On November 24th 2009, we were at a hospital in Amarillo Texas. My daddy had been diagnosed with lung cancer just weeks before. We were VERY fortunate that a small town physicians assistant had a nagging feeling about his cough and health and took an x-ray. We will forever be thankful for her.

They took him into surgery. We were surrounded by friends, family and a loving hospital that took very good care of us at that time. I was also lifted by my friends text and emails during that time. The surgery was a success and daddy did so very well. He came out with one less lung and a happy surgeon who was very sure that all the cancer had been removed. Mom and I stayed the night in the lobby while my daddy slept in his room in critical care.

By the next day, they moved him into a regular room. He was doing really well for someone that had just had a lung removed!! He had very little pain. He just had some problems adjusting to breathing. He really worried about it. Shawn stayed with him that night. He did well that night.

We ate Thanksgiving lunch at a hospital in Amarillo Texas last year. There were a lot of families eating at the hospital that day. We all hung out in his room or the lobby. The longer then day went, the more daddy worried. He would not sleep. I mean WOULD.NOT.SLEEP! It was like he was afraid to go to sleep. By supper time, he was full blown worried and his body was so tired. Camille and I talked and decided that we would not do the black Friday shopping. We did not tell him. We sent my mom to a hotel room to rest because she was exhausted. Camille and I fired up the laptops and shopped online some that night. She stayed there at the hospital until about 2:30am and then she went to the hotel room to get some sleep. I pulled the recliner up close to my daddy's bed and tried to nap when he would close his eyes. He did a little better as long as I could touch him. He still would not really sleep. I finally asked him what was wrong. I told him to talk and get it out so that maybe he would find some relief. He talked about how he could not let anything happen to himself because there would be no one to take care of my mom. He worried about all that my brother would have to do. He fretted over money and bills and what he had not gotten done. We talked and talked and talked. We made a plan for any scenario that might happen. He told me what he would want for me to take care of. I thought then he could rest.

Instead, he got even more restless and agitated. He did not hurt but he could not get comfortable. Up and down and up and down. He kept asking what time it was and what day it was. At 3:30am, I asked the nurse to check on him. She went in and took his vitals. She assured me that he was fine. She told me that he was *sundowning*. She said that sometimes older patients got confused and anxious and that it normally happened as the sun went down. She said that there was another man on the ward that was doing the same thing and to just give it an hour or so and he would do better. One time when he got up he said, *I bet you wish I would just get up and walk down the hall and keep walking so I would not be a bother to you.* I told him that I could give him a head start and if he got too fast, I would just crimp his air hose. My daddy likes to tease like that and we always tease him back.

But that morning, he just looked at me really funny.

At 4:00 am I asked him if he did not want to try to sleep. I was so very tired.

My daddy looked up at me and asked *Who ARE you?*

My daddy did not remember me. He did not know who in the world I was.

He then asked me who HE was.

Later I realized that he did not know who I was when I told him that I would crimp his air hose. The poor man thought his life was being threatened by a total stranger.

I told him who he was. I told him who I was. He told me he did not know anything. I went out and got the nurse again. She came in and drew blood and told me that she would call who ever was on call.

He and I talked and talked and talked. He asked me what horrible thing had he done to be placed there. He asked me if he had murdered someone. He begged me to tell him who he was over and over. He finally told me that he would allow me to stay but only because I knew who he was and how to get him home.

And then he asked me again *Who are you?*

About that time, the nurse came back in and looked at him and then at me. She left and made a call. All of the sudden, several people came rushing into his room and asked me to step outside the room.

I did what I was asked to do and burst into tears.

I have never been more afraid in my whole life.

I did not know that we had all just buckled up to take a hell of a 3 day roller coaster ride. That ride was awful....hysterical....bizarre and funny all rolled into one. But that is a story for another time

Last Thanksgiving seems like a million years ago. My daddy is doing so very well now. This Thanksgiving we will all be together. ALL of us plus three new little boys that took their sweet time getting to us.

We are thankful. So very very thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving


  1. Oh, Mindy, you've made me cry. You tell the most painful things in the calmest voice. I am so glad this is a better Thanksgiving for all of you than it was last year.

    Thank you for all the times you have cheered me up and encouraged me...

  2. Annie it has taken a year to tell the story. Believe it or not, it gets really funny. I will be able to tell that soon.

    This is a wonderful Thanksgiving. I promise.

  3. Mindy, my friend, I will be in the hospital tomorrow as chaplain on call. And I will do my best to be encouraging and hopeful for everyone I meet. I love you.

  4. Thank you. All the staff at that hospital were so nice...down to the cafeteria workers.

    I was so thankful for them. I am so thankful for you being there for people tomorrow.

  5. Your gratitude is powerful.. I am so glad this is a better Thanksgiving for you!!

  6. Mindy I can't believe its been a year. What a difference a year can make. You all have been blessed.

  7. We have been blessed Dij! Sometimes it seems like forever ago and sometimes it seems like it was last week.

  8. You have a lot to be thankful for, indeed! Much love to you and yours for Thanksgiving.

  9. Mindy, that is quite a story about your Daddy,I am so glad that you will be spending time with Family Thanksgiving... today is my Daddys 84th birthday and we will celebrate it tomorrow with the family, it may be the last Thanksgiving that my Daddy knows who we all are since he has Alzheimer, and he is getting worse.

    Take care and God bless

  10. I remember when your dad was sick - I am so glad that he is doing well. I can't wait to hear the rest of your story ... before kids I worked with seniors and some of the things that they would say or do were hysterical - heartbreaking at times too. So many families I worked with (I was a social worker) would laugh with tears running down their cheeks - trying to find the humor in a tough situation. I'm glad your daddy is ok. So much to be thankful for!

  11. oh my... no wonder my post spoke to you so. peace to you this day...

    and FYI i read "pecan pie" is the worst caloric nightmare today, but pumpkin is a healthy choice. yahoo!

  12. In 2008 my mother was operated on for colon cancer and ended up in ICU. Same thing as your dad, she became verry disoriented.

    Since I have had lots of experience with elderly sick people (most of my mom's family was tons older than her) I knew what was happening, but it is scary when its YOUR parent.

    My favorite moment was when she told me "These curtains are sooo ugly, I don't know why you chose these for our living room" so she could identify the curtains were UGLY (as they certainly were) but not that they were surrounding her bed in a hospital.

  13. Sweety I am so sorry. I bet you make this the best Thanksgiving ever. I am praying for good sweet memories for all of your family today.

  14. Adrienne no wonder you get me!! Girl there was so many times we laughed so hard and our hearts were breaking. We could not have gotten through it without laughing.

  15. Yep Hot Cup....your post meant so much. Like you were preaching to me and I liked it.

  16. Oh Winny you get it! That is exactly what was happening to us! You will get the story.

  17. So happy that your Daddy is well now! Looking forward to reading the rest of this story. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving with your family!

  18. Every year is different for us all. What a story you related! Glad this is a better year for you!

  19. Dang it, girl, you made me cry.

  20. mindy,

    wow,you made start to tear up... i'm so glad he is so much better this yr...and i really hope you had a fun Thansgiving with all your family...



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