Rule #48 – You can’t control what happens, only your response to it.
Last posting, I made myself a few promises. I thought I could write at that time. I thought I could work around doctor’s appointments and helping Hub feel better. I even envisioned making notes while he was in physical therapy. Boy, was I wrong! I’ll have to remember the
another time. Will ’s Museum
will have to influence my word-smithing at a later date. Rogers
The world as I know it is now forever changed.
When I said in that last post entry, that our next move to find the source of Hub’s back pain was another doctor, it turned out to be an oncologist. In the period of 3 weeks, we saw our family physician, a spine surgeon and an oncologist. Hub also had 2 MRI’s and a bone scan. The verdict was the same all around – cancer was back in our lives.
Hub was able to hang around at home for a bit. Sleeping was a chore. He was in big time pain from his back and it reared itself worst at night. He did feel best sitting in an upright chair. We watched a lot of History Channel together those days.
But I noticed small changes. He was having a harder time getting up from the sofa. He moved to a taller chair, but then had a very hard time getting up from that. He couldn’t take more than a few steps without stopping and catching his breath. He was using a cane, but that didn’t seem to help.
As the days passed, he seemed to deteriorate before my eyes. The robust fellow who knocked back wine at the Winemaster’s Dinner now had no appetite. He didn’t even want ice cream. I drove him the doctor’s appointments, and he didn’t criticize my driving.
We got to his spine surgeon’s appointment, and he needed a wheel chair to get into the office. It didn’t help that the girls at the reception desk hit us with, “We scheduled you for appointment, not a one. We’ll see if we can squeeze you in.” This is after we spoke with the doctor directly who told us when to come in. That doctor was calm about telling us that the cancer had invaded the bone near his spine. There were small cracks in one of the vertebrae, which is why Hub was having so much trouble walking.
Later that same day, we met with Hub’s oncologist. He showed us the MRI results. I was never more afraid in my life. I’m not sure if the severity of the lung cancer diagnosis registered with Hub or not. He was always so stoic. Never showed his true emotions. Never showed any fear. That was Thursday afternoon. We left with a bunch of prescriptions to begin as soon as possible. Then the following Monday, he was to report to the hospital for a biopsy, to identify the “beast”. We would see what treatments were available based on the "beast" we were dealing with.
By Friday, after a few doses of the pain medication, Hub was having more and more trouble walking. He was having a hard time going to the rest room. His appetite was non-existent. We didn’t even go upstairs to sleep on Friday. We just stayed downstairs. He slept on the couch. I slept on the floor.
On Saturday, we started the day quietly. Hub was saying weird things at times. He was having a really hard time getting his point across. We both knew the pain meds were slowing his speech and making it difficult for him to get the thought out through the mouth. But as the day progressed, he seemed to get weaker. Then he couldn’t get back on the sofa without major assistance from me.
I felt like I had failed him when I said that I couldn’t do this by myself anymore. He needed the professionals taking care of him. I had to call the ambulance. I talked to the oncologist on-call, and he agreed with me. Then my call to 911…
How did things get this bad this fast? What happened? What did we miss on his other doctor’s appointments? How did this healthy guy, who pushed lawnmowers with no problem only a few weeks earlier, become a frail, fragile fellow? And the big question... why?
Why now? Why him? Why us? We're not done yet. We are just getting started. We aren't ready for something this severe.
When the paramedics arrived, they asked Hub some questions, and he seemed a bit confused. The chief medic explained the physical side of what was happening in a calm manner. He wasn’t aware that the diagnosis hadn’t even settled into our brains yet. He didn’t know that all this information was too new to both of us.
I called my cousin and asked her to meet us at the hospital emergency room. Yes, the same cousin who only 2 weeks before buried her mother from a freak accident. This was all too much for both of us. I needed someone strong beside me. And she works in a hospital and knows the ropes.
I grabbed all the vital information I thought I’d need to take with me. The paramedics got Hub on the stretcher and into the ambulance. I followed behind in the car. My heart sank and I was tearing up as I pulled out of the driveway.
I remember feeling my late mom sitting next to me in the car. I thought I felt her rubbing my shoulder like she used to when I was a kid. I remember crying a bit as I drove out of the neighborhood.
“He’s not coming back to our house, is he, Mom?” I remember saying out loud.