Monday, March 05, 2007

what to do when there's nothing to do?

My dad looks like my cat Molly now: saggy skin hanging off of knobby bones, scruffy hair and huge eyes that display that unique combination of intelligence, annoyance and indifferent stoicism. Like Molly, he moves slowly but deliberately, taking shorts breaths (his swollen liver pushes against his diaphragm making it hard for him to breathe). He's irritated that he needs to be taken care of and every once in a while a distinct eye roll reminds me that this faded character before me is still my dad. That's when he cogent, of course.

To be honest he looks better than I expected although he looks far from good. He's also incredibly doped up. At the ER, he apparently pointed to the Iv bag and said to the doctor:

"Whatever the hell is in there, just give me more." So, they doctors complied and sent him home with Methamorhpone. It's basically morphine.

Later in they day he mentioned that he didn't care about dying as long as he wasn't in pain. He couldn't function prior to the morphine, so I'm fine with all the doping, although seeing him in the cloud of artifical euphoria really is disturbing at times.

My frustrations so far have very little to do with my dad or my family. I nearly lost it yesterday when I discovered that my dad's doctor had called my mom asking about my Family Leave paperwork saying he had been waiting for the past 2 days for them. Turns out his mornic secretary never gave him the form when my mom called back inquiring. If you recall, I had contacted her on Friday asking her to please give them to him and she reassured me she would, so you can imagine how pissed I was when I discovered she hadn't. I wasn't the doctor's patient she explained to my mom. Ugh. Fucking moron! Had she read the cover sheet she would have known the paper work was for him to describe my dad's situation.

"ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID????" I wanted to ask her.

If she had only gotten the paper work to him on time, I wouldn't be feeling so anxious. I am thankful the doctor called inquiring because we wouldn't have known his secretary still had the forms if he didn't.

We see the oncologist tomorrow, but what I've read so far is a bit grim. The proposed chemotherapy is most likely for his lung cancer only--liver cancers do not respond well to chemotherapy and of all the medicines only 1 kind has any sort of effect on the liver cancer, although negligable. Most liver cancer patients who wait for a liver transplant die before they can receive one from a donor. The survival rate for those with late stage tumors, based off of a 5 year gain, is only 10% I've been instructed by Mom not to ask about chance of survival--to only allow my dad to ask the doctor that question.

I don't know what to think or feel. I guess I have to wait tomorrow, but still I guess I'm the pragmatic one on the family. I get it from my dad.

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Blogger Sammi said...

*hugs to you* there's nothing so good at making a bad situation worse as the incompetency of others. one can only hope that on some level, the secretary has that moment of "oh, I'm a dumbass" and doesn't do it to someone else now down the road :P

I suck at silver linings, I've tried to type four and they all sound ridiculous :P What you're in the middle of sucks, straight out. I wish I could do something for you to ease it :/ *hug* you are loved, we're here for you. Bunches of us.

Monday, March 05, 2007  
Blogger cchang said...

I appreciate you recognizing the suckage, to be honest. I realize the value of being optimistic, but there's also something to be said about preparing one's self for the worst.
Remind me when I get back to tell you more about the paperwork fiasco. I'm about ready to break into the doctor's office and shoot that secretary. She is so incompetent...makes me appreciate the competency of the admin people on my end who caught her mistakes.

Monday, March 05, 2007  
Blogger stitchwitch said...


I am so sorry you and your family are having to go through this. It is so hard to be the pragmatic one, but someone has to be. Just take care of your mom as best you can. And be sure to take care of yourself.

Monday, March 05, 2007  
Blogger cchang said...

Thanks Sandy. I'm trying to stay sane here--hence the perhaps off-color posts, but I need to keep my spirits up.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007  

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