Last Thursday, I lost my father to Stage IV Lung Cancer after a short battle.
On November 28th he was diagnosed with Cancer after having a pep scan and the next day, he was in hospital in St. Luke’s hospital for radiation treatment. Unfortunately, 2 days after being admitted, he was transferred to St. James Hospital due to breathing difficulties. He would spend a few days in ICU before being moved into a private room in a ward.
When he spent the few days in ICU, we were told he would have “days or weeks”.
A few days later, we were told that he had Stage 4 Cancer. Dad had a decision to make, whether to continue with the radiation treatment or do without. Not taking the treatment would mean that he would have only lasted for 3 days, but if he did take the treatment, he could last 3 weeks!
He decided to take the treatment and would proceed to have treatment every 2 days and finished the Monday before Christmas. He asked prior to the end of the treatments whether he could have got home for Christmas.
Palliative care were so good that they delivered a special bed, wheelchair and other bits and pieces before he was discharged from hospital the Monday 23rd.
After 22 days, Dad was home from hospital for christmas. The first thing he wanted was an Indian dinner and that’s what we gave him. On Tuesday (Christmas Eve), he had a Smoked Cod & Chips. On Wednesday, he even had his Christmas Dinner, albeit it wasn’t a lot.
On Thursday (St. Stephen’s Day) is when everything went south. I woke up late (at around 11am) and when I went into the room to see the colour just dropping from his face. In the back of my mind, I knew that he wasn’t well. He was unresponsive and was having nil by mouth.
The breathing was very laboured and before a more ‘forced’ as the afternoon/evening wared on. We tried to give him tablets but he couldn’t swallow or even take any water. I was giving him some water by mouth with a sponge.
Later that evening, the night nurse arrived at about 10:45pm and without evening touching him, she turned to me and said “Call everybody. He’s got less than an hour”. I proceeded to call some family members and during one call, she called me back into the room and at 10:52pm, she couldn’t get a pulse.
We sat around him, asking him to stay with us, but there was no response. It was over, my father was gone.
Before I could even gather myself, and think… time had passed, we had the priest, doctor and undertaker at the house and at 7am, my father was laid out in his coffin.
My heart sank. To even think that my own father was in front of me in a coffin seemed farfetched and surreal.
Even today, 3 days after he was buried, the house feels empty, the atmosphere feels very different and the only thing that I can do is look after my mum. There is nothing else I can do to bring my dad back.
My dad has been a cornerstone of our family, he was always a person that we would go to for anything that needed to be done or resolved. He would take control of everything that would be going on and he would see everything right through to the end and he wouldn’t bat an eye at a challenge.
I am going to miss him so much.
RIP Dad! x