Friday, April 28, 2017

Back Again

Friday morning Dad had a radiation appointment to radiate his hip and hope for pain relief. Michelle and I went over to the house and luckily Luke had come home because his class was cancelled. We needed all of us to get him in the car. Diane was discouraged. That morning getting him in the shower was difficult and overwhelming. He had lost strength again. A week earlier in rehab he was doing so good -- walking just holding on to his therapist's arm for support. Now he couldn't support himself again.

Luke and I were on either side of him. Diane in front and Michelle holding on to his belt in back. Dad couldn't remember what leg was supposed to step down each step. I'd tap his leg... "It's this leg, Dad. Move this leg." Sometimes he would get it. Other steps he'd say, "I'm not sure what to do." A few times he felt he was falling. Luke would comfort him in his upbeat voice, "I've got you, Dad. I'm not going to let you fall. You're doing so awesome Dad! You've got this!"

I am so grateful that my dad's boys love and care for him so much. They are patient and caring and loving in a situation that no teenager should have to be in. It was kind of breaking my heart and bursting with gratitude all at the same time.

We finally got him to the car.

After the trek to radiation, Michelle and Diane called that they were taking him back to Huntsman. After they had gotten home from radiation, he started to get confused. He couldn't remember why they'd been to the doctor that morning. "Was it for my prostate?" "No, you had pain. Do you remember where?" "In my knee?"  It reminded them of how he was acting with the brain bleed.

Diane called Luke and asked him to grab some buddies to help get Dad in the car. This is the text she sent the next day:
"I just wanted to tell u something about ur sweet boys. Yesterday Mike started to fade again and I knew we needed to get him back up to Huntsman. Mike is too weak to get down our stairs so I sent Luke a text and told him to grab some friends so they could carry Mike down to the car. Within 5 minutes Luke and Chris pulled up followed by McKay and Noah. Right behind them came Jon n Austin running.  They were able to carry Mike to the car [carried the wheelchair right down the stairs], get him in, hug us both, and when we pulled out of the driveway they were in a group hug comforting Luke in the garage. Really it was so great. Thx for raising such amazing boys."

I really am grateful for Chris and Luke's group of friends. They love to have fun and they have such good hearts. They are such great young men.

I met Dad, Diane and Michelle just after they arrived at Huntsman. First item of business was to get a CT scan. They got him on oxygen. He was much more coherent after the oxygen. We wondered if maybe the exertion and low oxygen had caused the confusion? Regardless, everyone felt it was the right call to check him out. When tested, his strength wasn't as weak as before. He was conversing, asking questions about his care and was involved. Yet he would need to close his eyes regularly and although he could follow two-step commands, he couldn't do three-step commands. He wasn't confused this time but would just think and then say, "I can't remember what you said."

At one point the nurse practitioner, Emily, (who we LOVE) had to ask what his wishes were about starting his heart if it were to stop. She said, "I'm not asking because I think you're going to die. I'm asking because it's important we know what you want. If you were to die, do you want us to bring you back to life."
Dad said, "No."
Diane and I immediately started to cry. Then he asked, "Well, what do you think, Diane?"
She said she didn't want to lose him. But that it was his decision he had to make.
Then he said he wasn't sure. I said, "If you're not sure, Dad, then I think your answer is, 'yes,' you do want them to revive you. You're not ready. You'll know when you're ready."
So he said with a laugh, "Can I change my mind?" And we were all relieved.

Soon it was time for Michelle to go to the airport (she managed to fly out for a couple of days in between buying a house in Richmond, VA and planning a move this summer and then just days prior canceling that plan when Brent was offered a job in Chicago. AFTER they already sold their house. So they needed to find a new one. It's a wonderful story that maybe she'll blog! Ha!)

We received the report from the neurologist that no bleed was indicated on his brain. What a relief! Lots of old blood still, but it was probably ok. Diane was happy to get him home. The nurse said it was imperative that he have a few days of rest. He hadn't had ANY rest time since leaving rehab two days prior with so many hospital visits. Hoping that his confusion was simply exhaustion.

Just as a nurse came in and took out his IV, Emily, the Nurse practitioner arrived (remember, we LOVE her). The attending neurologist had asked to run some blood tests and from that they discovered his platelets were low, his hemoglobin was low and his blood wasn't clotting too well.  They wanted to admit him and give him a platelet infusion/transfusion, steroids, and keep him on oxygen. His confusion and weakness was a result of the low platelets. Unfortunately, the low platelets were a result of the cancer being in his bone marrow and therefore the marrow isn't a good factory anymore. She said his former medication, Xtandi, would be out of his system by now so wasn't a factor in the problem.

Even though Diane was so ready to get him home, when the nurse came in with the new information and a plan, we all felt so good about it. It felt like it was possible to get him some real strength and help him feel better.

And then it was 6:00 p.m. and I had to leave because Dan and I were going to the Jazz game. It sounds trivial, but it was actually so nice to do something trivial and normal. Diane and Dad wholeheartedly agreed. Diane promised that she was going home to sleep and Dad promised he didn't want anyone to stay the night with him because he'd sleep better. And Diane also promised she'd call me if she needed me.

The Jazz lost but it was a great game and we had fun going out with our friends, The Englands.

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