Timing is everything. I spent four difficult but very special days with my ailing father in Rockford, Illinois last week. A fall in the shower a month before and a nagging bladder infection had left him bedridden but still able to sit-up, eat and hold short conversations. We even found a special wheel chair that allowed him to sit comfortably and watch TV with the family. Unfortunately, his health has taken a turn for the worse since I’ve returned to Florida.
His infection is more acute and is very painful for him. Some of the discomfort could also be caused by slow moving metastasized prostate cancer; he was first diagnosed well over a decade ago.
Now 91 years old, the poor guy only wants to be able to stand-up, get out of bed and go to the bathroom!
With encouragement from my sister, my mother reluctantly called hospice a month ago. Having an experienced registered nurse at the ready has been a godsend! I had always heard that things can change quickly when an elderly person undergoes a traumatic event like my father’s fall. I’m now witnessing it firsthand.
Dad wasn’t in any pain when I left him July 3rd. He was eating and alert. Yesterday his nurse administered morphine for the first time. I haven’t been able to talk with him for two days because he isn’t clear enough to speak on the phone–and he’s barely eating anything.
What seemed like six months or even a year away suddenly seems inevitable. My father may die in a matter of weeks.
I have two more weekly cycles of Velcade/dex to get through before I fly back to see him again. I was forced to delay last week’s treatment because of my trip and the 4th of July holiday. I don’t want to get too off-track; my therapy is working. I had planned to visit again at the end of August. How quickly things can change.
Dad knows how much I love him and I don’t feel the need to time a visit to be there when he slips away. But I’m not going to sit down here in Florida and miss precious time I might be able to spend with him. And I want to be there to let him know its OK to let go if and when the time comes.
Funny, there are pictures of my father all over the house, but I don’t have one in my camera or on my computer to share. I figure something out and post a few later.
I would appreciate it if you could say a quick prayer for my dad. He’s a great guy and has been a caring, dutiful father. I would hate to see him suffer now at the end.
Thanks much! Feel good and keep smiling! Pat