Our lives have been on a roller coaster ride since January....here's just one of the reasons...
Late Friday night DH's brother called, their dad (stepdad) was driving himself to the VA - he wasn't feeling well. He worked for Meals on Wheels and earlier he'd fallen off a porch - they thought he had internal bleeding.
Saturday, the VA sent Papa to a private hospital - the doctor who normally would operate to stop internal bleeding was gone. At the new hospital, the X-rays didn't look much like blood - so they did a biopsy, the doctor said it looked more like a mass. The biopsy results probably wouldn't be in until Monday or Tuesday.
DH asked his brother, do we need to come? Oh no, they said everything is good. DH talks to his dad on the phone and he sounds pretty good. He doesn't like being in the hospital.
Monday, no results from the biopsies.
Tuesday - it is definately cancer. The private hospital is sending him back to the VA. We are trying to get airlines tickets, time off, and/drive home. DH is on call so he's got to find someone to take it for him. We can't get anything to work out with the airlines. We decide to rent a car and drive - there are no cars here.
Wednesday - the cancer is a rare, very aggressive, painful, fast growing LMS. It attacks the soft tissue. It started in his back, moved to his groin, kidneys, lungs and now abdomen No cure, no treatment. Papa takes it all in stride. DH and he have a good, long talk. He says, "...well, the diagnosis isn't as good as it could be...but I guess I'm ready to meet my Lord...". They keep talking. He never complains about it. He does want to be back at work. He's almost 71, has been a widow for 15 years, and loves Jesus.
Thursday - the VA is making arrangements for him to go back home, but he can't go to his home - he has to have 24/7 professional help. He will go the rehab/nursing home there. They ask DH's brother to get his paperwork etc. The nursing home calls as soon as they know (because of the 30 years Papa worked with the senior center) and said he had a place waiting - no paperwork was needed. That is unheard of these days. They would be there first thing in the morning to pick him up. We have a flight lined up, are on a waiting list. About 2 hours later it gets canceled, this is right after the Bosten bombing. DH talks with Papa, tells him he loves him and thanks him for being his dad - it was a good talk.
Friday - the VA calls. Papa's kidney's have shut down 50%, he will not make the 55 mile trip home. His new prognosis is 2 days to 2 weeks. He will stay in the VA. We finally have flights but not until Saturday early am. We are leaving here Friday night to stay in SLC.
Saturday - DH's brother is a Vet, he can stay at the VA - and so he is there when a nurse calls. Papa is very restless. Papa asks him to come up. They read together and talk, Papa is uncomfortable now. You can see the tumor growing. It's putting pressure on his lungs. He says he wants to just listen to the Bible. They're reading Psalms. As BIL reads, no other lights are on, Psalms 33:1-3, Papa takes his last breath - a motion light in the room came on - no one else is in the room. We know it was Papa's spirit leaving this world and going Home!
We thank the Lord that he did not suffer very long, that he is now with Jesus!
Up until 4 days ago he didn't even know he had cancer, he didn't feel great - but he just kept working. He would have worked anyway. It was a very humbling experience for us. Papa was a good man, but just an ordinary man. Yet he touched many people. He rarely, if ever, fixed his own meals. He was a regular at Subway. This older man and a group of young adults became great friends, he witnessed to them in the way we are supposed too - not just in words but in deeds! He put his words into actions!
Also we never saw the man at the senior center who made sure everyone's tea glass was full, or their chairs were pushed in. He was the last one to eat, the last one to leave, and the first one to help. At their church he was always the first one there, he opened the doors, started the coffee, he helped them into the sanctuary, he helped them out. If each one of us lived our lives like he did, if we all touched as many people as he did, I think the world would be a better place.
Until we meet again, may the good Lord take a likin' to ya'