May 2nd, 1973: I haven't been very faithful in writing, but I thought I better let you know about dad. He is not very well. He was in the hospital for about a week. They were trying to get his strength back, and to just let him rest. Well, eventually, he did get to come home. But I don't think he has gained an ounce of strength back. His crap is runny, and he has to have someone stay with him while I am at school and mom is at work.
I think now, I must face up to the fact that he may be laying in bed and dying. There are brown spots where he took the cobalt. And he was once a strong man, he is now very weak. There is hardly enough skin on his rump to cover his bones. And the clincher is that he has things mixed up mentally. Last night, he woke up at 4 a.m. and asked mom, "Who took me to St. Louis in an airplane?" (He has been in bed since Good Friday.) And tonight, he thought Mary Ruth had left him $80. (There was no money to be found.)
So. All we can do now is hope and pray.
May 2nd, 2013: Reading the original diary notes, and typing them in here, was a smack in the head. Dad was at the end of the line. April must have been a horrible month. Looking way back to the beginning, I'd guess he had stage four lung cancer when he was diagnosed on February 9th. Things had gone downhill so fast.
It was a just a matter of time now.
I have filled in a few blanks from April, with a few situations and incidents I remember. I wish I hadn't suspended the diary. I wish I could remember more details.
The cancer had obviously spread to his brain. There was the "airplane ride" moment. Mary Ruth refers to our good friend, Mary Ruth Kendall. I can't recall if Mary Ruth had been to the house for a visit, or not, the day dad dreamed of her leaving money. He was convinced she'd left the money on a table or nightstand. I remember us responding to dad's inquiry by actually looking about the room. We wanted him to see us making the effort to find the "money." We didn't want to dismiss him. Anything we could do to put him at ease, physically or mentally, we did.
And to this end, I have no idea whether he was being sedated and medicated while at home. Surely he must have been. Margaret Dixon would have been the one to administer the stuff. Dad was in moderate pain, I'm sure. But he didn't complain much. Maybe, hopefully, due to the medication. No kid or wife wants to see their dad or husband suffer. No one in any situation like this, would want to see a loved one suffer.
Going back to his state of mind at this point.... I have read and heard, that terminal patients with brain cancer, often revert back to their past. I've also been told that, even though they can't communicate, one of the last things to leave them is their hearing.
Dad was coming up with a lot of stuff "out of left field." Some of it made no sense at all. But I can remember him rambling on at one point about running around with Art Biddle. I knew Art as the local dairy man. He owned Biddle Dairy. It was located behind the post office. There was a loading dock. Sometimes, Art would sit out there on the dock. He had delivered milk, in glass bottles, around town. One of his stops used to be Phil and Carolyn Casteel's house, on our street. The kids in the neighborhood would run to his truck while he made his stop there. It was a "UPS style" truck. Sliding door, easy in and out. Art might let us ride a couple of houses in the truck, before giving us the boot and going on his way.
Apparently, Art and my dad did some running around together when they were younger. Maybe when dad was single, and between his first wife and my mom. Before I was born, for sure. I knew nothing of this. It was fascinating to me, that the cancer in his brain was triggering memories from 20 or more years prior. There were other recollections from dad too. But I don't remember every one them.
I abandoned my original diary again after May 2nd. I didn't pick it up again until May 9th. Somewhere in the next seven days, dad left 717 Prospect Street for the last time, and was taken back to Illini Hospital, there in Pitttsfield.
The blog will return on May 9th. The day he died.