The beginning of the end of the day 

It has been a tiring week and we are barely started. Over Easter my dad experienced some symptoms with his bladder that prompted his doctor to send him for a CT scan.  This then led to an appointment to see his specialist today.

Knowing how stressful my mother finds the hospital, primarily because of the tiny and expensive carpark, I took a couple of hours off work to take them down. This meant that I could also get the results from the specialist, and not from my mother.

Getting any information from my mother, unless it is celebrity gossip, is tricky. Imagine one of those ball pits that kids get to play in while their parents shop at IKEA. Now imagine a small explosion in the pit (empty of children of course)  and the resulting spread of blue, red, yellow and green balls all over the place. Following the trajectory of those balls would be easier than following my mother’s stories. They start at one point, shoot off at multiple tangents and suck in as many irrelevancies as it is possible to imagine. Personal pronouns get scattered around with such enthusiastic abandon, that you have no idea which character the ‘he’ or the ‘she’ at any one point of the story is referring to. I have never heard her tell a joke without revealing the punchline ahead of the set up. It is just the way it is.

The hospital day procedure unit is normally not too bad. Confusingly, some people are checking in for overnight procedures. Some, like my father are there for short examinations to see if they will need something further done. Usually the waiting room is around half full and there is a constant flow of people moving through. Not today, today it was busy and just kept getting busier. Normally my dad is in and out within an hour, but after two hours my mother and I were still waiting to hear and I had to go and feed the hungry beast in the carpark with more coins.

Finally the doctor called us in. If everything is OK then they let my dad go, but the doctor wanted to see us and that meant there was news. We squeezed in to the tiny consulting room and he drew diagrams of kidneys and a bladder and the various tubes on a piece of paper, explained that the left kidney was blocked and that he was going to put a stent in on Wednesday to try and sort it out. The question he did not know the answer to, was what had caused the blockage. It could have been scar tissue, or it could be the cancer rearing up again, even though a recent biopsy picked up nothing.

The news could have been worse, but it also means that he will have to have a general anaesthetic for the procedure and there is always a risk with that. There are two ways to put the stent in, via the kidney or via the bladder. He is going to try the latter, which is the least invasive route first and if he can’t get through then will start again the following day with plan B.

With the big wait at the hospital, I ended up taking half a day off work in total, and then did not manage to get much work done. My dad is nearly 84- his birthday is in a couple of weeks – and these procedures take it out of him and us all. After updating my two brothers, neither of whom live here, I hoped for an early night. It was not to be. My dogs had been out in the garden for a while amusing themselves when I heard one of them repeatedly shaking his head – I knew because it was making his tags rattle. Going out to investigate, I saw a frog, playing dead and a dog who clearly did not like what was happening in his mouth. I have spent the last half hour trying to work out what is going on as there are no native toads to Perth and this thing was certainly no cane toad – a species threatening to invade WA and very poisonous, it was nothing like the size of one. I took a picture but it failed to come out and then the bugger hopped away, but can’t find any frogs who looked like the one I saw. Plus I can’t find any frog that have a similar defense mechanism to being picked up by a dog.

Now I am watching my dog very carefully. He has been sick twice but the last time was half an hour ago and I have rinsed his mouth and his gums look OK. His breathing is fine and he is walking OK. He is a small dog, so I imagine if something was going to happen, it would do so sooner rather than later, and he appears to be less, not more affected as the time wears on. The time long ago, that I promised myself I would be in bed asleep by.

It is going to be a long week.

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