Tuesday, June 03, 2014

38 weeks, more Dad stuff, and the saving grace of a good book

38 weeks today.  Manuji is still inside.  I get painless Braxton Hicks contractions every day from time to time and a couple of times I've had a painful one that stole my breath.  But that's about it.  

Things have been rough.  Dad had the blood transfusion last Wednesday and it went fine.  He said he actually felt a little better.  But he was still pretty fatigued on Thursday.  On Friday at 6:30am, I got a text from my sister (she was supposed to go visit Dad that day) and he had called and told her not to come because he had been up most of the night in terrible pain.  She said she was thinking she should still go - what did I think?  You should go, I told her.  I called Dad and he told me he had woken up in the middle of the night in horrible pain - he said the pain was worse than when he had his bowel obstruction (which, as far as I could tell, was the worst pain he had ever had up to that point).  But Dad has a prescription for oxycodone, so he took that and the pain was still there, but a lot less.  

I'm going to skip over a lot of stuff that happened that morning.  The short route is that Dad's nurse practitioner did not think it was a delayed reaction to the transfusion - she thought it might be the cancer nodes pressing on nerves.  She did not think Dad should come into the doctor because his doctor would probably have him admitted to the hospital for a bunch of tests and she didn't think that was a) necessary or b) a good idea.  She advised him to keep taking the oxycodone.  Dad and I wound up having an argument over the phone while I was sitting in my OB's waiting room.  I am not going to repeat it because it just upsets me.  But again, the short story is that I was asking him questions and what not and got yelled at for being a "nag" and in my opinion, Dad was being supremely rude to me, so I told him I would talk to him later and got off the phone.  Shockingly, my blood pressure was only 100/60 after this conversation!  Couldn't believe it.

Sissy went up to Dad's that day and spent time with him.  She felt he was okay not going to the hospital, and she ran some errands for him, got him food, took out the garbage, etc.  I was really glad she went.   Dad and I talked later and he apologized for being mean.

Most of the weekend he was on oxycodone and if you've ever had a conversation with someone on painkillers, well, it's not the most fun.  By Sunday he went off them and found that the pain was basically gone.  So that was a relief for both of us.  On the other hand, he talked to his brother on Sunday, and apparently came clean about what's been going on.  Dad and his brother (who lives in Canada and is not able to travel down here because he cares for his very ill wife) are extremely close.  So telling his brother that he thinks he's run out of options for treatment and that he's nearing the end was very depressing and difficult.  Dad and I both cried about the situation over the phone.

One of my hopes for Dad was that he would have some time between end of treatment and disease progression where he felt well and could do stuff that he wanted to do before dying.  I am scared of disease progression happening without any respite and him basically being in a drugged stupor from now until death.  I am scared of him refusing to stop chemo and just getting sicker and sicker from the drugs that are no longer helping him.

One of the benefits from the weekend, though, was that Sissy asked me if I thought she should go with Dad to his doctor's appointment next Tuesday.  YES, I said.  That is a good idea.  So she is taking Dad to the doctor next week.  She will also call me from the office and put me on speaker phone so I can hear what happens.  

Today, Sissy went to visit Dad and texted me, "Did you know that Dad fell outside the cleaners and hurt himself?  The paramedics were called."  Uhhh, no, I did not.  Apparently it happened a couple of days ago?  I'm not totally clear on when it happened.  The paramedics bandaged up his arm and he's okay, I guess, but jeez.  Sissy reported that he's still very fatigued and depressed.  We have both noted that he is easily confused (especially about dates and days of the week).  The depression is to be expected.  We're both trying to talk Dad into going into assisted living, like, immediately.  Who knows if he'll agree.  Seems unlikely, but maybe.  I basically thought I was having a panic attack over this whole situation.  The timing of it all could not be shittier.

Another sad part to this story is that in the few minutes a day where I start to feel happy about having a baby soon, I wind up feeling guilty for feeling anything other than sad and scared about Dad.  Jeeves told me that I can't let this overshadow my happiness about Manuji - that after everything we went through to get here, he deserves to be celebrated.  He's right, of course.  But it's still kind of hard to give myself that permission.

And how's Manuji?  Well, at the OB appointment last week, the ultrasound tech declared fluid levels perfect and noted that he was lower than the week before.  Dr. C was able to feel his head (during the most aggressive and unpleasant pelvic exam I've probably ever had), but noted that my cervix is still closed tight.  And that was about it.  Back in this Friday.

Late third trimester report - hand/finger pain, swelling, and weakness continues; some back pain, especially near the end of the day; pelvic pain; fatigue; lots of peeing; frequently hot.  Shortness of breath seems a little better (except when freaking out about Dad).  I've been taking a bath every night in Epsom salts with eucalyptus spearmint scent.  That's pretty much the best part of the day - when I sit in the bath and feel temporarily weightless.  Wish I had a pool!  

I guess a lot of this post is about control.  I've been feeling scared about the baby because I have no control on when he's coming or if he's going to come without help.  I'm scared of induction and a c-section like my sister had with her first.  I'm trying to let that go - whatever is going to happen is going to happen.  And Dad - that's all about control too.  For both of us - we have no control anymore over his cancer and how or when he's going to die, and he's desperately clinging to his independence which he just can't do anymore, and I'm dealing with the fact that I can't control his situation.  

I know I used to write about the books I was reading a lot.  I haven't been reading much since the move.  It's been hard for me to get caught up in a book.  Over the last 4 days or so, though, the one thing that's really helped take my mind off of what's been going on (besides ice cream and pastries) is a book.  My friend Tati lent me Night Film by Marissa Pessl.  I can't put it down.  It's not even YA!  Or SciFi/Fantasy!  I'm not done with it yet, I will give a fuller review when I'm done.  But what a sweet pleasure, to lose oneself during troubled times in a book.  I'm grateful for that.

There's been other good stuff - infant CPR, I got fitted for nursing bras, and Jeeves has had a serious case of the nesting (he even installed the car seat!).  But for now, I will leave you, and hope I have better news to report next time.


  1. Getting close! Sorry things aren't great with your dad...continued prayers!

  2. Anonymous3:53 PM

    Oh honey, I am so sad to hear about your dad. It is just so hard and I can't imagine the excitement of Manuji coming coupled with the stress and sadness of losing your father. But I hope that you do have bunches of great and exciting moments preparing for him to be here soon!

  3. I'm so glad your sister is stepping up a bit to help out. I hope it continues, and your dad's pain doesn't return. I also hope you let yourself feel happy and excited. Your joy doesn't hurt your dad—in fact, I bet it brings him joy.