Saturday, August 31, 2013

Withdrawal .........

I have been missing the Internet. For nearly a week! I have all the symptoms of withdrawal. Tired, moody, agitated ........ full of words to share.

Here it is Labor Day weekend and the temperatures have soared to triple digits. No rain for awhile and the area is so dry we are under a campfire ban. Guess I won't have to worry about delivering firewood. I will miss the added revenue, though. I looked out to see all the heads bobbing in the pool. I wonder what the water feels like. Can't be cold,since it was still hot outside at 2:45 this morning.

I went south for a quick trip to see my Dad. I awoke bright and early (4:30 AM) on Tuesday morning and we drove to the airport for my early flight. I arrived in Atlanta before He Who drove me to the airport got back to the campground. There I had a 3 and 1/2 hour layover before the next leg of my journey.

I am not fond of the Atlanta airport and thought this to be somewhat of a good thing, since I may have to hoof it pretty far to find the concourse for my connecting flight. With all that time on my hands, wouldn't you know I would land almost right next to my departing gate. I read a book, walked around and even discovered that the airport had their very own version of the Dollar Tree! Sort of. Everything was $10. Found that the cheapest food was Chik-Fil-A and bought my lunch and put it in my carry on bag. Only 20 passengers on my flight and everyone had lots of room.

I got my rental car, a basic sedan, despite the efforts of the little girl behind the counter trying to upgrade me to a convertible or a Porsche. Considering the fact that I drove half the distance to my destination before I finally found the cruise control, I doubt a convertible would have been worth it.

My Dad has stomach cancer. The tumor is wrapped around his esophagus. He has completed his chemotherapy and radiation. Surgery to remove the tumor, along with part of his esophagus and stomach is next. He has been very optimistic until just recently. Daddy's glass has always been half full. He plods along determined to make the best of whatever life may throw at him.

He looked forward to losing his hair, saying that Mama could stop plucking his ears. A feeding tube was put in place and the nutritionist met with them both. Everything moved along until the feeding tube became infected in July. He was already in a weakened state from the chemo and his optimism was lagging. Daily calls and reports from Mama kept me informed, but ....... I still worried about him and was longing to see him with my own eyes. To make things doubly difficult, this is when my sweet mother-in-law passed away.

Both of us were torn. July is the absolute busiest month of camping season. The time when you collect the revenue that allows you to eat in the winter. Only one of us can leave. I was thankful that He Who mows had been able to make the trip to see his mom in the spring. We both felt it was more important for him to be with her while she was alive. I refused to let him make the trip alone when she died. That is something no one should have to do alone. Instead he mowed and mowed. Then he got out the weed whacker and groomed everything with the exception of my gardens ...... he knew better than that! I would have looked the other way, during this awful time, but I am glad he restrained himself.

Daddy left the hospital with his wound packed and a regimen of nurse visits. I could tell he was not feeling well, but that was to be expected. He was having trouble maintaining his weight and his appetite was gone. He was still pretty upbeat when I called, though.

He went back into the hospital a couple of weeks ago severely dehydrated and very weak. He has macular degeneration and his vision had become worse. When I talked to him he was so very depressed and sounded so feeble. Broke my heart. It seemed like this was just the last straw for him. He said to me, "I can't even read the newspaper." My dad loves to read. He reads everything. Cereal boxes, billboards, road sign ........ aloud.

Pretty annoying when you think about it. Riding along and having to listen to him read out each sign in a sing-song voice and add his own commentary. I now find myself doing it, too. Genes, you know. I called him as often as I could and he was still not himself when he went home with bags of nutritional supplements that were supposed to be administered through an IV while he slept. The whole set-up scared my poor Mama. She has worried herself into a frenzy. Afraid she might do something wrong and the pump would go nuts and kill Daddy.

My son arranged and paid for my air transportation to see my dad and I finally arrived Tuesday around 4:30, 12 hours after I left home. I was going to surprise him, but told him I was coming. He had 2 units of blood a few days before and was like a new man. Still tiring easily, but so much better. I took him a tablet so that he can read books with a font size to suit him. He has fought having a computer long enough!

His appetite is better and he has gained some weight. My Mama is a force feeder! She likes to fill the table with food and expects those around that table to make it disappear. I spent the whole day with him on Wednesday, complete with a nap! I went with him to the retina specialist Thursday morning. Nothing can be done for his condition. He has one cataract that needs to be removed and that will help, but his vision will continue to deteriorate slowly. Audio books won't be a good option, because even with his hearing aid he tends to miss a bit of the conversation.

But he was singing his silly songs and it no longer annoyed me. Mama said it was music to her ears. She is actually my step-mom, but treats me like her own. She makes my dad happy and that makes me happy!

It was still hard to say good-bye on Thursday. I hugged his bony shoulders and grinned as I waved to them, then cried as I merged onto the interstate. I was thankful for the solitude of the rental car. I arrived at the airport on time and sat waiting to board a full flight. Cheek to cheek we were. The flight took off late and we landed a little late .......

No problem, I thought, as I had landed near my boarding gate on the flight down. No such luck this time. I was muttering to myself as I dragged my carry-ons behind me and marched onward for what seemed like a mile to a train that whisked me to my location, where I had to walk another good piece before I found my gate. Another full flight and I had the middle seat on both flights. Flying is such an intimate experience.

I arrived home around 1:00 AM. I am still tired, but so thankful that I got to see my Daddy!


Brian Miller said...

ah get some know he loved seeing you and it was well worth the airport craziness...i used to travel all the time...funny i dont miss airports...smiles.

joanne said...

I'm so glad you took the time to see him now and I am sure he is too! You've made some wonderful memories, remembered good times, and helped him to get some strength back. I am sure he is a proud papa right now...telling everyone about his daughter who came all that way just to see him. get some rest now, the weary world will be waiting.

Erik's RV Blog said...

It was great you could make it out to see him and he who mows got to see his mom. I hope the treatment works for him.

It seems cancer is hitting so many people these days.


Mevely317 said...

Goodness, but you must be exhausted ... mentally and physically. Still, I'm so glad you went to see your daddy! That had to mean so much to him and your "mom." My own hubby is battling lung cancer and fighting depression; it makes me so angry that his own kids (who live in the same city!) are always "too busy" to come see him.
Hang in there!

mamahasspoken said...

Sorry to hear about your dad. It's hard to see our parents sick especially since we always see them as invincible. I will say a prayer for both of you.

ellen abbott said...

Good that you got to be with your dad. Mine died suddenly in the middle of the night of stroke. But it was the way he wanted to go.

Kathy G said...

I am SO tired of the hot weather!!!!! Sounds like a cool down is on the way.

A lot of my friend's parents have passed away the past few months. Never a nice thing to hear about; glad you were able to visit your daddy.