure my son was ok and cope with his illness. It was all so overwhelming.
So, I went to pick him up in the snow and pushed aside my concerns. I asked dad again on our way home if he’d like for me to contact anyone in the family to let them know how ill he was. He declined again and said to tell the family after he’s dead. He said that he didn’t want to spend time while he was ill dealing with the nonsense. Also, it was hard enough for me to deal with his illness without people in my home being disruptive in my space. He had an excellent point, it was true, so I went with it.
Dad got settled, and we moved toward our new reality. Then we got him scheduled for appointments with his primary, an oncologist and a urologist.
The full impact of this illness had not kicked in for me. Soon I would experience a real crap got real few months.
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