(This Post is the first about my father. It is an attempt to recreate what has happened over the past few months.) The last time my dad, Bill, was able to visit our house was for my youngest daughter's birthday on November 19th. At the time he had been ill for a little over a month. First we thought he threw out his back, later he was told he was reacting to a flu shot. On December 8th he was in rough shape. My sister and mom took him out to the ER where they spent most of the night. At that point he was diagnosed with pleurisy and sent home with medications. A week later I got an urgent call from my mom. Bill was feeling really bad, REALLY bad and wanted to be taken back to the hospital. She didn't want to make him wait in the ER for another 7-12 hours and didn't know what to do. "Call 911" was the best I could suggest. Earlier in my life I learned that that is the best way to get seen in the emergency room and this seemed like the time to use that lesson to help my parents. My sister and I joined them and we waited to get him help and hopefully, some answers. They ran several tests including a CT scan. From the ER he was transferred to our local Kaiser Hospital and admitted. They did an MRI, another CT scan, two ultrasounds and other tests. He was poked prodded and pinched. Thankfully we got a commitment from the doctors that they would not discharge him until 1) His pain is managed 2) We knew what was causing this 3) We knew he would be safe to go home.
Some of the tests they needed to run were scheduled to go into the late hours and then they were rescheduled for the next day. Sometimes his positive attitude showed some signs of stress but only a little. We spent most of the Christmas holiday waiting, speaking to his three doctors and oncologist.
In 2009 Bill was diagnosed with prostate cancer. They said it was the good kind. Incapsalated and slow growing. Bill opted for watchful waiting, hormone treatment and a change of diet.
It's probably no surprise that the prognosis was related to the prostate cancer. The MRI showed lesions on his spine, two masses in his lower back (attached to his spine), and the cancer had metastasized through most of his skeleton. That thrown out back from October was likely the masses. The pleurisy was possibly broken ribs caused by fragile bones and normal activity.
He is 83 so none of should have been shocked, but we were.