I learned today that my father's cancer is Stage IV; they don't know where its coming from and they don't know where its going. They wheeled him out to scan his brain to see if its moved there. The nurse said the doctors are acting as if he might only have days to live. The doctor said she was unwilling to speculate how long he might have. They are running more tests tonight and tomorrow. They might know more then. But then again, they probably won't.
Call me a horrible person if you'd like, but I am relieved that his cancer might be so bad that death is imminent. He's tired. And weak. He hasn't gotten any joy out of life for years, if not decades. I've spent the last four years caring for him; sometimes intensively, sometimes less so, but always there. Shuttling back and forth to go grocery shopping for him; enduring dinners at Perkins so he could order off the senior menu; feeling guilty when I go away for the weekend; mowing his grass; cooking for him; taking him to doctors appointments; taking him to the hospital... In the past four years, I'd guess I've missed two months worth of work or more because of his various issues. Its funny, because I'm sure he never missed a day of work to take care of me.
I feel sorry for him, but I also resent him. 90% of the tears I have shed in my life were caused, in one way or another, by him. He's the reason I feel the way I do about marriage and relationships. He's the reason I occasionally check myself when the alcohol consumption goes a bit up. He's the reason I haven't moved, or looked for a new job. I couldn't leave - he can't take care of himself.
Now, he could be gone within the week. Or, he could suffer for months. And I could suffer for months. If the cancer doesn't take him quickly, things are going to get very complicated because health insurance won't pay for long-term care and hospice won't take him unless he is really dying. If we have to pay; we have to sell his house. You try selling a house with an avocado bathroom and orange linoleum in this housing market and see what happens. Nothing good, that's for sure. And, I can't simultaneously take care of his health needs while tearing up red carpet from the 60's.
So, I don't know how bad he is, I don't know how long he could live, I don't know where he is going to go if he gets out of the hospital, and I don't know whether to dance with glee or curl up and cry. For now, I'm just going to curl up and go to bed.