A Skippers Tale XXI

Choppy Waters

It’s just past midnight, so technically I haven’t posted two blogs on one day… but just read it as if I had posted this a few minutes ago.

FYI Dad has just left in an Ambulance for Sir Charlies.

Something I omitted from my last post was that the Cancer Coordinator Nurse Ann had told us that if Dad didn’t show noticeable improvement or if anything else developed that we weren’t to waste time with GP’s or the local hospitals, but to call and Ambulance and get him straight across to Charlies.  She is in the process anyway of trying to bump Dad up for a follow up MRI, but now, I think it is going to be highly likely they will do one as routine.

This evening just before getting into bed, Mum noticed that Dad was trembling… Mum asked him if he was cold and Dad replied no… so Mum asked him if he was feeling shaky?  Dad replied yes.  I was down the back getting ready for bed myself so I didn’t see it, but Mum monitored Dad getting into bed and then got in herself.  a minute or two later Mum noticed that the bed was shaking.  Dad was shaking hard enough to affect the bed.  It was at this point Mum called me down.  Dad held my hands and you could feel the involuntary shakes in them.  We took his temp and it was up a bit, something we had been warned to watch for… When he tried to get up and nearly pitched to the ground we decided to err on the side of caution.

Ironically the Ambo who arrived was the same one who saw Dad the last time he had a scare and was taken up to Armadale.  He remembered Dad had a “Grumpy Old Submariner” t-shirt on (There you go Dave).

His BP appeared okay, but as they got him to stand up again he nearly pitched it…  “Don’t do that… it’s much more paperwork for us” was the Ambo Matt’s quip.

Unbeknownst to us at this time, Leanne had been woken by her Cavi-poo Twisty having a right old ding-dong barking session and when she asked her husband Brian what she was going off like a pork chop over, Bri replied… “That would be the Ambulance in the Lawrences Driveway”…. <<blink blink>>  “Right!  I’ll be back shortly!”

Lea arrived just as the guys were bundling Dad onto the stretcher and has provided us with some much needed guiding to helping move Dad if required… and a firm kick in the pants to say… CALL ME!  What are besties for.

So now I am going to bed… Coco is keeping Mum company on her bed and hopefully tomorrow morning we will have a better idea of what is going on.

We think this is a conspiracy by Dad to avoid seeing people as Syd and another navy chum, Uncle Shane and my cousin Damon and most possibly my other bestie Jules were going to try and catch up with us tomorrow… or… today…

So… night all and I will keep you all informed.


A Skippers Tale XX

In the Doldrums

I preface this post by saying it is probably going to be quite maudlin, and I apologise in advance.

Today has been quite a hard day for the Lawrence household. Not because we received more bad news or anything like that, it’s just been one of those days.

Actually it’s be a couple of weeks of Those days… it all started about three weeks ago after Dad’s first round of chemo tablets. The Neurologist suggested that we start stepping down Dad’s steroid medication by perhaps .5mg a week. Dad was supposed to have been weened off them about 4 weeks after diagnosis, but changing the dose seemed to have a significant effect on Dad.

No more than now… within days Mum and I had noticed that Dad was ‘phasing out’ more and was far less responsive than what we have come to expect as normal. But it wasn’t just that, it was other things like his ability to function day to day had changed… we were repeating ourselves more often for the same things… Dad’s ability to assess his daily needs was slipping. After about a week of this, we consulted with the Dr’s and they said to return to the 4mg… We hoped it would improve things… it hasn’t.

Now, this could be one of three things… 1) the drug is getting less effective, 2) There are more lesions growing, or 3) the ones he has are getting bigger. None of these are a great prognosis. Dad’s self care has been significantly effected by this and he’s becoming so frail Mum and I are starting to have to help him get in and out of bed some days, if he gets out at all… It’s… difficult.

I’m feeling more than a little guilty because I was in Perth over the weekend just past for an event much like the one in April, and once again, Mum was home with Dad. Though I was a phone call away and Mum said she was fine… I am now seeing the deficit in her from her being here on the weekend and now I am feeling like I should have been able to read between the lines.

I guess, this is where it’s finally starting to hit me… I learned this evening that Val Doonican had passed away age 88. For those who may not know him Val was an Irish singer who I remember going to see when I was only about 11 down in Albany… Three songs really stuck in my head, Paddy McGinty’s Goat, O’rafferty’s Motor Car and Delany’s Donkey – nonsense little ditties that make me smile every time I hear them… But I had forgotten one of his other songs, until I stumbled across it on you tube this evening… Marvelous Toy… within seconds of listening to the tune I remembered how it seemed to remind me of Dad when I was young and even back then it could bring a tear to my eye… Now, I can’t even get past writing the name without losing my shit near hysterically…. I was even standing in the shower not fifteen minutes ago and the tune popped into my head and I broke down there. Which seemed to set me off even more…

I haven’t told anyone this before, but about three days before Dad had his first turn I was having a shower at my place and a thunderous thought imploded in my brain… I am an only child, I have no partner, no significant other, hell I don’t even have anything remotely resembling a romantic relationship… When Mum and Dad have passed away… that’s it… I’m alone! I know people will tell me that I have extended family and friends, but truthfully… the buck stops with me as they say… I can’t fall into the arms of a sibling who will be experiencing the same pain I am, I can’t turn to my other and cling to them for support… There will be nada… zip… zilch…

Remember this joyful little bundle turned up BEFORE Dad’s problems

Tonight those thoughts are weighing heavily back on my mind… and once again, for some ungodly reason they decided to hit me while I was in the shower…

Watching Dad wither away is most probably the hardest thing I have ever faced, and to anyone who has gone through it… I never truly understood what you’ve gone through and I apologise for any callous or flippant remarks I may have made inadvertently…

I am trying to make every day count, but to be honest… The towering strength that is in my Dad is eating itself alive and day by day we seem to be losing more of him and soon Mum and I are going to have to face the very real possibility that we will no longer be in a position to give him the care he needs.

Fortunately we do have a couple of wonderful cancer nurses who are arranging to get some people out for an assessment and to see what can be done to make our lives a bit easier with Dad’s care… but that still doesn’t diminish the fact that these little shits decided to set up shop in Dad’s brain… GBM has a frequency rate of 2-3 per 100,000!!!!! The little bastards couldn’t have set up shop somewhere else… like perhaps a convicted child rapist or something???

I think I am done for the evening… my head is pounding, my eyes are sore and I need to get some sleep… I only have one more thing to say…