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March 27, 2012 / flogginwater

It’s Like a Kick in the Junk

Life is sometimes nice, sometimes it’s a bitch, and sometimes that bitch is wearing pointed toe shoes, and she loves kicking you right in the junk.

My old man was hospitalized again yesterday – taken by ambulance again. This time the doctors think there really might be something wrong. He’s coughing up blood, along with all the other same symptoms he’s had. I guess he’s coughed up blood off and on for a while – but hasn’t said much about it to me – which is odd because I hear about all of his other symptoms constantly from him.

So they say he’ll be in a minimum or 3 or 4 days, maybe more. He’s retaining a couple *gallons* of fluid – 22 lbs worth (so if water weighs 8 lbs per gallon, I guess that’s almost 3 gallons, right?). His legs were swollen pretty bad. I’m not sure how they figure he’s got 22lbs of excess water, but they’re the medical magicians, right?

He’s not getting any better, he’s getting worse, almost by the day it seems. While he hasn’t said it, and my sister (the annoying one – who he is constantly with anymore) won’t say it – but I honestly think the old man has late stage cancer. Probably lung cancer, given the blood he’s coughing up. My father in law pointed out that he had all the same symptoms when he was battling cancer before (my father in law has fought it off two times, and had a couple other scares).

Dad used to be very much into wood working. When I was a kid, all of his free time was spent in the wood shop, building this or that – everything from intricate little music boxes in the form of miniature grand pianos, to full floor to ceiling book cases, roll top desks, entertainment centers, and a boat. Dad spent a lot of time cutting and sanding and tooling wood, without wearing a face mask. He would spray on the clear coat finishes sometimes without wearing a respirator. Sometimes he’d sand those finishes without wearing one. Couple that with the fact that he smoked for half of his life (he’d quit by the time I was around, but then again, he was in his 50’s when I was born – and that adds up to a good chance at lung cancer or respiratory problems.

But then again, his blood ox levels still haven’t fallen below 90%, or at least that’s what I keep hearing. So who knows? He’s currently under the care of the cardiac care unit at the local hospital – because of all the excess fluid, and they’re also saying (again) that they think he has congestive heart failure. That’s a weird damn term anyway – because it sounds worse than it is, and it has as much to do with the lungs I guess, as it does the heart. My mom had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure for 3 years (or possibly more, I don’t quite remember exactly when she was diagnosed) before she finally passed away. I guess with that form of heart failure, fluid gets pumped into your lungs – your body basically gives itself pneumonia or something.

They were supposed to run a scope down his lungs today to see how things looked. Of course he’s already had X-rays done – but I the docs can tell more from actual color pictures than they can some weirdass greenish gray outlines of the X-ray, so more power to ’em.

I really hate to say it, but I’m afraid my old man won’t be with us come summer – unless there’s a radical change in his condition. I’ve watched him slowly getting worse ever since mom died. He had heart problems and was hospitalized himself 3 weeks before she went – spending a decade (all of his 70’s) being her primary care person took it’s toll. After she died – which was followed by the death of one of his biological sons almost a month to the day later – took a toll on him. I’ve watched him grow old in front of me.

When he was in his 60’s and 70’s – you couldn’t tell he was that old – he looked like he was in his 50’s. He was big and strong. He got shit done when shit needed done. He wasn’t an old man. Then, almost as if a turbo switch was hit – when mom was living out her last couple months – his age really caught up with him. He started loosing weight, he started getting physically weaker, bathroom trips became more frequent, he lost muscle mass…

And here in the last couple weeks, he’s taken to using a walker, and ordering an oxygen machine. He gets winded walking 10 paces. This is a man who used to regularly ride 5-10 miles a day on a bicycle for exercise. My old man was a drill instructor in the air force, a cop, and a prison guard before he retired and drove a school bus for another 20 years in retirement. That was another big blow to him – when the doctor told him he couldn’t drive – anything – for at least 6 months if his condition didn’t get better. He had to quit driving a bus mid-school year. He’s literally driven two generations of children to school – there were a number of parents whose children he drove recently, who themselves rode his bus as children. He got cards and candy and full size cakes from these folks on the holidays. That’s all over with.

It hurts to see him deteriorate like this – to regress from a strong healthy man into a frail old man almost overnight. His birthday is one month from today, on April 27th. He’ll be 83 years old. I hope he’s able to spend that day here at home at least – and not in some damn hospital bed.

I still haven’t heard a damn thing out of any of the jobs I’ve been applying for yet either – which just adds to the stress. I’ve had to put the boat my dad built up for sale – but there’s been no calls on it. I don’t want to have to put my little lake boat up for sale yet – but it might come to that too if shit doesn’t change soon.

Sometimes I really wish I could go back in time and be a kid again and not have to deal with all the crap that comes with being an adult. To fill my days with school, or playtime – to get to hang out with my old man when he was younger and strong and able and willing to go fishing. Growing older sucks.


  1. Brian J. / Mar 27 2012 15:53

    Sorry to hear this– hang in there man. I find it painful yet good perspective to be reminded of where we all end up… so I guess I hope you're able to find hope and peace in the hard times.

    prayers for your dad and for the jobs


  2. e.m.b. / Mar 27 2012 15:56

    Life's a bitch…full sense of that word. Really sorry about your dad…pulling for him! And you! Keep on keeping on.

  3. John Montana / Mar 27 2012 17:06

    Sorry to hear this mark…hang in there!

  4. Jay / Mar 27 2012 18:07

    I couldn't agree more about growing older and taking on all of the stresses of adulthood. Hang in there. I wish you and your father the best.

  5. Howard Levett / Mar 27 2012 18:25

    After being through what you've just described myself, I can only say hang tough, have faith and you will make it through. My best for your dad's health.

  6. brandon4455 / Mar 27 2012 23:13

    Best wishes mark, to you,your dad and the family. really sorry to hear about this. My grandmother was sick for years and was a fighter, she had congestive heart failure.. its not a fun thing to go through..stay strong and hang in there.

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