Thursday, June 11, 2009

Asbestosis and my Dad

My Dad is still in ICU. We have some good days, looking like actual progress, then a step back. Dad has “asbestosis.” He got this from his years in construction working as a plasterer in contact with asbestos. Asbestos was used extensively during World War II, when it was common in ships. Longshoremen, pipefitters, insulators and other shipyard workers risked contact with the substance. During the 1960s through the 1980s, asbestos was very common in building materials. My Dad didn’t smoke or drink alcohol (lots of coffee though!)….he’s lived a good life, working hard. He didn’t deserve this. For whatever reasons, God felt this would be his burden to bear. Mom and Dad have been married 51 years.

The symptoms Dad has had for years are chronic cough, chest pain, chest tightness, fitful sleep, ill feeling and appetite loss, decreased tolerance for physical activity, shortness of breath, referred to as dyspnea (initially only with exertion, but now even while resting). Dad has all of this. Sometimes people get finger deformity (clubbing) in some cases….Dad doesn’t have this.
From the asbestos fibers growing in his lungs, he gets a pleural thickening around his lungs….think like orange peel. As that hardens, his lungs stiffen and can’t work well at pumping the oxygen. Right now he can breathe in – but he can’t convert the oxygen into the dioxide his body needs very well. Asbestos-related pleural thickening occurs because, unlike most airborne particles, asbestos fibers are so small that they can bypass the lungs’ filtration system and get into the lungs. Once in the lungs they become imbedded in the pleura and other areas and cause inflammation and scarring.

There is no cure for Asbestosis. The end for someone with this disease is ugly. You either suffocate as your lungs slowly quit working, or something like pneumonia will take you. Dad has told us many times he is ready to go. Dad also doesn’t want to suffer – nor do we want him to suffer. His parents (my grandparents) died in a car crash instantly. I was only three when they died. Dad has said that is a better way to die – quickly, no pain. I can’t remove my Dad’s pain, but I can pray that God will hold his hand as he suffers from this disease and when the time is right, he will take Dad quickly. People out there – pray this with me.

Isaiah 40:28-31
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

1 Peter 3:18
18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.


Lana@The Kids Did WHAT?! said...

You, your Dad and your family are in my prayers.

Dee said...

I am sorry Val that your father has to suffer with this lung ailment. My dad died from emphasema and asthma. It is a hard road to be on.I will be more than happy to keep him in prayer along with your brother. I like the idea of a tazer on the cell phone. You may have a million dollar idea there. Dee

beckymc said...

I am sorry your dad has asbestosis. It somehow does not seem right when these things happen to good people who live good clean lives. I will pray for you and with you Val for your dad and your family.
How is your brother doing?

angelonwheels said...

I am so sorry Val! I'll be praying for all of you! You have so much on you! Thanks for so often taking time to encourage me, when you have such much heartache to cope with.

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