Today Dad got a surprise from some of his Navy chums that really put the twinkle back in his eye, which was a glad improvement on what we had experienced yesterday.
Since Wednesday Dad has been taking only 3mg of the steroid Dexamethadone that is designed to keep any additional swelling around his tumours down. It is the swelling that causes most of the problems with the brain as the head is designed basically to keep everything in and the inter-cranial pressure builds up and puts undue stress on the little grey cells.
Dr Gill did warn us that there is a pretty fine juggling act that comes along with this type of illness and that we would need to take things day by day to see what changes occurred. Mum and I had deliberately gotten Dad to do tasks over the past few days that required a reasonable amount of cognition, reading out loud, co-ordination based things, etc… we needed to keep a baseline of how he was performing so that we would be able to notice any change.
Yesterday there was a change. Dad woke with a headache – something he told us about for the first time, and he found that his legs were aching and he was constantly sleepy. Watching Dad move really brought home to me the difference in Dad, before he was like a frickin gazelle and trying to keep up with him was nigh on impossible. Yesterday I was having to slow for him. There were other little changes like the fact he had to be reminded to put his seatbelt on, or the fact he had gone out without his wallet… all these started to worry Mum and I. We attempted to contact his Dr but missed them by about half a hour. The Cancer Centre of course was closed for the weekend, so I did the only other thing I could think of – phoned Ward G52 where Dad had been in HDU. When I raised my concerns and wondered if I should bump Dad’s Dexies back up to 4mg the shift coordinator agreed, but suggested that I call Dr Gill on Monday, something I had intended to do anyway.
This morning, having now had two 4mg doses, Dad was feeling quite a bit better. Which was good, because he had been invited down to the WA Submarine Association meeting in Rockingham. Mum and I knew why people wanted him to come, but at the end of the day it was would Dad be ‘able’ to make it. Thankfully he was.
Shortly after this had all happened I had a call from the Secretary of the Association, Paul, who told me that the committee had decided to present Dad with a set of medallions representing all the Oberon Class Submarines that served in the RAN. Dad had been a chief petty officer when the Ovens (now dry docked at Fremantle) was commissioned and was one of the crew who brought her home.
The medallions are beautiful as you can see in the photo below and Dad was really chuffed to receive them. We didn’t stay too long after the presentation, because Dad was starting to tire, but I think it did him the world of good to catch up with his buddies.
This, plus a visit from one of his workmates Lance this afternoon has made the end of the weekend all rather good. And at the moment that’s all we ask for!