Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Dad Is Back
Got a call from SGH today. Though I expected the radiology doctor to call, I did not expect it to be so early in the morning.
Dr. Teo from Radiology called on my cellphone at 9:30AM. I was ready at my desk with pen and paper in front of me jotting down important information about Dad's medical status and the treatments that will ensue.
"Your father has advance cancer... " he explained, "the chemo didn't do much for him." My heart sank, but I listened intently still, hoping for something he would say that would shine a light again for Dad's path to recovery... at least extend his life.
The doctor suggested radiotherapy. Something I was waiting for them to actually do already, but I know time was needed to diagnose and confirm before taking the necessary steps for his treatment.
Yet, it seems to take just too long to get to this point... a point Dr. Lo, Dad's Oncologist had suggested we when Dad had to stop his thrid chemo cycle because of the blot clot in his heart.
She suggested radiotherapy if Dad developed breathing difficulties, or having more than just little pink specks of blood in his sputum, while undergoing anti-coagulation treatment with Warfarin.
The good thing is, Dad is discharged today.
It really made Mom so happy, she wanted to fetch him home from the hospital. 3rd Sis obliged and accompanied our wheelchaired Mom by cab to the hospital just before noon.
The bad thing is, Dad will need daily radiotherapy for about a week or two.
That will mean, he needs to commute between home and the hospital daily for the sessions. He also needs aid, breathing with oxygen while he is at home.
Dr. Teo sounded confident that the daily radiotherapy sessions will "melt" away the cancerous tumor that is growing in Dad's left lung.
It is hoped that Dad will regain much of his lung expansion capacity to be able to breathe without the aid of oxygen after the treatments.
Dad had to undergo a "dry run" of radiotherapy session this morning, just before he was discharged. His first session will be this coming Thursday, 4th June 2009.
Since he will have 5 sessions of a higher dosage of 20 Gy each time, the treatment is knowingly palliative without the need say... given the stage he is in and his age.
So Dad will have a fraction schedule starting in the afternoons from Thursday and Friday this week, rest on the weekend, and then resume the balance sessions from Monday through Wednesday next week.
Younger Brother and I will take half-day leaves for the days we accompany Dad for his radiotherapy treatments. I will be sending him for the first two days, while Younger Brother takes the subsequent three sessions.
It is heartening to hear that Dad will not suffer anything severe as a side effect from the treatment. Dr. Teo assured that apart from a slight discomfort when swallowing, the skin where the radiation is exposed to will be a little sore, but definitely slight and bearable.
He may experience tiredness a few days after the course, but is to be expected when the body is repairing itself from the damage caused by the focused radiation exposure.
Younger Brother took the whole day off today. I met him at the hospital entrance coming back from the CareLink Centre. Elder Sis did the discharge process with the nurses while Mom accompanied Dad at the ward.
We reached home and settled down quickly. Dad had his portable Oxygen Concentrator set by the delivery man from Pan Medical Supplies 10 minutes after we arrived home.
The rental and delivery arrangements were done between the by the hospital's ward and CareLink staff upon my signing off, before greeting Dad to take him home.
The breathing aid costs S$180.00 for the first month and S$4.00 per day subsequently or about S$120.00 monthly thereafter. There is no canister or tank to replenish, as it converts normal air to oxygen.
Only the filter water will need replacement each day of use, while the filter sponge at the back will need cleaning monthly.
Dad will need this until he can breathe on his own again... hopefully the one week treatment is enough for him to feel better again and independent off the breathing aid.
Everyone is happy that Dad is at home. My cellphone was ringing of the hook with SMSs and calls... yes, it is a cellphone, no hook.
We will continue our prayers for his condition to improve fast and for him to be his own "can't keep still" self again. We will never stop thanking The Almighty for the opportunities given to us each second we are with our parents.