Thursday night - Dad had a low grade fever of 99.5 and slowly rising to 100. Flora and Shine took him to the ER. The doctor told us to go if it was 100.4 or higher as it could be serious for cancer patients.
When they got there it went down to 99.8 and the nurse/doctor told them to go home and just continue to monitor his fever. I was relieved, hoping that it was a good sign but also a little nervous. On one hand, the ER is filled with germs and with Dad’s weak system it was better for him to recover at home. On the other hand - I also could not help but wonder if they should have done a little more than take his temperature before sending Dad home (maybe ran some tests?) knowing Dad’s records - cancer and his super recent 10 day stay at hospital.
Friday morning - Dad’s fever went back up to 101 so Flora took him back to ER and that’s when the new ER doctor ran tests and even mentioned that the previous doctor who saw him should have given him antibiotics because his records showed infection before. [This was NOT comforting to hear.] Ran a bunch of tests and then admitted him to hospital.
Dad was admitted to CMU which is a step down from ICU, sort of a transitional unit where they had ICU nurses checking up on him. Dad’s heart rate was through the roof at 150 and was not stable. His blood pressure was low. His white blood count was low. Scans showed pockets of pus in the Pancreas lining. The GI said the next 24-48 hours were crucial for Dad and that he wasn’t sure Dad would be able to survive.
Given the news, Charlene and I immediately flew to back to SFO. We had landed in Orange County when we received word and flew right back on the plane we came on.
Dad’s sister and brother-in-law came from Oregon for a previously scheduled visit so they were at the hospital too.
I got to my Dad around midnight. He was awake and his heart rate was going down. It was 100 down from 150. He said he felt OK. He was hooked up to strong antibiotics. He felt warm to touch.
Flora and I slept in Dad’s hospital room. The nurse did one more check on Dad before we could go to bed. They determined that Dad did not need to move to ICU because he was relatively stable.
We all tried to rest. Dad got up around 5-6 times to have bowel movements. Flora did all the heavy lifting. I took note of each time so we could tell the nurses/doctors.
In between, Dad slept well.
Dad has a procedure to drain out his abdominal cavity. He has two drains in him now that are draining out the pancreatic leakage. Of course if the pancreas keeps leaking it will find other spaces to leak into so this is not taking care of the underlying cause.
Dad also has an ultrasound ordered by the Doctor. They allow me to stay with Dad and the technician makes a comment to a coworker about not having specific orders from the Doctor. She comments: “So am I just going in there and doing my own thing?” [This is definitely NOT comforting to hear either. And only one small example of the terrible communication between doctors that I’ve observed surrounding my Dad’s care so far.]
Dad’s finally back from his procedures and the nurse says it’ll be a quiet day and Dad just needs to rest.
The hospitalist/Doctor meets with my brother and me. He says we are focused on getting Dad better while we receive tests from the fluid drained and that may come in over the next 24-48 hours. He also mentions that he talked to the Oncologist last night who has a feeling the cancer has advanced based on symptoms and that continued chemo might be a long shot. But they both want us all to know they aren’t giving up on Dad. [Even though all signs point to the fact that they kind of are.]
Hard news to take in but no one is giving up hope as long as my Dad’s still with us. :)
My brother, Flora and I talk about next steps we will take as soon as Dad can get discharged. We are all on the same page.
Today, Dad had short visits with his sister, brother in law, my mom, my mom’s husband, my brother, my sister-in-law and the kids. My Dad laughs, jokes, smiles and is in good spirits.
At the hospital it is just him and Flora tonight.
We will back tomorrow.
I’ll post mid week on his progress and lab results.
Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers and love. We all feel them and Dad does too.