In early January, my dad started coughing up blood. At first his strong but silent personality tried to cover it up. He's one of those guys that believes that "walking it off" is a good way to get better and that doctors are for extreme medical situations only. After he had made a joke regarding his health, my mom jumped on his case. She coerced the cranky man to go to the emergency room and get tested.
At the first (of three hospitals,) an X-Ray found a spot on his lung during a biopsy. The doctors had deemed it a lesion and helped his severe coughing settle after a few days . He was released from the hospital a few days later as it was determined that the spot was benign and just needed to heal.
After being out of the hospital for a little under one business week, my father began coughing up blood again. This time he was taken to Good Sheppard Hospital in Bartlett. After a couple days there, his doctors advised for him to be taken to Rush, where he would undergo a surgery to remove a small portion of his lung. Doctors estimated that it would be around 1/8 to a 1/6 of his lung and that he would be back on his feet in a matter of weeks.
After this operation, the doctors informed my mother that the spot on his was indeed cancerous. In order to prevent any spreading, the surgeon made the brave decision of removing exactly half of my dad's left lung. This would mean a longer recovery time for my father. He was kept in the hospital for the remainder of the week to monitor his condition. Over the week my dad dealt with complications in his recovery, involving a fever and intense pain that was hard to overcome. The surgery had been on Monday, he was scheduled to go home on Wednesday or Thursday. He did not leave until Sunday. The surgery and illness had started to become a lot for my father to handle.
My dad was finally home for a good portion of last week. Despite some tantrums from being locked in the house all day, he stayed focused on becoming healthier and hanging out with our dog Charlie. It was hard to see my dad in so much pain. The surgery had even made it near to impossible for him to laugh. But my dad is dedicated to a speedy recovery and was willing to work for it.
But on Sunday (2/25) night, I received a worried call from my mother. She explained that my father was having problems breathing. He had almost passed out from the lack of oxygen in his body. She was tempted to call the ambulance, but my hard-headed father talked her out of it. He didn't think that it was worth the money on the mountain of medical bills that has accumulated since the beginning of the year. After talking to my mother, we both decided that it would be best if I drove home and took them both to the hospital. When I pulled into the driveway, both of my parents came out and got into the car. I had the heat on (because I was cold) and my father became flustered and exclaimed that I needed to turn it off immediately . This reaction scared me, I had never seen my father panicked like that before. This is when I realized what kind of toll this was taking on my father and how I needed to do something to help.
As of last night (2/27), my father has been in stable condition. It turns out the the complications on Sunday night were from severe blood clotting in his lung. He will be on blood thinning medication for the next six months and when he is released, he will be sent home with an oxygen tank that will need to be properly installed in our home. These last couple weeks has been tremendously challenging for my mom and dad. Bills of all kinds are starting to stack and it's becoming more difficult to stay on top of them now that my father is unable to work at not one, but both jobs. I am watching the aftermath of cancer trying to end my dad, but he is doing everything in his power to overcome it. It would be a dream to be able to get my father the extra help that I cannot give back to him. We appreciate all the help we can get.
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