Daddy went into the hospital on Friday, March 28. My memory is unclear about the next few days. I don’t remember going to Abilene over the weekend, but I’m just not sure. Anyway during the first few days in April, the doctor wanted to do an endoscopy. I didn’t go. I stayed home, trying to keep from using more sick days than was necessary. Mother was staying at Darla’s house. She was just too weak to be at home alone and she was too weak to be at the hospital with Daddy. Neither of my sisters went to the hospital for the test. They were teaching and working as well. Truthfully, we didn’t think it was that important of a test. Daddy had had endoscopies before. Everything had been fine. Not this time.
This is how Daddy told the story. Before the test the doctor came into Daddy’s hospital room and said, “Where is your family?” Daddy replied that they were all working. After the test, the doctor came back into Daddy’s room and emphatically asked again, “Where is your family?” Again, Daddy said that thare are all working and couldn’t come. The doctor said, “Well, you have cancer” and walked out. Daddy called Mother and Mother called me. We were all stunned.
Yes, we felt horrible, because we could have all been there for him on that day. All three of us. We just didn’t do it.
However, after that day, at least one of us was present for almost every test. We learned our lesson.
This just couldn’t be. There had to be some mistake. Perhaps this was just an awful dream, no, nightmare. How on earth could both my parents have cancer at the same time? That just doesn’t happen. Does it? Yes, it does and it did.
Daddy told us that the results of his biopsies would probably be in a couple of days later. Yes, I went. When I arrived at Hendrick Hospital in Abilene, we had one of our major “God winks”.
As I was walking the sidewalk up to the hospital, I looked back and saw Darla coming up behind me. Neither of us had talked to each other about being at the hospital. We just showed up at the same time and went in together. The moment we arrived in Daddy’s room was the moment the doctor walked in with his pathology report. Talk about God’s timing. It was amazing.
The report was bad. The doctor told him that he had esophageal cancer, stage 4. He told Daddy to think about whether or no he wanted to fight the cancer, but also to get his affairs in order. Considering the news he had just been given, Daddy held himself together very well. The doctor left.
Daddy wanted to see Mother. They had not seen each other for several days. It was time. I went to the house and told Mother about the report. She cried, then dried her tears, and I drove her to the hospital. She stayed with Daddy as long as she could take it. They wanted to be alone for a while. After Mother left, I spent the night at the hospital with Daddy. We talked and talked about many things. We talked about death. What it would be like to die. We had our first conversation about his funeral. I didn’t cry. How? I don’t know, except that God was giving me the strength to do what needed to be done at the time. I would have never believed that I could have had that type of conversation with my father. Oh, this was so hard. But there would be harder days ahead.
Daddy decided that he wanted to fight the cancer. The next day he was moved to the oncology floor. I will share more about this amazing place later. Daddy had 3 days of chemo. He was almost giddy those 3 days. He laughed, told stories, and jokes one right after the other.
The day after the chemo treatment was over Daddy was sent home. It was April 10. That day and the next all h.e.l.l. broke loose. There I am spell cussing again.
tomorrow: Put Chulupa (the dog) in the drier.