Archive | January, 2014

Update on My Dad’s Health

28 Jan

We’re at the Best Western in Hillside, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. My dad had liver surgery about two weeks ago. He had two cysts taking up the right half of his liver, which is currently growing back. Tomorrow afternoon he’s going to have his first appointment since leaving the hospital.

My dad and I had lunch at the restaurant bar, and the selection wasn’t what I’d expect in a big city like Chicago…but of course, this is a tiny suburb. My dad and I shared a “vegetable deluxe” pizza, and I peeled most of the dairy cheese off and gave it to Dad. So far, it hasn’t given me diarrhea. On one hand, I’m thinking here we are in Chicago: I should be adventurous and use the GPS to get to one of the vegan restaurants. On the other hand, outdoors it’s about zero degrees with a wind chill making it feel like about negative fifteen degrees, so I might want to have salad in the bar. I should have asked Dad to check with the hotel, because the room has a fridge and microwave, so I could have brought a couple of entrees. That said, I have a green smoothie and snacks in the fridge.

I find it significant that the less contact my dad has with my mother, the less grumpy he is. That makes him much more pleasant company. Of course, I realize she has the same effect on me.

Anyway, Dad’s swollen feet and legs are gradually going down, and he’s discharging pretty much no bile. So I’m thinking the tube will come out tomorrow, during his appointment. I’m really looking forward to that. He won’t complain about it anymore.


Deceptive Rhetoric about “Deceptive Rhetoric”

23 Jan

On the Whiteboyworld TV news in the hotel breakfast room this morning, my ears perked up when I heard the phrase “the War on Women.” I thought this meant this particular station’s news was actually not Whiteboyworld propaganda, unlike what generally passes for mainstream media in the U.S.

But no, this “news” was utter codswallop about overt misogynists ludicrously claiming that the phrase “the War on Women” is “left-wing deceptive rhetoric.” Talk about hypocrisy as an extreme sport. An example of deceptive rhetoric is misogynists calling themselves “pro-life” as a euphemism for anti-women. It is also deceptive rhetoric to hypocritically call the phrase “the War on Women” “deceptive rhetoric,” rather than acknowledging that a spade is a spade is a spade. The phrase “the War on Women” is an example of stating the screamingly obvious.

Projecting is a common practice of perpetual five-year-old bullies, such as people who have extreme narcissist personality disorder. By projecting, I mean that the bullies accuse others of having their own negative traits. They project their own traits onto their scapegoats.

In almost the same breath, the newscaster spoke of “pro-life” demonstrators on the streets of Chicago.

The manner in which the newscaster presented this assault on my ears gave me the distinct impression that the newscaster is yet another misogynist who actually agrees with the cooties-infested batshits. Otherwise, I should think an enlightened response to this overtly hypocritical attack would have also been presented. Ironically, the newscaster was a cisgender female, probably a “female chauvinist pig,” as described in the book Female Chauvinist Pigs. I’m thinking it’s time I read Andrea Dworkin’s book Right Wing Women. (I realize Andrea Dworkin is a problematic second-waver, but that doesn’t invalidate everything she wrote. I appreciate the good bits.)

Update on my Dad’s Health

18 Jan

My dad had liver surgery At Loyola University Medical Center last Thursday.

I spent the night on a cot in my dad’s fancy hospital room. This morning, I met my dad’s tall, dark, and handsome young doctor. He said that my dad can take showers and eat normally. He just can’t lift heavy objects and has to keep the drain for his liver.

He has a tube attached to his liver that leads to a plastic pouch strapped onto his leg. The pouch reminds me of my Platypus water bladder for hiking—it’s a lightweight alternative to carrying bottles of water, and it has a tube that you suck through. The water bladder, that is. Anyway, the liver is draining bile (currently brown), and we have to every eight hours pour it into a cup and keep track of how much drains. A few minutes ago, a nurse said that the bile is lessening, which is a good sign.

He’s able to check out of the hospital today. I’m going to drive him to my parents’ house, hopefully get along tolerably with my mother and cuddle Honeycat, and later drop off the rental car and head for the hotel where I’m going to be staying. My dad wants to at least pick up money at the house and probably also clothing, since I’ve persuaded him to spend a few nights at my hotel room. There’s a huge quantity of snow (and I’m guessing ice) in the Valparaiso (NW Indiana) area, and the temperatures are extremely low. So having my dad at the hotel will mean I won’t have to drive to my parents’ house in such bitter cold every morning. That said, the hotel is a short drive from their house, especially considering that their house is in the country, and the hotel is in town.


Liver Issues

11 Jan

A friend asked me some questions about the cysts in my dad’s liver, after I said that he had two benign cysts and he had to lose half his liver. She asked: What is the cause of the cysts? Was it cancer? What was the diagnosis? Cysts like that don’t appear overnight; they would have started forming before he had open-heart surgery. Answer: he doesn’t know; he still hasn’t gotten the results of the biopsy. There was a black spot and bleeding when the doctor found the problem.

The surgery for cysts tends to be preventative. He’d have an oncologist if he actually had cancer. They ran a bunch of tests that ultimately proved he didn’t have cancer and didn’t need an oncologist. They probably wanted to prevent it from developing into cancer. He could have a cystic liver disease.

Cysts that are large can be painful and bloated and can lead to liver cancer. When he went to the original hospital, his liver was bleeding and the doctors thought it was an emergency, which is why he ended up in the ICU.

It can be scary when you’re at a hospital and getting lots of tests for cancer. I thought he had liver cancer because he initially said the doctors keep throwing around the word “cancer.” So I assumed that because there were growths in his liver, he must have liver cancer.

The cysts were probably growing for over a year, probably for years. They finally got too big and took up too much of his liver. Perhaps in the past they only took up a small percentage of the liver, such as when he had heart surgery. It’s safest to take them out in order to prevent liver disease/liver cancer from developing. He was predisposed to get liver cysts.

The body is crap. It’s no wonder people are so fascinated by immortals and vampires and ghosts; they don’t get liver cysts. Also dance performance involves healthy bodies.

Accidental Rhyme

4 Jan

What the hell!

What just fell?

I can’t tell.

On the Phone with my Dad

2 Jan

My dad is in the hospital, specifically Loyola University Medical Center in the suburbs of Chicago. The way the doctors were talking, they’ll remove 60 percent of his liver. It seemed like they were trying to put him off, but he doesn’t want to

He hasn’t had any food since Monday morning. He had a packet of oatmeal before going to the doctor. Since then he’s only had ice chips.

They may put off the surgery, but he’d rather they didn’t. He’ll have three major tests before they do surgery. Originally, he had severe bleeding, but the bleeding stopped and has stabilized. He’s been hooked up on IVs the whole time, even in the new room. This is just a regular room. Twin room in a narrow highway; they’re a little cramped and crowded.

My brother’s x-wife was suggesting that he go out there to help out dad, but Dad doesn’t like that idea because of the expense.

My mother called but only wanted to speak for a minute because she was about to go to bed and was tired. (She keeps texting about snow.)

He has to take a test in which they stick a tube down your butt and throat.

He has a feeling he’s not going to be traveling very much. Even if he survives, he doesn’t think he’ll be traveling for another year.

He said, “Don’t try to come back here for a while.” This is because of the, um, blizzards. Before I plan to come down, he said, “Let’s see how things go first.”

If they clear enough snow, my sister could make it from Kansas City. But it’s iffy. In some parts of that area, there are up to twenty feet of snow.

The hospital is a Level 1 Trauma Center = the most advanced level. They can take care of just about everything, it’s one of only three in the Chicago area.

The Porter County hospital in Indiana was great for his heart surgery, but they didn’t seem to think they could take care of this liver problem. It’s very specialized.

He’s seen at least twenty-five doctors in the past couple days, but it’s because it’s a teaching hospital. Some of them are interns. They have to be able to get hold of a doctor in a sudden emergency—that’s what “trauma center” means.

He saw six armed guards at the hospital on New Years. They were big and looked like someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. They had belts with all kinds of weaponry. While the hospital is excellent, it’s in a high-crime suburb.

One day they’re optimistic, and the next day they’re not so optimistic. They have more tests to do. A doctor said an MRI wouldn’t make any difference.

Initially, the family doctor panicked because he saw a blob on his x-ray and said, “Don’t go home in this weather. Go to the hospital right away. It’s urgent.” So he went to the hospital, and a doctor said, “We’ve got to get you away right away.” It sounds like the doctors in Indiana were more panicked than the ones in Chicago.

“This has been a bad year. What’s that expression, if it can go wrong it will?” (heart surgery, root canal, and now liver cancer)

His roommate just had hip surgery and has lots of stitches. He was on a bicycle and slipped on the ice.

They won’t let him do anything on his own. Today they did let him take a walk. He’s been taking sponge baths and has nurses doing everything for him.

“Don’t be in a rush to come back here.” That’s what he’s told all three of us. I mentioned my coming to Indiana to help out and staying at a hotel (to avoid my mother’s smoking, which would undoubtedly give me a respiratory infection if not pneumonia).

My Dad Has Cysts in his Liver

1 Jan

In the past week, my mother has texted a couple times, saying that my dad is coughing and choking. I felt very angry at her, thinking of her cigarettes and knowing full well that she’s undoubtedly smoking in the house. And here she is saying that he’s coughing and choking. Of course he’s coughing and choking!

Yesterday she texted saying that my dad was in the hospital. This really shocked me. I asked for a phone number so that I could talk to my dad, and she texted me the phone number for the nurses station and said to ask for the room number. Next she texted, “They are sending him to Loyola. Something wrong with his liver.” She gave me the address and phone number and room number for the Loyola hospital and then texted that it was currently eight and they’d be sending him at 9:30 (p. m.).

After a brief, panicky crying fit, I calmed down enough to call my dad at Porter County Hospital. He said he had a catscan and that the problem is with his liver. He has low hemoglobin levels and mentioned a blood transfusion. He sounded like he was probably drugged, and he was a bit hoarse. He said that he needs a specialist and would be riding an ambulance to Loyola (maybe my mother said that via texting before my dad told me). I recognized the name and immediately thought it was a hospital affiliated with a university, which it is.

He said, “Let your brother and sister know, but be vague.” This was after he said that a doctor bluntly stated that he’s in “critical condition.” He said that usually nurses tell patients stuff like that, and nurses are gentler about how they break the news.

Toward the end of the phone conversation, he mentioned Charlie and I realized that he thought I was my sister Sally (I had said, “This is your daughter” when he answered the phone, and of course the call was transferred from the nurses station, so he didn’t have caller ID). I didn’t feel like correcting him.

I called my dad again this afternoon, this time at the second hospital.

Francis called the Loyola hospital before my dad even left Valparaiso, Indiana. My dad hasn’t heard from Francis yet (actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re on the phone right now).

That was his first ambulance ride ever. This surprised me, since he’s seventy-two years old—almost seventy-three. The road at some point in Illinois was very rough. He could see through a window in the ambulance, and everything was backwards—I think this means he was facing a back door that had a window. (I don’t remember seeing through a window when I was in an ambulance, but then my neck was in a brace because I’d just been the victim of a car accident.) Throughout the ride, he chitchatted with the driver and the paramedic. He arrived in the ambulance at about midnight. It took about two hours because of the snow; normally it would only take one hour.

When they got to the hospital at about midnight, they each yelled, “Happy New Year!”

The hospital has an ambulance supplies room, for towels and such. You push a key code, 911, and you can get into the supply room. My dad thought the key code was funny.

The hospital is in a very high crime area but is an excellent quality hospital affiliated with a major (Catholic) university. It is the Loyola University Medical Center, and my dad is in the ICU. This hospital is huge and each nurse has four or five patients, so they don’t have someone assigned to his room; he has to push a button to get a nurse to come. He described the hospital as very large, the size of the hospital I went to because of my appendix. It has six hundred beds. This hospital is in a high-crime suburb of Chicago and has a great many security guards. He said, “I’ve never seen so many security guards!” You have to push security buttons to get inside, and his wallet and such were put into a locked space.

He’s been having acid reflex and breathing problems; I think he was referring to issues he’s had since the heart surgery. He gets the hiccups or has trouble breathing. Hiccups cut his breath off, he gasps, and it’s getting worse. He thinks it’s probably related to his liver.

He’s had about fifteen blood transfusions since last night.

He has a critical situation, according to a doctor. There’s a tumor on his liver, and they’ll be cutting away a large mass of his liver. They want to save at least part of his liver, because otherwise he’d need a transplant. A younger doctor acted positive and said that the bleeding has stopped, but an older and less friendly doctor wasn’t as positive.

He had a cat-scan in Valpo and has since had two cat-scans at Loyola.

He’s living on ice chips and isn’t allowed to otherwise eat. Can’t get back to bed without help walking. His liver is precarious, and he can’t walk around currently and has to stay in bed for right now.  And of course he gets hiccups, and they have no way of controlling that. He keeps sucking on ice chips.

He woke up at 5 am and fell back to sleep later. 6 am cat-scan.

He has his cell phone but doesn’t have his charger because he didn’t get to go home from the Porter County Hospital (Indiana) and get his charger. So I’ll stick with the hospital number. He has to wait for us to call him, rather than him calling us.

What he called the most painful thing yet was a catheter tube stuck in him. They have to lubricate the tube. He can’t get out of bed at all, including to use the bathroom, because they want to keep his liver steady.

He has things on his legs that massage them to prevent blood clots in his legs, because he’s lying in bed all the time. They also gave him shots for it. They just gave him another echocardiogram. Apparently it’s a big mass.

Sally has called and offered to come down, but Dad discouraged it because of the weather. It’s been snowing, and they’re supposed to have another twelve inches of snow (in Morgan Township). The weather is actually the reason he wasn’t flown to Chicago and instead rode an ambulance.

My dad said, “Don’t panic.” Yet he’s talking as if he seriously isn’t sure he’ll survive this.

I’m thinking I’ll reread the Paranirvana Sutra today and read some of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which I’ve never gotten through (I have a huge unabridged translation).

I found a local florist (Grand Avenue Florist) and ordered a vase full of flowers (including orange roses) that will be sent to my dad’s hospital room. I chose tomorrow as the delivery date, but since the florist is undoubtedly closed today, I figure it will probably get to him on Friday.

A New Year, a New Beginning

1 Jan

Or so I hope.

From Sunday to New Year’s Eve, I felt depressed thanks to a power-tripping bully in one of my favorite places. On top of that, yesterday my mother texted to let me know that my dad is in the hospital. It turns out that he is having a liver problem, low hemoglobin, and he rode an ambulance from Valparaiso, Indiana, to a hospital in Chicago. He is in the Intensive Care Unit. This summer, he had open heart surgery. A month or so ago, he had a root canal.

My New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Don’t give power-tripping bullies any second chances. I’ve too often given them second, third, fourth, etc. chances.
  2. Submit writing every week. Get published regularly.