September 23, 2011

Oh, My Darlin'

Well, I am on day #3 of taking care of my Pappaw and it's been a humbling experience. The once strong man that I thought could move mountains sits hunched over on his sofa looking like a bag of bones. His clothes are sagging and missing the once fuller figure they adorned.

Skin, Bones and pain patches are what my Pappaw currently consist of because of a terrible disease that we can't seem to find a cure for.....CANCER.

Pappaw was diagnosed with bone and lung cancer a little over a year ago. The lung cancer portion didn't come as a surprise because my Pappaw has been smoking close to 70 years (I believe he was 10 when he had his first cigarette); and a heavy smoker at that.

My parents have been caring for him over the past 12 months and it's been hard on them. My father is the only child so the support system we have to fall back on is rather small. My parents are worn out from multiple trips a day to his house to fix something that he has broken while being impaired by the heavy doses of drugs he has to take consume to help alleviate the pain from his rotting bones and lung.

The week before my Mother flew into Albany she suggested that I come home for a few weeks to help with Pappaw so they could have a little break. Both my Mother and Father are worn out and need some help and as their only child and as my Pappaw's only granddaughter it's what I should's the right thing to do. I didn't help with my Mammaw like I should have so I wanted to do the right thing this time around.

I have only been here for 4 days and I am already exhausted so I don't see how my parents have dealt with this for an entire year! He has a ton of pills to keep up with as well as 3 different pain patched that have to be worn on a daily basis. His appetite is all over the place; some days he doesn't want to eat a thing and other days you can't bring enough food over to please his wants.

His mood is all over the place; as it should be. He has good days and bad days. Most days consist of both good and bad moods. He gets agitated easy so you feel like your walking on egg shells when you visit him. He tries his best to be in a good mood when I am there but I can tell when he just playing the part and is really in pain. Cancer pain can't easily be hidden; it's written all over the person.

My Pappaws once sun kissed skin is now an ugly shade of yellow and brown. He is bruised from his head to his toes. It looks like he was in a fight and came out of it as the loser. He is still smoking so his once silky white hair is now a distasteful shade of yellow; his nails are the same. At first I didn't understand how or why he would want to smoke after being diagnosed with cancer since that (smoking) was the obvious source of his disease but his prognosis is terminal so his thinking is what's the difference. He's going to die either way....might as well die happy doing what he likes to do; which is smoking a carton of cigerettes every 5 days.

I am so thankful that my I am able to take the time away from my daily life in Albany to come and spend some time with my Pappaw. I need some closure and I know that this is time that I will never get back. With living so far away it's realistic that I may not be here when he passes so I need to take this time to soak up as many memories as I can with him.

This man has been calling me "Pappaw's Darlin" as long as I can remember. And this "Darlin"will continue to help support him with the biggest battle of his life. He needs my support and strength. After all, he thinks I hung the moon and stars so I need to continue to do so as long as he lives. He took care of me growing up so now it's only natural I should take care of him when he's sick.....and that is exactly what I am going to do.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Jamie...this brought back memories of my grandfathers last years. I did just as you are doing. Oh...I'm typing through tears. My heart and love are with you "Darlin". Hang in there, you're strong and doing the right thing.

    Sometimes, I'm still taken aback by how similar our lives really are. I'm glad to share your memories as it reminds me of the ones that are dear to me.

    Big Hugs to you, stay strong. <3