Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

Father's Day, as you might imagine, was difficult. My dad had been fighting bladder cancer for a number of years. The surgeons would operate, remove tumors and then he would spend days expelling clots. This last time, he just didn't seem to rebound. The pain, already considerable given his spinal arthritis, was compounded. He couldn't sleep. He couldn't eat. He put on a brave face, made plans to take long trips, but simply got worse. This last week was the worst for him. When I talked to him a few weeks ago I think he was trying to protect me, but then Dee called. Dee is the woman who has been his angel for the past eleven years. She was the love of my dad's life, and made his last years the happiest of his whole life.

Dee told me that it was bad, worse than he was letting on. Within a week the prognosis was that he was terminal. I made plans to get out to Utah as soon as the first summer school session ended, but his condition degenerated far faster than anyone expected. When I talked to him a week ago today, he was lucid and upbeat. But when the hospice workers started him on Fentanyl and I talked to him on Wednesday, he was starting to slur his words and the pain was so great, he knew when morphine was not working and the Fentanyl was kicking in. By Friday night, he was nearly incoherent and was talking about having visions. He still wanted me to pick up some Winchester rifle cartridges for him on my way out to Utah, though! When Dee put him to bed on Friday night, he didn't wake up again, which was probably a blessing. He passed away last night, so at least now his pain is gone.

I'll be writing about my dad all this week. There's a lot to say, and it will help with the grieving process. We'll be headed out to Utah to settle his affairs next week. We'll be camping in Panguitch while we're there. I know he'd have loved that.

1 comment:

KC Ryan said...

Aw, Jim, I feel so low.
How are you holding up, man?
I know you had planned on visiting next week...
Here's hoping that things will brighten up, sometime in the future. I know it may take awhile.
Nuts, I'm rambling here...
Anyway, take care. OK?