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Q: could it be my thermostat still? on 1998 Ford Explorer

after about a 40 minute 75 mph drive on the freeway me explorer started making a sound like it needed oil .The noise got louder and the knocking sound was more rapid and I got off the freeway asap .It was not accelerating normal and then while exiting freeway I noticed it was VERY hot I cut the engine and coasted into a car shop parking lot . There was some steam or light white smoke coming out from under the hood for a moment then it stopped . After 5-10 minutes I went to take the radiator cap off and it seemed like it was not on tight the over fill was bone dry fyi so after adding water and the quart of oil needed I was back on the road. My tempature gauge was reading a little hotter than normal but not to much . I hoped all was ok but 4 hours later I drove two miles and when I got out of the truck it sounded like the radiator was on rapid boil a very loud bubbling gurgling sound and my gauge still was slightly hotter then before the freeway thing happened. The next time I drove it I noticed the gauge getting hotter then going down while I maintained the same speed . Up a bit then down a bit so I thought either thermostat or water pump so I changed the thermostat bought some radiator seal a leak ( Just in case ) some 50/50 antifreeze a new radiator cap and prayed. With all that I was back on the road but my truck still was running rough sounding like it had a timing problem and I felt like I had to keep my foot on the gas and brake while stopped or it might die .I got about a mile and the thermostat was way low then within a block it was hot and getting hotter fast I was on my street and cut the engine and coasted hm .Popped the hood to look and listen when suddenly a hose burst and water steam and antifreez went everywhere ( Im quick and did not get hurt ) The hose that burst was the one connected to the heater core thing ( a neighbor guy said )I forgot to tell you after adding that leak seal stuff I needed to drive around with heater on high so it could work and seal what ever it seals but after about 5mins the heater was blowing cold I mean cold like it was the ac but it was not real hot just a little hot .
Before the hose blew i was thinking maybe the thermostat did not go on just right and maybe it didnt seal all the way but ( the neighbor guy ) said if it was in the wrong or if it moved while I was trying to screw the 3 bolts back on , I wouldnt be able to screw the bolts on all the way flush so it had to be in right. ( not sure about that )anyway thats where I am at the moment . Anybody have any thoughts ? I just started a much needed job today and this really sucks I really am a damsel in distress please if you can ...H-E-L-P
Thank you for taking time to read my long story but I dont know what details may or may not be important and make a difference in someone knowing what is wrong so I tried to tell all
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