Monday, September 8, 2008

Weekend Trip to Odessa

Not the Happiest Place on Earth

With my father-in-law and my great uncle in such poor health, we decided to make a quick trip to Odessa to visit family.

We left as soon as the kids got home from school Friday afternoon. We arrived in Odessa late Friday night (about 10PM) and went to meet the family for a late dinner at Denny's. The Permian Basin Fair and Expo was going on across the street at the Ector County Coliseum. I remember a time when we would not miss the fair, but we had no intention of taking time to go this year. And we were surprised that the service in the Denny's was as poor as it was. We ordered our food and waited, and waited, and waited ... just to find out that they were out of much of the things we had ordered. Apparently, they didn't realize this for quite a while. So, we finally changed our orders to be able to get what they did have left. It took over an hour just to get our food - which was okay at best. By the time we got to our family's homes to unpack and get to bed, it was well after midnight.

Saturday, we spent at the hosiptal. Tom was given medicine that made him sleep most of the time. He did sit up on the side of his bed a while after they brought him back from taking an x-ray. He needed alot of assistance to move around - even to lay down in the bed. But we did get a chance for a few pictures.

Tom's white blood cell count had been so low that any visitors were asked to wear gloves and a mask to enter the room. But by Saturday, when we arrived, they said his count was up enough that it would not be necessary to wear the gloves or mask - thankfully. And he had a very large area on one leg that was red and infected. Doctors had marked around it so they could tell if it was getting larger or smaller. And by the time we got there, it seemed to be slightly smaller than where the marks were. So, we were a bit relieved. Still, we knew the severe pain in his chest was from cancer - several lesions and a mass in his left lung. Doctors said it grew despite the chemo sessions he's had since June. One doctor told us they would continue to do radiation treatments and stop the chemo - to allow his white blood cell count to come up but to go ahead and give him relief from the pain.

We spent the morning Sunday at the hospital again. Then, the family all went to lunch together, before we had to leave to come home. We didn't get away as early as we would have liked - and we missed the AWANA kick-off at our church. We got back to San Antonio around 8:30PM and didn't get to our house until after 9PM. We quickly got everything unloaded and ready for bed. The kids had school today.

Early this afernoon, we got word from the cancer specialist that the cancer that was growing despite the chemo was a much more aggressive type than he's had in the past. He is afraid they will not be able to suppress it or stop it from growing. On top of that, Tom has developed pneumonia again. I wondered about that when I noticed his blood oxygen level was 70 percent - only rising to the lower 80's on oxygen. When the family asked the doctor about a best case scenario/expectation, he responded that Tom might make it another 3 months. Of course, this is devastating news. We are all heart-broken, but do not wish for Tom to suffer as he is now.

James may try to get a temporary transfer at work so he can be with his dad until the end and be a help to his mother. I encourage anything that will help him feel better. He has been through so much.

Anway, here are some more pictures from our weekend trip to Odessa:

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