As all of you know by now my dad has passed away. My heart is broken and I am still in a daze. I just wanted to thank all the terrific family and friends that have read this blog and enjoyed reading about my dad. You guys rock. The love and support that we have received today has been incredible. To say thank you and I love you all doesn’t seem nearly enough. THANK YOU- LOVE YOU ALL!!!
As everyone knows by now my dads surgery was postponed. His last scan showed some spots on his lung and the doctor wasn’t sure what those spots were. The surgery was cancelled and another scan was scheduled for Monday. While we were all extremely disappointed at the news, my dads doctor seemed to take it worse than we did.
When he was talking on the phone to my niece and sister, telling them the situation, he started out by saying ” I am so sorry, I feel like just crying”. Then the conversation went on. At another point he said ” I am just so upset about the way all of this has turned out”. There was a brief pause and then ” Oh, I imagine you are all upset too” ( ya think ). Finally he ended with ” You know I just love George so much “.
After talking it over we decided that we would find a grief counselor that we could recommend to poor Dr. Maroni. Of course my dad wasn’t much either. After hearing the news that those spots on his lung might be cancer, he said ” I probably should quit smoking”. Of course then less than five minutes later, there he was out on the patio ” not smoking”. The scan will be Monday. Hopefully Dr. Maroni will have recovered by then. And we will also know which direction we will be going in with my dad. At least we have football on Saturday.
I’m very excited to learn that one of my all time favorite plays – Hair – is being revived and will soon be playing in Denver. Now what does this have to do with my dad? Well, after all the visits to the ER and all the stays in the hospital, his biggest concern each time is ” How does my hair look?”. As it is he doesn’t have that much left any more and as I have told him frequently, they aren’t concerned with that end of his body. All the focus has been on the other end.
As we have found out after frequent hospital stays, there are no mirrors in the rooms – only in the bathroom. ” Who planned this? I can’t get up every time I have to comb my hair. My hair must be a mess. Don’t they care how their patients look?” (apparently my dad thinks that he is a contestant on Project Runway).
At any rate, during his last hospital stay, the first thing that I was instructed to bring from home was a hand mirror and a comb. Then every time he would move in the bed, the first question was ” Did I mess up my hair?”. He would then quickly grab his comb and mirror and repair the damage.
Today, my dad decided to get his hair cut so that he would look presentable for his surgery and hospital stay. He went to his barber “Jim”, who has been cutting his hair for decades. When my dad got back home he said ” I think Jim is getting to old to cut hair. Look at how short he cut my hair. I’m not sure how much longer I will let that old man cut my hair”. ( indeed ).
So Monday we were back at the hospital. This time however, it was a planned visit. I’m sure we were missed in the ER. The reason for our visit, my dad was to get his Nephrostomy tube replaced. ( oh what fun ). Also, per usual the hospital wanted us there an hour before the surgery. This meant that my dad would have us get there two hours before. This also led to my dads familiar complaint ” I don’t know why they have you come so early. All you do is hurry up and wait”. ( indeed ).
Once we got in the room and my dad had changed his clothes, the doctor came in for a pre surgery consultation. He explained the surgery to my dad and what to expect then he asked my dad ” Do you have any questions?” . My dad replied no but said ” I do have one request. Please don’t do any drinking in the next two hours”. The doctor promised that he wouldn’t, laughed and left.
The surgery went quickly and within the hour my dad was back in the recovery room. The nurse asked him how he felt. ” Hungry, I haven’t had a damn thing to eat since last night. Is this really a nice thing to do to people?, starve them before surgery? Oh and by the way when can I go home?”. The nurse told my dad that they need to observe him for half an hour and that he could go home at a quarter to three. For the next half hour my dad kept his eye on the clock and at a quarter to three told the nurse to bring him his discharge papers and clothes. He got dressed, signed his papers and we headed home.
Remember that Beatles song? If you do you are old. The Kelaidis version of that would be back in the ER. Yes, that is where we ended up again Sunday night. The good news is that we got to watch the Good Wife with one of our favorite Greek actresses – Julianna Margulies before we had to go to the hospital. My dad had massive amounts of blood in his urine. ( I hope no one is eating while reading this ).
Because of our many, many trips to the ER ( rumor has it that we have helped the hospital build a new wing thanks to our generous donation), I am considering doing a facebook fundraiser. The money would go toward buying a permanent room at the hospital. Anyone who contributes could crash for free when ever you are in Denver. ( Just pretend to be sick while the admit you). An added benefit would be the legal medical pot that is now offered here. Come to see the Colorado beauty, visit family and friends, crash for free and in the new Colorado tradition enjoy a true ” Rocky Mountain High”.
While my dad was in his room in the ER waiting for the doctor, he couldn’t find a comfortable position to sit in. ” Because of my weight loss, my butt is now so bony that I can’t find anything soft or comfortable enough to sit on”. For this reason we bought my dad one of those extra thick padded toilet seats. Jackie refuses to use it because she says it is so high up she feels like she is peeing standing up. ( I don’t understand her problem. I have done that my entire life).
That would be my brown bag that contained my urine sample for the day. I placed it discreetly in the refrigerator away from anything else. Yes, my doctor wanted refrigerated pee ( go figure ). When I got back from Church on Sunday, I went to grab my bag and it was gone. I calmly asked ” Where is my bag!”. My dad replied ” I threw the bag away and the container is in the back of the refrigerator with the rest of the drinks. Isn’t that the bag you brought back from the restaurant that you and your friend went to Saturday night after the game?” I told my dad ” First, I never went anywhere after the game and second that container contains my pee, it is not a drink”. My dad was disgusted ” Who puts pee in the refrigerator?”. I told him that the doctor had suggested keeping it there to keep it cool. I quickly got the brown bag and put the container back in it. Early Monday morning the container went to the lab to everyone’s relief.
My dad still ” does not smoke” . At least he does it on the patio with the windows open year round. One day my niece told him ” Papou you know that smoking causes bladder cancer”. He replied ” Well I already have it so why worry?” ( indeed ). Even the dogs , who follow my dad everywhere, won’t go on the patio with him. They stare at him through the patio door while he doesn’t smoke. Remember, like Bill Clinton, he doesn’t inhale. Of course the rest of us will probably die from second hand smoke. Every time the patio door opens it smells like one of the bars in downtown Denver.
Well, we heard from the doctor and the date for my dads operation is October 15. You can tell that he is getting stronger because he is getting crabbier and more critical of the things we do. ” Are you sure you checked the oil in the car correctly? Did you put the new oil in the car correctly? Did you remember to use the filter and not just dump it in all at once? Oh did you vacuum the carpet? I guess we each have are own opinion of what clean is. Now, I don’t mean to accuse anyone of anything but the next time you use the microwave cover the dish. Have you seen the inside of that thing? It is a mess. Well I am glad you finally fed the dogs, but now this is just a suggestion – I usually feed them a lot earlier”. Ah yes, Big Bad George is back.
I also had a return visit to my doctor as a follow up to my kidney stones. I am feeling much better and the blood work and urine sample all came back clean. However my doctor feels that more research needs to be done because ” Four kidney stones is enough for anyone to pass and we want to prevent more in the future”. First she wants a full days sample of urine. ” But you need to keep it cool before bringing it in – I suggest you put it in the refrigerator”. Can you imagine a container full of urine next to the feta cheese? ( What would the feta cheese heiress Nicole think of that?)
On a normal Wednesday I would be taking care of my dad in the morning while Toni went to teach. However things are never normal around here. Tuesday night I ended up in the ER passing kidney stones ( such fun ). We came home at 2AM and I was in no pain. However several hours later I decided to pass more stones. Back to the ER ( where they know me by name now ). Luckily for us we have a very large and supportive family here. Cousins Kathy, Takis, Pete and Crissy have been terrific when it comes to my dad. This time it was cousin Angela. Angela stayed with my dad while Toni went and taught and I bitched and moaned in the hospital about the pain. ( I am very good at this ). Thank you Angela!
Our house now resembles a poor version of assisted living – without all the amenities. We have my dad with his bladder, Katie with her RA , Toni with her asthma and now me with my kidney stones. Imagine four crabby Greeks in the same house. ( it isn’t pretty ).
The good news is that Jackie will have a client base just waiting for her when she finishes Medical School. The even better news is that when Katie finishes Law School, she can represent us in our lawsuit against Jackie for malpractice. This way we keep everything in the family. Who ever imagined things would work out so nicely?
So, my dad returned to the hospital Tuesday night. He had too much blood in his urine. By the time he was readmitted , he was anemic and needed a transfusion. The doctor decided that he would need to stay and have the sources of the bleeding in his bladder cauterized. He was not a happy man. ” You know I am really starting to hate this place”. Once again he was also told that he could have nothing to eat after midnight because of the pending procedure. ” Fine , they don’t want me to bleed to death but they don’t seemed concerned about starving an old man to death”.
To make matters worse, he wasn’t taken into the operating room until 1:00 the next afternoon. In the recovery room , my dad was very disoriented. “How long have I been passed out? Did they ever find the doctor? I have been looking for him all over this hospital.” He looked at me and said “What’s your name”. We discovered beyond a doubt that my dad could never do heavy drugs. He had had an opium suppository to help with the bladder pain right before the procedure. That added to the anesthesia and other drugs used for the procedure had made him very loopy.
After being back in his room for a while and having something to eat, he started to return to a normal mental state. Plus the fact that the Doctor had kept his promise to my dad. When he entered earlier in the week , he made the doctor promise that he would be home Friday night to watch the CU game because ” I am not watching the Buffs play a football game in some damn hospital”. So tomorrow night at 7:00 PM , we will all be gathered in the family room watching the Buffs play. The happiest one of all will be my dad because he won’t be in “That damn hospital”.
My dad needs to build his strength and gain some weight before he can have his surgery. First we need to find out what his weight really is. He weighed himself yesterday and found out he weighed less than when they had just weighed him at the doctor’s office. We guessed that one of the scales was off. My dad was sure it was the doctor’s scale because ” I have used my home scale for years and it has never been wrong”. Our solution was, the next visit to the doctor my dad will take his own scale and have them weigh him on that. Why would they object?
One why to build strength and gain weight for my dad would be to eat better meals with less preservatives in the food. My niece Katie, who is a great cook, decided that she will make home made meals for my dad. The first meal was meat loaf. She told my dad ” I got this recipe from a friend in England papou”. My dad replied ” Well I have never had meat loaf from England but it is very good”. Katie replied “No papou, the recipe is from England. I made the meat loaf here”.
The Priest visited my dad last week when he got out of the hospital. It was a very nice visit of prayer and conversation. Before he left the Priest told my dad ” You know George , you can come to Church any day of the week you feel like. It doesn’t have to be just Sunday. And we have wheel chairs available if you are having trouble walking”. My dad was very adamant ” I am not using a wheel chair at Church”. When we both asked him why, he replied ” I am not going to be rolling into Church in front of God like some old disabled person”. The Priest agreed that walking into Church would also be ok.