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).

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