A month ago, he was fine.
He was finishing rehabilitation after a total hip replacement, getting ready to go home.
Then the dyspnea began, and they found the clots in his lungs.
Medications solved that.
But during the follow-up exam, the doctor found rigidity in his abdomen.
A week later he was in the ER with severe jaundice and lethargy.
Cholangiocarcinoma. Cancer in the bile ducts.
Inoperable. They did one dose of radiation before the family made their decision.
He was going home. No one knew if he had a few days or a few weeks. I had a copy of the DNR in my paperwork.
And so we traveled across two states, with his wife of fifty-two years holding his hand and his grown children following in the station wagon behind us.
We gave them most of our extra linens.
No one was ready. They'd only had a month.