Day 1 with Dad (Wednesday, April 17, 2013)
I was relieved and glad to get to see Dad myself, there was no peace of mind like it.
Dad has been through a lot, his eyes were not shiny blue as we knew them to be. They were overcast and that may have been due to head trauma from the seizures. Dad knew I was there, I watched his breathing change as did his eyes. He was still in there, just unable to talk.
Wiping drool from his mouth I watched him mouth ‘thank you.’ I also watched as the nurse put a tube in his throat to clear out the phlegm, I could tell it was painful to him because how he moved his legs inward as if to cringe. I watched as he moved his weak right arm upward after the nurse had turned away, I mentioned it to her. She asked if his face itched and she scratched it for him and adjusted the tubes. She asked if that was better and he seemed settled.
I called his Sister, who had been a nurse in WWII, because she wanted to say her good-bye to him. My Reluctant Heart brother didn’t want to do it, couldn’t do it, or whatever. I didn’t either, but did it anyway…definitely one of those difficult life moments. Dad showed no signs of response at my holding the phone up to his ear so she could speak.
I knew he was still in there. It was wait and see.
Dad’s doctor called me this morning saying today’s EEG showed no change from yesterday. He said we should initiate hospice anyway, and I received a call from hospice, Reluctant Heart and I will sign papers tomorrow (Thursday at 3pm). Dad will stay at hospital until a bed is available at hospice. They’ll move Dad tonight, around 11pm to another floor, his care will be less intense because he’s at that stage where he doesn’t need intensive care.
As long as life holds him here, I’ll fight for him. When it’s his time, I will help him go.
Day 2 with Dad (Thursday, April 18, 2013)
Rough day with Dad, he was clearly in pain when coughing and is extremely weak. No real change, we opted out of another EEG after meeting the rep from hospice this afternoon…he asked in a far kinder way than I can remember…would having the test results change any of the outcome for Dad? Probably not. The hospice rep also said in his opinion, Dad is in his final days.
So we sort of decided on Hospice. This is the most difficult decision. Ever. Reluctant Heart brother needed time overnight to decide but most likely will be agreeing to send him to hospice first thing in the morning. I know it’s not the end of the world, it just feels that way. Reluctant Heart brother said he’d call Dad’s brother tonight. I asked Richard what he would do and he said we have to go back to what Dad asked for in his Living Will/Advanced Healthcare Directives.
My heart and mind are heavy. It’s hard for me to breathe, I wonder if they can put me on oxygen and sedate me!
Richard and I were in the room alone with Dad after our meeting with hospice rep and I asked if I could have a few moments with Dad alone. I told Dad we’re going to help him, if it’s his time to go, we will help him go. If not, then I’ll fight for him, after all, we are a stubborn lot! I said just think of who you’ll get to see if it is your time (probably stupid of me in retrospect!) I said other things I can’t recall right now…I started crying, and he started crying. This was the SECOND time I saw him cry today, the first was when he was coughing hard, but this time he opened his eyes ever so slightly.
Exhausted as I was, I stayed overnight in Dad’s hospital room. I told him I’d be there whether it’s his time to go or stay, and, I told him it’d be okay for him to let go. We’ll be okay…
Hospice care removes all life support and offers small doses of morphine, so he will not be in pain. I so wish God would just let him pass away in his sleep. This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever experienced. I’m taking my phone and charger to plug in overnight, I doubt I’ll be getting much sleep. Hospice allows family to be there 24/7 from what I understand. Gulp…
The decision has been made, in my book, we just have to honor it and follow through. Calgon, take me away…