Right after they entered Dad’s room in the ICU, the surgical prep team very quickly disconnected the wiring that was hooked up to the monitors, hung the IV bags on the railing and unlocked the wheels on the bed, and rolled Dad’s bed out into the hallway. “Tell your family goodbye,” the surgical nurse told him. Fortunately, he was facing away from us at that point because with those words we were all fighting back tears with all of our might. Whether it was intentional or not, though, Dad was casual; he gave us a wave and then started chatting up the nurse about how he thought it would be a great idea if hospital patients were allowed to have dogs sleep in their beds with them. "I could have my dog Buddy right here with me," he told her, as he patted the empty spot in the bed by his legs.
However, for some reason the neurosurgeon didn’t appear until 4:15. An hour before that, I had gone back into the ICU to ask Dad’s nurse in there to call and see what was wrong. She reported that Dad was off the ventilator but still sedated and that she didn’t know why the surgeon hadn’t been up to see us yet.
When he did show up to usher us into the Room of Doom (You know you’re not going to get GOOD news when they take you in THERE!), he told us that Dad did indeed have the most aggressive and most difficult to treat type of brain cancer and that the prognosis was not good at all. He told us that he had “managed to remove 80% of the tumor" and said the remaining part was “buried too deep in the brain.” He offered us the name of a colleague of his, an oncologist whom he said was active in many clinical trials. I wrote down everything in the Notebook and, when I had run out of things to write, I fell apart.