Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dad's latest CT scan shows pancreatic abscess. The ascitic fluid shows that one of the pseudo cysts had burst, hence the muddy Milo water.

The doc has said that surgery is definitely on, it's only a question of timing. The aim is to clean up the peritoneal area to prevent infection, remove the gall bladder, open up the pseudocyst into the stomach, allowing the contents to drain from there, cleaning up the pancreatic abscesses.

From what I have read, the surgery itself is not quite the issue. It's what would happen AFTER surgery that is the issue. The risks of morbidity are high - as much as 30%. Doc has also acknowledged his reluctance to send dad for surgery since it would be akin to "taking one step back" since dad looks better after being on TPN. But reluctant though he may be, he said surgery is definitely a necessity, not an option anymore. He also warned us that dad will be "very very sick" after surgery so we have to be prepared for that.

By his reckoning, it looks like surgery will likely take place either end this week, or early next week.

I feel like we are all on tenterhooks here. I wish it would be resolved soon - one way or the other.

So to continue with the updates, so far dad has been taken off the pee catheter and has one Coop loop removed. That's the good news. The bad news is that his gout has come back and his blood sugar is high, hence the need for insulin jabs. Its the price to pay for TPN I suppose. More than ever before, I am amazed at how complex our body systems are and how much delicate balancing goes on in there everyday to keep the engines running well.

He seems more lucid than before, at least his hallucinations seem to be less frequent. Although just the other day, my sister had to leave the room in paroxysms of laughter because he and I were having a bizarre conversation about "blow-drying" Gillian's faulty high-tech phone gizmo. He said we should open the back, blow dry with a hairdryer and then put it back and no need to physically "rewind the tape". I figured that when dad was delusional, its best to just humour the guy and play along.

On his good days though, he can have a sense of humour with funny asides to our conversations. On his bad days, he becomes delusional. If he is not delusional, then he would be lucid enough to snap at mom, be petulant with everyone and lay the guilt trip on real thick and generally just be cuttingly unpleasant. He may be my dad and he may be ill but honestly, there are times when I wish I could give him a good hard shake! But since I can't do that, I have resorted to cutting short a visit or leaving the room.

I find that if I take breaks between visits, eg visit on alternate days, I am better able to take his orneriness. But poor mom, who comes everyday, twice a day and stays for hours at his bedside. She takes the brunt of it. My heart aches for this. So I aim to do what I can. On weekdays, I like to whisk her home early on the days I visit. Or go in her place so she gets a break.

But the star of the "getting mom to take a break campaign" is really my sister Vi. I really like it when Vi comes from KL and I really miss her when she goes home because Vi's brisk, no-nonsense personality being such, she is able to bully/frogmarch mom to get a break and always gruffly mollycoddles us. She spoils us to the extent that I feel bad that our roles are reversed - she is my kid sister taking care of her big sister, me. Yet, it's so nice to be taken care of and I love that she's such a breath of fresh air in all this. Her strength is so vast, so unflinchingly loyal and so steadfast that I always feel comforted and safe when she's around and I'm sure mom feels the same. You reading this my ONLY sister?? :-)

With this whole episode, I guess I learned that God does not work in meaningless ways. Of course not. Despite the bad, there are always slivers of good mixed in there. We just got to find them, even though it may seem like we are searching for needles in a haystack, and then be thankful when we do.

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