What would have been Day 509

This is The Rural Iowegian’s daughter. I write this, on what would have been Day 509 for my dad.

On Wednesday, after spending 16 long hours in the ER, where I did not hesitate to have some very stern conversations with anyone within earshot to advocate for his needs, he was moved into a room.

Those 16 hours in the ER were mostly a nightmare. Partly due to the overwhelming number of people there vs staff, partly due to waiting for a room, and partly due to medical staff unable to understand that the current medications were why he was in this current state. Again, I watched a man who was well spoken, wise, loving, empathetic, protective, creative, and someone who would lend a hand to anyone, suffer far more than anyone ever should. He was in pain, became hardly capable of uttering more than a word, and became completely washed over with confusion. It was like watching a non-verbal child, who could not express his needs, no matter how hard he tried. The moments of clarity, where his beautiful blue eyes would light up and he’d respond in his chipper voice, were far and few between.

It was shortly after moving to an inpatient room, when he finally received a sufficient and effective cocktail of medications to relieve his pain and anxiety.

He spent an additional 31 1/2 hours as an inpatient. We took turns sitting by his side, holding his hands, and telling him how wonderful and strong a person he was. Most of that day, we listened to thunderstorm sounds, as he loved thunderstorms. Eventually, my brother and my mom went home to rest. I stayed behind, assuring everyone I would sleep.

His medication waned a bit after seven and in his confusion, he tried to get out of bed. I couldn’t reach the call button and keep dad in bed, so I stayed next to him, and I told him that whenever he’s ready, he can rest and leave his earthly body. I told him we would all be ok, and he didn’t have to worry anymore. Though we weren’t being loud, someone happened to pop their head in, and I said we needed help. His nurse came swiftly and helped him get settled and in his most comfortable position.

After his nurse made her hourly rounds at 11 pm, she told me his vitals were waning a little bit. I agonized whether to wake my brother and mother or not, they were so very tired, and the little bit that his vitals went down did not necessarily mean anythingwas eminent. As I sat next to him, unable to make a decision, his breathing suddenly became far quieter and less labored. It seems that, he took it upon himself to make the decision for me, so I wouldn’t have to fret over it (so typical for him). I pressed the nurse call button and held dad’s hands and told him how wonderful he’d been and told him to say “hi” to those that have gone before.

On January 28, 2022 at 12:03 a.m., he took his last breath. He had been sleeping comfortably, even snoring, and at ease. My mom and my brother came down, and we said our goodbyes and had a wonderful conversation with the chaplain. My mom worried about him being alone, so I told her I would stay with dad for a while longer. I stayed until about 5, talking to him some more and rearranging the pillows and sheets so he’d be more comfortable (irrational, I know). Then I did the most heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever had to do; I said goodbye one last time and walked out of the hospital.

508 days, he fought the good fight against cancer, joking and doing his best to make those around him happy.

In these hours after his passing, it seems impossible to envision a world without him as it is so difficult to see through the fog of grief. But, we don’t have a choice, and must figure out how to navigate a life without him here, and with only the memories of him, his words, and the full life he lived.

P.S. Dad was not at the VA as I refused to allow him to go there, where I had watched him get ignored so many times before.

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DAY 497

Last night was rough. Mrs Iowegian woke me up while I stood in the middle of the bedroom sobbing in my sleep.

I don’t know why I was sobbing, but maybe it is because the tumor on my neck has grown so large that my whole right side of my upper body is in a constant state of pain and though I’ve asked for over a month that it be removed, my request has fallen on the deaf ears of the VA.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Day 490

Spent another 3 days in the hospital. All medical options have been exhausted, so I will be signing up for HOSPICE. At least as a veteran, I can continue with traditional treatments while getting care from Hospice. The rules for the fight have changed, so I either have to adjust, adapt or be overcome and lose.

God bless,

R. I.

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Brain Fodder

Look at any 4 consecutive days in your life.

During that time, how many hours a day are spent concentrating on the materal world (city of man)? This includes eating, sleeping, watching tv, etc.

Multiply that number by 4 to get the percentage of time spent focusing on the city of man.

Subtract that number from 100 and you have the percentage of time focused on the City of God.

Are you investing you time wisely?

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Day 485

I started experiencing scent hallucinations last year that I still experience on occasion (mostly smelling diesel fuel that is not there).

Yesterday, I started experiencing visual hallucinations. So far, all I’ve seen is passing glimpses of a white and black cat, and this morning, a very elderly woman peeking in on me.

Tho’ I know they aren’t real, it still takes me a few minutes to process in my mind and quantify them as hallucinations.

God bless,

R. I.

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481 – migraines x 5 days. Incessant coughing close to a month now.

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Day 471

tired and in pain. Wonder how long I’ll last…

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day 469 (12/24/2021)

The final curtain is near. The cancer is multiplying too fast to stop. Next stop for me is Hospice. For those you who have stood by me, thank you.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day 461 (12/16/2021)

The muscle spasms have returned, but not as painful as last time.

The sore throat and ear ache have returned, but not as painful as last time.

Today, the mouth sores have returned, but only to the back of the mouth, not the whole mouth.

Tomorrow, I have five appointments at the hospital, all to do with this cancer.

Next Monday, I have 2nd opinions on treatment from the University of Iowa oncologists, so I’ll be heading down Sunday to be rested on Monday.

Moral of the story: Chemo and cancer are not fun, attitude and perseverance are what are needed to keep going and not surrender.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Did I?

Ever since my cancer diagnosis a little over a year ago, I have often wondered “Did I?”

Did I make a worthy difference in others during my life? Or, did I just occupy one of the billions of carbon based life forms wasting energy?

I pray and hope that I did make a positive difference, but the only ones who attest to that would be those changed, not me.

God Bless,

R. I.

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