Dad's had a turn for the worse. As I said in the last post, Dad went in on Wednesday to start chemo. They settled him the Wednesday afternoon/night, and then Thursday morning he was taken down to Radiology to have a PICC line inserted into his upper arm. This was so the chemo can be pumped into him 24hrs a day without having to fiddle around with a cannula's (needles in the hand). On the Saturday, they decided as he was taking the chemo so well, that he could come home (with the chemo pump attached). He was due for discharge at 10 am Saturday the 4th of December.
They had to order a cleaning solution for his PICC line (as one of the lines had blocked up) and for some reason it didn't arrive before 10, so he obviously had to stay in longer until they could flush the line. At 3pm he called us and told us to come in, as he was ready to come home and we needed to know how to work the chemo pump before he could go. In the half hour it took Mum and I to get to the hospital, Dad started haemorrhaging, with blood streaming out of his nose and mouth in very large amounts. By the time Mum and I got to the hospital, the nurses and doctor had cleaned him up and the bleeding had stopped. We were there for half an hour and then Dad needed to cough, as he'd swallowed a lot of blood during the first bleed and a little of it had gone into the back of his throat and his lungs. Dad leant forward to cough, and the bleeding started again with Mum and I standing not even a metre away from him.
Without going into gory details, I have never seen so much blood come out of a person. The only way I can describe it is like a tap turning on, from nothing at all to a full-flow instantly. There was no warning. The MedEm (Medical Emergency) doctors and nurses were called in as the ward staff couldn't figure out where all this blood was coming from. They tried to do what they could, but they also couldn't figure out where the bleed was coming from, as they obviously weren't familiar with Dad's case and there was just no time to go through pages and pages of notes from his oncologist, speech pathologist and ENT specialist. They worked on him for about half an hour and still hadn't made any headway, besides pumping six bags of blood into him to replace what he was losing. Mum and I were getting very frustrated, as we could hear everything that was going on, and informed them that as the tumour was on the Carotid artery, there was a chance it was the carotid that had ruptured. Having told them this, they prepped him for surgery and whisked him away to theatre.
We waited for hours for news... about 4 or 5 hours, I honestly can't remember. All I know is that Mum and I were both convinved Dad wouldn't pull through- we (Mum, Dad and I) were told explicitly at the beginning of our fight that if the carotid burst, there was nothing they would be able to do.
At about 11pm we were told that they'd managed to put a stent into the part of the carotid that had ruptured, which had stopped him haemorrhaging. He was alive. Being told that was the single most greatest moment of my life, bar none. The surgeons were worried he might have some brain damage as his brain could have been deprived of oxygen for a while (as the carotid artery takes oxygenated blood to the brain). Thankfully, though, he is alright. He is fully aware of what's going on. He knows what happened.
After the surgeons got him out of theatre, he was taken straight to the High Dependancy Unit, which is where he's been since. He is very, very weak, but at the moment he is ok. Mum and I are spending as much time as we can with him.
When the surgeons spoke to us after they'd put the stent in, I asked how long they would have estimated he would have left. They said before the operation, they would have given him approximately 3 months. Now, after this has happened, they have obviously drastically shortened this expectation. Yes, Dad is aware of it and he doesn't want to talk about it right now. Please respect his wishes and do not bring it up on the off-chance you get to speak with him (no phones allowed in HDU, and he's not able to speak at the moment anyway).
Mum's sisters (my Aunty Robyn and Aunty Donna) came up to the hospital to be with us on the Saturday night, as did my Mum's best friend Karen (who, as far as we are concerned, is family). They were so amazing and stayed with us right through to midnight. They waited so patiently in the corridor for us while Mum and I spent almost 30 minutes with Dad straight after his surgery in HDU. Mum and I were quite upset (as I assume you would be when you watch your father/husband start to bleed out), so my grandparents picked up our car, and Aunty Robyn, Aunty Donna and Aunty Karen drove us home (and Aunty Robyn stayed with us that night to keep us company, as no one slept much). My grandparents and Aunties have been driving us to and from the hospital every day, which has been a massive help- neither Mum and I have been in any state to get behind the wheel. So thank you to you all.
Thank you everyone for your thoughts, prayers and love. This is a very, very distressing time for Mum and I, and obviously more-so for my father, who is as brave and strong as ever. The doctors couldn't believe how much of a fighter he is- they are all amazed. He is, without a doubt, an absolute hero, and I am a very, very, very proud daughter.
I'm sorry if this post is a bit rambling and incoherant at times, Mum and I spent all day at the hospital again today and we're exhausted. We are doing alright, just taking one day at a time. Like I said earlier, Dad is alright as well. He is very weak, but he knows what's going on, what's happening, what's going to happen... and he still managed to (jokingly) give us "the finger" today, so he mustn't be doing too badly!
Thank you to everyone else for your love, wishes and prayers. They might seem so simple to send or say, but they mean so much to us and make us realise we're not alone- especially for Dad. If you would like to send your well wishes, thoughts and love to Dad, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will pass them on.