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Posted by ® Ali@Perth on March 10, 2007 at 8:19 am:

Hi everyone

Sorry about my late reply. I would like to say that I have been busy but in all honesty, that's probably not the case - or perhaps it is - who knows.

So you all asked me how my Dad went after his operation (and Sharrie, of course I don't mind you asking!). I have had to repeat myself about 1000 times about how it all went and what happened as it looks as if out of my sisters and my Dad, I'm the only one that really understands. Instead of repeating myself again, I have decided to copy and paste an extract of the email I sent Kristy filling her in on what was happening with Dad. There may be parts in this email that aren't relevant or you won't know who I am referring to but it will fill you in on how it all went as it's rather detailed (I know - not like me at all huh?!).

So, here it is...

So, as you know, Dad was admitted to Hollywood hospital in the early hours of Monday morning of last week. Whilst he was in Hollywood, his specialist noticed that his skin had a yellow tinge to it, as did his eyes. He was concerned that the cancer had spread to Dad’s liver so they ran all sorts of tests. It turned out that the cancer hadn’t reached Dad’s liver but that the lymph nodes surrounding his bile duct were cancerous and that they had blocked the bile duct which is very dangerous as that’s how the liver gets rid of the bile which is poisonous to the body. They decided to operate and said that the operation should be successful and that they were rather confident about getting the results they wanted. The operation involved having a tube placed down his throat, all the way to his pancreas where they hoped to insert a 2x2 mm tube to mend the obstruction caused by the cancerous lymph nodes.

I told you in the email I last sent you that on Thursday night, Dad’s specialist, Dr Stanley phoned Sally on her mobile. He wanted to let us girls know exactly what was happening and update us on Dad. He likes to make sure that we are fully informed and understand what’s going on. After Sally spoke to him – without asking many questions – I asked to speak to him and he happily obliged. We spoke for about 20 minutes. I just ran through all the questions I had for him. Such as; how much pain Dad will be in for the coming months, how long does Dad have left, what’s the best case scenario, what’s the work case scenario, what happens if the operation isn’t successful and so on. Dr Stanley told me that if the operation wasn’t to be successful then Dad would have only weeks to live. He also told me that he was hopeful that Dad had a few more months left. He explained that we would be encountering several problems soon but that we would face each one as they arose and that yes, the cancer would eventually “shorten his life” to which he said he was sorry.

The next morning (being Friday), I organised to have the morning off work so I could go into hospital with Dad and help him with the questions they ask and fill in the forms for him. On our way to his room, I bumped into Dr Stanley again. He stopped to talk to Sally and I. I had forgotten to ask him a few more questions so I asked away. I asked if Dad knew of the prognosis and he said he didn’t. He didn’t want Dad knowing at this stage seeing as when patients are told their cancer is killing them, they tend to give up quicker and Dr Stanley wants to try everything he can to prolong his life and keep him pain free so for now, he has decided that it’s best that Dad doesn’t know…although, we all know that Dad knows. It’s his body after all. He knows what’s going on. He constantly talks to us girls about it – “When I’m gone I want you girls to promise me…” is how it usually goes. He’s asked Sally and I to sit down with him to go through his Will, what he wants done with the house, his various bank accounts etc – not exactly something a daughter wants to do with her Dad. I have spoken to Uncle Ken and asked him to speak to Dad about a Will as I know Dad will over look things such as if he wants to be buried or cremated and where etc and I couldn’t bear to hear all of that straight from his mouth – not under these circumstances. Nor do I want to discuss any of it with him – it’s way too much for me to deal with and that may be selfish of me but I just can’t – physically, mentally and emotionally, I can’t.

As I said to you in the email I sent you, Friday was a nightmare for Dad. In short, I will tell you what happened. They put him under general aesthetic twice because the first time he went under and was taken to surgery, one of the machines broke down. They then took him for x-rays as he was in a significant amount of pain to which they discovered he obtained pancreatitis as a result of the operation. He was then left waiting on a bed in the hallway of the hospital for half an hour so he got up out of his bed and demanded that he be taken somewhere. A staff member offered to take him back to his ward but on the way he got lost and couldn’t find his way to where he needed to take Dad seeing as he was knew so they were roaming through Sir Charles of Gardiner for over an hour. If that wasn’t bad enough, when Sally and I went to go and visit him after I finished work, we were told that he’d be transferred back to Hollywood at about 3 or 4 p.m. to recover. When we got to Hollywood, nobody had any idea where Dad was. They presumed he hadn’t been brought back to them. Many phone calls to Charlie’s turned up nothing as they too had no idea where he was. Sally and I, absolutely ropable by this stage, went to find him at Charlie’s and found him in the exact same bed we’d left him in earlier that morning – except this time he was doubled over in pain and had in knees drawn up to his chest. I demanded to know what the hell was going on and spoke, rather firmly, to a nurse who informed me of Dad’s condition (i.e. the operation took longer than expected, that it was successful but he’d received an infection from the operation – the pancreatitis). I asked why he wasn’t being administered with any pain killers to which I was told they simply weren’t able to give him morphine as they didn’t keep any on that particular ward and that they were waiting for a room on a different ward to become available so he could be moved there. Needless to say, I was not amused. We waited with Dad while he was allocated a room – on his own – on a different ward and again waited with him until he was settled in, comfortable and pain free.

The rest of my long weekend was practically spent at the hospital. I was there at 8.00 a.m. Saturday morning and stayed with Dad until 12.00 noon. Then I went into the city with Lise and Mel (looking like a zombie and completely drained I might add) to shop for Mel’s birthday outfit. I then went back to the hospital in the afternoon with Sally and then went to Stacey’s for dinner and a movie. Sunday then consisted of going to Mum and Joe’s for a BBQ and then to the hospital to see Dad. Sunday night we had my cousins around, Brody and Roxy and Lisa for dinner and we all watched Ugly Betty, Grey’s and What About Brian. After that, I was needed to attend to Roxy who was violently ill and throwing up everywhere so I stayed up with her until 2.00 am. Monday then consisted of visiting Dad in hospital again – only to see that he was worsening and in a lot of pain – and then getting home, watching Titanic and then going back to the hospital to see if Dad had improved – which he had. A very exciting and eventful weekend, wouldn’t you say? All the while, you girls are having the time of your lives in Thailand. Yep, life definitely isn’t fair!

Anyway, today I phoned Dad and he is discharging himself from hospital as he is fed up of being there. He’ll probably be much happier at home anyway and I know he’s missing his dogs! J I’m glad he’s going to be home as I have missed him so much. It’s weird not having him around the house – even if all he does now is migrate from the couch to his room. At least when he’s home I can snuggle up on his bed with him while he sings me my old bed time lullaby which he made up – I’ll never tire of hearing that. It will be really good to have him home. I can’t wait to get home tonight to see him actually. You’ve got to appreciate very moment, don’t you.

Beau, the solicitor I have told you about before, came in this morning to let me know his Mum passed away on Friday from lung cancer. He explained to me what I’d have to go through with Dad – how awful it all was and how you can never prepare yourself for it. We talked for about an hour. I know he was trying to warn me of what was to come but I honestly wasn’t interested in hearing it. It’s the last thing I wanted to hear and he knew that but he said that he’d wished somebody had spoken to him as candidly as he was speaking to me as then you’re not so shocked by it all. I told him about all of what I have told you and he said his Mum’s doctors had said exactly the same thing – “We’re giving her a couple of months to a year. Perhaps she’ll manage to see this Christmas” which is exactly what Dr Stanley had said to me. Beau said that if you are told a couple of months to 12 months then you should not put your expectations higher than a couple of months – as 9 times out of 10 that’s more accurate. Nice, positive thinking huh? Nothing quite like it. I can’t believe I’m joking about it but I don’t know what else to do. The fact that Dad has less than a year left petrifies me beyond belief. I just don't know what to do with myself. I don't know how to think, feel, act or anything and it makes it that much harder with you guys not here.

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Since I wrote that email to Kristy (which was on Tuesday), Dad has been doing a lot better. He's very moody (which is VERY hard to deal with at times), he's still in pain and he's always tired but he looks MUCH better than what he did when he was in hospital.

Again, I just want to say thank you to all of you for your support and your thoughts. You know how much I appreciate it.

I will keep you all informed if anything else happens.

Enjoy your weekends!

Ali x

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