Archive for December, 2018

2018 pt 2

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

And yeah – the end of the year post is supposed to be sort of reflective, right? I’ve already mentioned my dad’s health, which is hands-down the big negative of 2018 aside from the dumpster fire of American politics.

The kids have been spectacular. Both of them are reading up a storm, they get along like gangbusters, and it’s just great to see them grow into their own, different, little people. K writes little stories, and he likes singing and dancing. J isn’t so much into dancing, he sometimes likes singing, but really likes drawing. Both of them like drawing. They make up little games to play, and have also been playing a bunch of games as well. GBA Pokemon Emerald is the only videogame they’re playing (though they were exposed to Smash Bros. at Sean & Hoa’s place, and J was smitten, so I expect that’ll change), but they’ve also been playing Bug Bingo (gift from Kim & Jussi), Go Nuts for Donuts, Uno, and more. They gave Dos a shot, but didn’t like it nearly as much.

They’re taking swimming lessons, and mostly getting the hang of it – they clearly like just bouncing around in the water aimlessly more, but eh, what’cha gonna do. I told them they’ve gotta keep at it until they both reach a certain level where they can comfortably swim across the pool, and if they can do that by next summer, we can stop & get a membership again @ Piedmont so they can play.

Work’s been great – chugging along. Project still secret, so there’s not much to say about it other than I’m really happy at work, I love the team I’m working with, and I think we’re doing something both interesting and meaningful. What’s not to like?

So yeah. That’s where I’m at right now. How are you?

2018

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

So. Basically the end of 2018. I dropped the kids & Ei-Nyung off at the airport in the very early morning, and will spend the next week alone at home while they’re in Atlanta, visiting Ei-Nyung’s side of the family. I was out of PTO days, and given my dad’s recent issues, it seemed like it made sense to stick around. So here I am.

We’ve got some handy-folks coming starting tomorrow to fix the drywall issues that resulted from the water line to the kitchen faucet bursting. That was no fun. They’re going to be doing some other things, too – mostly finishing up details in the house that we’ve spent 10 years without finishing, like painting trim, finishing and painting the drywall under the stairs – stuff like that, and adding trim to all the windows that still have that shitty, rounded-corner finish from the original contractor, who’d done an abysmal job.

I spent the entire day today trying to prep for that by cleaning up where I could so that there’s actually space to move around. Which is good, but geez. Spent the entire day at it, and didn’t even come close to finishing. Hopefully they’re willing to move some stuff around in order to get access to the things they need to get access to. 😐

My dad’s still in the hospital. Still struggling. While recovering from the colostomy operation, they’ve started him on chemo, radiation, and hormone therapy, so he’s getting pummeled on all sides, and it’s taken a huge toll on him, which then takes a huge toll on my mom. I get out to the hospital when I can, which is basically every day I have off, and I try to leave early one day a week mid-week to relieve my mom early. I basically haven’t had a “down” day since he went to the hospital in the beginning of the month – it’s either kids, work, or my dad – I can handle two okay, but all three is definitely grinding me down a bit more than I’d have hoped. Still, while he’s miserable, everything is kind of “best case scenario given the circumstances”, so hopefully things start feeling better sometime soon. We’ll see.

It’ll be interesting – the kids & Ei-Nyung left, and when they return, the house will be different – mostly in subtle ways, but they’re touching every single room in the house in some way or another. Gonna be an odd week.

Trivial

Monday, December 10th, 2018

Yeah, sure – but ignoring the last post, what else is new?

The kids are great. A wonderful team. Neck deep in Pokemon. J’s been playing Pokemon Emerald on the Game Boy Micro, which is pretty hilarious. K also plays sometimes, and watches. This is the first non-mobile game they’ve played, and it’s pretty neat to see them understanding the rules and narrative and all that fun stuff.

I’ve been on a board-game bender that has lasted the better part of a year. I have way more games than I can play, but there are still a bunch of fairly interesting things, and I find that the mechanics of board games are really satisfying to read through. The social and tactile nature of boardgaming is something I’ve really found to be missing from most videogames – mostly because social videogaming is such a cesspool of humanity – it’s not fun to just endure people screaming into the mic, or an endless barrage of misogyny, homophobia, etc. Gamer culture sucks.

But yeah – it’s late, time to sleep.

Updates

Monday, December 10th, 2018

So, the big update is that my dad has prostate cancer. The last week or two have been pretty rough. Because of his paralysis, he was diagnosed fairly late – the tumor is already quite large, and one of the reasons they found it was that he was essentially having some bowel obstruction – which was, of course, the tumor.

In order to fix the immediate problem before starting to address the bigger one, they had to give him a colostomy – where they pull part of your intestine out your side, and you evacuate your bowels that way. Obviously not a trivial surgery, but not an outlandishly difficult one. The operation went well, and he spent the weekend recovering. But Tuesday evening, just as I arrived at the hospital – I’d left work a little early that day – he was looking extremely pale. Literally the moment I walked in the door, the nurses found that he was bleeding severely – which is why he was pale, and his blood pressure was dropping.

This’ll get a little TMI, but I want to write it down so it’s there – basically he was bleeding out of the colostomy, and also out of his rectum. He was basically lying in a pool of blood – but because of the paralysis, he couldn’t feel anything, and the sheets were such that it wasn’t noticeable until you actually looked fairly carefully.

The entire evening, we were convinced he was going to die. The problem wasn’t just the bleeding. There was an infection from the surgery – bacterial – and he was also weak from essentially required malnourishment before the surgery. He’d lost so much blood that the nurses spent 45 minutes trying to give him an IV and failing. He’d wail at the pain when they’d puncture his arm – I imagine it must have been more severe than a normal IV puncture, because it sounded horrifying – and this went on, progressively stressing everyone out, for nearly an hour. They had a vein scanning device, trying to find something to tap into, but there was nothing.

And because of that, no blood transfusion, no liquids, nothing – it was like a progressive downward spiral there was no way out of. They took him to get a CT scan, to see if they could stop the bleeding, but nothing was obvious – and it wasn’t clear whether whatever it was was still bleeding, or whether it had stopped. So we just watched the blood pressure readings going lower and lower, and I did my best to try  and stay level-headed.

We called his immediate relatives, and he got a chance to talk to his brother & sister (and my other aunt), but we didn’t get a chance to get in touch with my cousin. My mom was getting more distraught – she was still holding it together in front of him, but she was clearly not going to last any longer.

The bleeding had indeed continued – the doctors had said if it was still going that they’d do another scan and try to embolize the bleed. Oddly, the company I work for makes products that are used in embolisms – they essentially stop the bleeding by going in through the artery (vein? I dunno) in the groin, and finding the bleed from the inside, then injecting a physical blocker to plug the hole. It’s a balance, though, between stopping the bleeding and blocking the bloodflow, so again, not a thing without some risk.

During this operation, which took an hour and some, my mom and I sat in the waiting room & talked. In part about all the things that she hadn’t said to my dad. Things she wanted to say – for forty-plus years – and hadn’t.

My parents haven’t had the greatest relationship. They’re both stoic and reserved to the point of ridiculousness. Affection, physical or otherwise, is … hard to come by. They’re both incredibly critical, perfectionist micromanagers, stubborn as hell, and self-righteous like nobody’s business. It’s amazing they’ve gone as long as they have without killing each other, but they’re also strangely suited for each other in a bizarre sado-masochistic kind of way. I say that with love, but it certainly wasn’t easy growing up as their kid.

So that they’d go their entire relationship and never talk to each other about the good things they feel for one another isn’t the most surprising thing in the world. It filled her with regret.

For my part, I think I’ve said the things I need to. Maybe not everything, maybe not the best way, but I think the important things have been said, and if something sudden happens, I’m okay.

The embolization went well. The bleeding stopped. They gave him a “central line” IV which tapped into something near his collarbone. I assume the “central line”. But they were able to basically give him sufficient blood to get his pressure back up, enough fluids and nutrients to survive, and by 2am, he had stabilized enough that it looked like there was nothing else to do. So we went back to my parents’ house and slept.

When we came back in the morning, he was still looking better. That was last Wednesday – it’s Sunday now, and every day has been a little bit better. He’s starting radiation tomorrow for the tumor. The infection is decreasing but not gone.

Most things are looking as good as they can, but the problem now is that “as good as they can” still isn’t great. The tumor is large. It could start bleeding again at any time. Who knows how hard radiation’s going to be on him, and what the actual odds of that succeeding are? It’s going to be a long, hard road from here forward. As long as he’s up for the fight, I’ll be helping support him.

Oh – and Wednesday morning? My mom and dad had a talk. Not a long one, but the moment I realized they were talking, I stepped out of the room. She walked out a few minutes later, and it was clear that they’d said some of the things they needed to.

Don’t wait. Tell your loved ones you love them. Tell your kids you’re proud of them.