Thursday, August 28, 2008

Walk by the river

I have got to be the worst at keeping track of things. I have lost my keys TWICE in one week. And we're not talking kinda lost. We're talking 2-3 days of searching each time. The first time, my keys somehow made it into the laundry bin. The second time, I found them in my camcorder case in the nether-regions of my office. In both cases - I have no idea how they got there. It's so embarrassing! I feel so dumb.

It's even worse when your dying dad wants to go for a nice walk by the river and you can't find your keys! Frig! What an awesome opportunity to spend some quality time with dad - and I can't find my keys?!?! I called him back to let him know the situation to which he replied, "Ok - I'll look to see if I have any keys here and call you back." I was expecting a little jab from my dad about how I lost my keys twice in one week... but he hasn't been joking to much lately.

Long story short, I found my keys and my dad and I headed out for the Chapman Mills Conservation walk. Beautiful walk - one of the best in the city. There are points in the trail that you forget your in Ottawa. Feels like a cottage.

On the way, my dad told me about some new symptoms he's been experiencing lately - loss of balance and confusion.

He told me a story about how he was supposed to go to Winners and Zellers. My mom drove him as he doesn't feel comfortable driving anymore. He walked into one of the stores and asked himself, when did Winner's get so big? He shrugged it off and continued towards his desired department. Then suddenly he felt lost - like he couldn't find his way out. Then he thought to himself, the exit's would be where the windows are - so I'll just look for windows. My dad searched for the windows, found them, then the exit. The entire time, he was in Zellers, not Winners.

He told me a few other stories - all similar. While we were walking, it was obvious that my dad was having trouble keeping his balance. Every 30-40 steps, he would stumble - just a little - but consistently.

Things seem to be getting worse. And he's loosing more weight - if that's even possible.

I'd love to share more, but I'm leaving in 3min for Gaspe, QC for Labor Day weekend. Should be good - though I told my dad I was reluctant to go as I'm afraid something is going to happen if I leave. My papa (dad's dad) passed away while I was in Florida with my wife a few years ago. I kinda feel like that's my luck.

I loved our walk dad - and I'm sorry I didn't say all the things that were on my mind that day. But you know I love you. I haven't given up on you before - and I'm sure as hell not going to start now!

God - thanks so much for taking care of my dad through all this. Again, thank you that you're in control and that your plans are so much bigger than my own.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More bad days than good...

My dad's a joker - he loves kidding around. Sometimes it can be more annoying than funny. It's a very sarcastic humour. My mom knows it well - as does my wife who says I exude the same 'annoying' humour as my dad.

He's been asking me to help move some furniture. I grabbed a friend (thanks Gunner!) and headed off to see my dad and move some furniture.

When we arrived, the first thing I did was start bugging my dad about how he wasn't helping us move. "Come on dad! Grab the other side - we'll carry it together!" and "Dad - get off your butt! Help your son out!" I thought it was funny - that was until I approached him afterwards. He's gotten worse.


When your in a heavy situation like this, its so easy to live in disbelief. You may not think you're living in disbelief. But it sneaks its way in. For myself, I somehow think that next time I see him, he'll have gained more weight - that he'll be less pale and yellow. Then, I'll see him again - worse than before... then it's all happening again. Its like I'm seeing him for the first time.

If you haven't seen my dad lately, you may not understand the severity of his situation. I'll try to post some pictures in the coming days.


Straight up - I have no idea how my dad is still alive. He sounds so sick and weak every time I call. We last spoke yesterday. He said he has no energy and can barely walk.

My suspicion is that his chest is so full of fluid that its suffocating my dad. My biggest worry is that my dad is putting false hope in the doctors advise that he's fine at home. I don't understand why they've sent him home from the hospital. A - He needs to be supervised. B - He needs another chest-tap to remove ALL (not some) of the fluid around his lungs. Then my dad would at least have a fighting chance.

If that wasn't enough, he's mind has begun to play tricks on him. He admitted that he's been seeing a few things - hallucinations. Its a side-effect of the diuretics he's been prescribed to help managed his fluids.

I really don't want my dad to loose his mind. I can't think of anything more cruel...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Another Test

Yet another test - yesterday around noon. Not sure what for. Dad was given some sort of sedative. He said the test really tired him out. Didn't say anything else.

We enjoyed a great dinner on Wednesday night. Dad made vegetable and beef skewers. So freakin' delicious. Although it's pretty tough to watch my dad hobble around the house trying to make dinner, I'm so glad he's able to! I know he'd much rather be making his son and daughter-in-law dinner then laying in a bed in the hospital.

Immediately after dinner, can't-stand-still-Bloomfield had to take a walk. Dad has a real hard time staying still. He can't stand sitting around the house or feeling confined to the house. Furthermore, because his oxygen levels are low, he's nervous about becoming too lethargic around the house. That's why so many walks. It was great - we must have been moving at 0.2 miles/hr. Good conversation as well. Can't remember what - but I remember it felt good.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I was able to get I hope this new address makes it easier for you to spread the word.

The old address still works.


I'm overflowing with emotion. I can not possibly express my appreciation enough to all you who prayed for my dad this evening at Bethel.

Typically, my family and I go to the Sunday evening service at Bethel Church, although lately it's been a harder habit to keep. I used to lead the music on a regular basis, but I've since taken a step back from 'full-time' church involvement. Despite my step back, thanks to the graceful and loving leadership of the Blakely's, I'm still allowed to lead the music every-so-often. I love doing it! It's what I live for!

Tonight was the first time I had lead music at Bethel for 5-6 weeks. It was a great feeling to be leading again at my home church. It almost feels like the longer I go between engagements, the more intense the experience and the better I feel I lead the music.

Tonight was even better as David Blakely (senior pastor) planned a prayer meeting for my dad immediately after the service. It was an opportunity for those interested to gather around my dad and agree in prayer for a miraculous healing.

Over 40 people showed up - at least! My mom was overwhelmed by the response! So was I.

When your in a situation like the one we're in, it so easy to believe the worst - to believe your alone, that no one cares, that this situation is only going to end badly. But seeing your faces in that room was a reminder that all those thoughts are lies! We aren't alone! People do genuinely care about my dad's well being! My dad is going to be okay! We are going to be okay!

And your prayers were so thoughtful! So full of faith! So encouraging!

Thank you so much to all of you who showed up! YOU NEED TO KNOW - even if that was all you could do for my family was show up that one time, it made all the difference in the world!

Bethel family - we love you so much! And please don't let our absence be interpreted otherwise!

Also - to those of you who may have tried to talk to my dad this evening or have been trying to get intouch with my dad over the phone, please know that because of his oxygen levels, its difficult for him to find the energy to return calls or carry on conversations packed with details on his situation. If he was short with you, it was only because of his low energy levels and his 'oh-so-cozy' Bloomfield social skills. He loves all of you and appreciates your concern very much! If you see him again, please give him a hug and tell him your praying for him. If you want more juicy details, feel free to ask myself or my mom (Linda).

Again - thank you so much!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Camp and Death by Egg McMuffin

I got a call at 8am today. It was dad. Usually he calls for no reason. "Hey son! You working? How's Chel? Alright - see you later!" It's sooo freaking annoying sometimes. But I know I'll miss it one day.

On this particular occasion, he was calling to ask if I wanted to go to camp with him for the day. I took him up on the offer seeing as I hadn't been to camp once yet this summer. And I'm all for spending one on one time with my dad. He stopped by my house 30min later and we were on our way.

I had to drive as my dad was feeling a little light headed. Because his lungs are still surrounded by fluid, he has a difficult time breathing and a difficult time keeping his oxygen at a sufficient level. He gets tired really quickly.

As we were nearing Arnprior, my dad asked if I was interested in breakfast. I was game.

You know when people ask a question, but ask it in a tone where you can tell the answer they want to hear back? My dad asked one of those questions. "You feel like a quick breakfast? Or... a big... drawn out breakfast?" He obviously wanted a quick breakfast.

His next comment shocked me. "You want MacDonald's?"

What the flip!?! My liver is fine and I still feel like I'm going to die after I have McDonald's! I started having visions of that dumb McDonald's clown beating the crap of my dad - just feedin' it him.

Hesitantly, I replied, "Sure."

We had a quick bite - he had an Egg McMuffin.

Afterwards, he proceeds to tell me that the Egg McMuffin alone was worth over 50% of his daily Salt allowance (my dad has to be very careful about how much salt he eats).

On one hand, I was a little ticked that my dad was foolish enough to eat McDonald's. But, on the other hand, the dude hasn't had a decent meal in so long. He weighs 160lb and falling. He used to weigh 240lb. He loved his food.

In the end, I was glad he was able to enjoy a little McDonald's. I just hope it doesn't kill him.

Our day at camp was a short one - only a few hours. My dad couldn't sit still. Almost as soon as we got there, he asked if I wanted to go the chip wagon with him. It felt like only a few minutes went by that he wanted to go back home. In reality, the whole time at camp was about 3 hours.

Great day at camp, dad! I love car trips with you!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Financial Provision

I just wanted to post a public 'Thank You!' to those of you who have been so generous in your financial giving! Wow! My parents have received over $3000 in financial provision since their situation was made public. Some have dropped off cheques to help pay the bills. Others have given 'Get Well' cards with some money for groceries. All your gifts are so thoughtful and mean so much!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

My dad stopped working just over 2 months ago. And although he owns the business for which he works, it does not produce the kind of income necessary for my parents to continue to take a salary while not working. We, as a family, have some ideas to help better the business. But, like all great ideas, these ideas will take much time and effort to implement and certainly aren't a guarantee.

The financial dilemma is an unfortunate reality and only makes an already difficult situation more stressful. In fact, without God's continued financial provision, my parents will probably have to sell their house.

Furthermore, the doctors in Toronto informed my parents that OHIP only covers the transplant and 2 weeks in ICU after the transplant. It does not cover the monthly drug costs ($500-$3000 per month, depending on how my dad's body reacts). Neither does OHIP cover the $40,000 Interferon treatment that may cure his Hep-C after the transplant.

Please continue to pray for my dad's health. And if you have an extra moment, a small prayer for financial provision.

God, remind me of your promises so I can stay strong in my belief that you'll see us through.

Thank you that you have a plan for this situation - and that your planning great things for my parents - plans to see them through this situation and for a great future! (Adopted from Jeremiah 29:11)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

More info from Toronto

I was finally able to spend some time on the phone with dad and talk in more detail about how things went in Toronto.

Great Bloomfield story - My dad was given a blue health card from the Toronto Hospital. He signed all the papers, received the card, then made his way to another floor in the hospital. When he arrived on the appropriate floor, he was asked to show his blue card. He somehow managed to misplace it while travelling between floors. So - he filled out the paper work again to receive a new card just to find his original card almost immediately after receiving his new card. Boy - can I relate to that story.

As mentioned earlier, my dad qualifies for a liver transplant. However, there are still more physical tests he must pass before the transplant can take place. Best case scenario is a 2 month waiting period. Worst case - up to 3 years. But my dad was told that is very unlikely.

The biggest issue at the moment is an ear/nose/throat infection he seems to have caught. As long as he is sick with this infection, they will not book the transplant. He needs to be in good health for the transplant.

In summary, my dad will remain in Ottawa with bi-weekly visits to the Toronto hospital for observation and tests. The final transplant date is yet to be booked and is dependant on the test results.

In the mean time, my dad is chillin' at home. He's asked me to pick up some DVD's and drop them off to him. I suppose he'll be watching lots of TV during this waiting period.

For those interested, I've posted links on the left for more info on the liver transplant unit at the Toronto Hospital including an animation of the transplant. Not going to lie - I wish I hadn't watched the animation. It's not graphic - just makes me queezy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You've never tried beer?

I love food. And there's nothing like a great, home-made, gourmet, sky-high, grilled-to-perfection sandwich. Its this very principal upon which Brad Klein and I have based our 18 year friendship.

Every so often, Klein and I get together and make sandwiches at his parent's place. This particular time must have been back around the late 90's, early 00's... (early 2100's??). We always had great conversations over sandwich making. On this occasion, we were talking about alcohol. Klein could not believe I had never had even a sip of alcohol before. He asked me why. And I replied the same way I replied to anyone else asking that question... "I don't know... it kinda smells bad."

The reality is, I have no idea what drove me (and still drives me) not to drink. It's not based on my faith, although it may have been at one point when I was younger. Many of my church friends today have an occasional social drink - some more than others (Bor-cough-tot... I'm joking dude, calm down).

Somehow - here I am. 26 and I've never had a drink - and I have no idea why. But how cool would it be if it all came down to this situation right here. What if, this entire time, it was for my dad.

God, please let me be a match!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

First visit to Toronto

Finally - the meeting we've been waiting months for. The meeting that will determine if/when the transplant will take place.

My dad arrived in Toronto on Monday, August 11th. He and my mom spent the previous night in Port Hope. The meeting was set for Tuesday at noon.

When they arrived at the hospital, they were introduced to the team of doctors who will be monitoring my dad until after the transplant has taken place. What a relief! Finally some progress... or so I thought.


Can someone please explain to me why the health care system in Canada sucks so much? Sure - you get 'free' health care. However, you have to wait 4 months for an MRI while your dying of cancer (or in my dad's case, a new liver while a willing donor just sits waiting). And if that wasn't enough, you have to pay an obscene amount for parking. I paid $13 to visit my dad for 45min at the Ottawa Civic Campus. You know what that is? Balls.

But in all seriousness - I really began to worry that if my father died while he was waiting for a liver transplant, I'd become insanely angry and bitter towards the health care system. Why didn't they work faster? Why couldn't they have just given my dad my liver? Where the hell was Dr House? But my mom constantly reminds me of the reality of the situation. Its not up to the health care system. I'm not trusting that the doctors will do everything in their power to get my dad through this. The reality is that humans will fail. We will make mistakes. We will mess up. Instead, I'd rather place my dad in the hands of the one who actually has the power to save my dad from certain death. I'm putting my faith in God.

My God can heal my dad. My God will heal my dad. But even if he doesn't, I'll still serve him faithfully all the days of my life. (Adopted from Daniel 3:17 - Thanks Pastor John)


After all the anticipation, it turns out my dad still needs to wait up to two months before his transplant can happen. Why? I'm not quite sure at this point. My dad said something about more tests.

There was good news though. The doctors were able to confirm 100% that given his current condition, he qualifies for the transplant surgery. That would lead me to believe that the remaining tests will dictate when, not if, he will have the surgery.

We also found out that my appointment will be in the next two months in Toronto. There's a separate team of doctors dedicated to treating liver donors. Kinda scary. I'm supposed to attend the meeting without my dad. The doctors want a certain degree of separation between the donor and the recipient to ensure that the donor does in fact want to proceed with the transplant and isn't being coerced.

My dad is on his way back to his hotel now (Delta Chelsea, downtown Toronto). He'll be back in Ottawa tomorrow. He'll be required to report back to the doctors in Toronto every two weeks.