Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Its Raining, Its Pouring...

They took my grandma's body from the Hospice House yesterday at about 8am.

At 10 am, I called the social worker at the Hospital.

At noon, the doctor asked my father if he would like to let nature take its course.

At 2, I signed paperwork.

At 4, the paramedics picked him up.

At 4:30, my father was admitted to Hospice House. My grandmother had been dead less than twelve hours, and we brought my dad here to die too.

Yesterday was a very, very difficult day.

Momom was right. This is going to be the hardest week of my life.

Yesterday, my mom and I met at McDonald's for breakfast. I hate McDonald's and have avoided eating there for years and years and years, even on long desolate road trips. But I made an exception in this case. All families meet at McDonald's in their time of great tragedy, right? Plus, my mom and her boyfriend aren't really the Starbucks types. We talked about Momom's funeral, joked about fun things to do with her ashes, then mom came with me to the hospital.

I had absolutely no idea that my day would turn out like it did.

I feel like I've caused his death. Logically, I understand that his kidney disease and his cancer are not my fault, but I'm the one that called the social worker on his ass when he winced in pain so badly it made me nauseous. I signed the paperwork. I gave the doctor a knowing look and a nod of my head when dad was having trouble making his wishes clear.

It was so heartbreaking. The doctor, a big black woman with a sympathetic look in her eyes, leaned in and tried to assess dad's mental condition and his wishes so that she could make a recommendation.

"How are you feeling?"

(mumbling) "Oh, fine." (really Dad? Fine? That's not exactly how I would describe it)

"Do you know what's wrong with you?"

"I'm constipated" (not untrue, but certainly, not the biggest of his issues)

"Do you know what else?"

"Something about I might have cancer." (Doc looks at me. I raise my eyebrows)

"It is cancer."

"That's right. Cancer."

Dad was confused. Wiped out. Having trouble getting word out. How do you get someone in that kind of shape to make decisions for himself? I wish the social worker had been more up front last week because he could have been more clear. We asked him leading questions and he agreed to "let nature take its course" (we think) because he couldn't really do much else. Then I went into the hallway to put the wheels in motion and sign the paperwork. The Doc almost cried when I told her my grandmother had passed away that morning. She hugged me. I was bawling. To lose your grandmother and send your father off to his death on the same day? Its emotionally taxing. Just a little.

They were supposed to come get him at 3 to take him. The ambulance people didn't arrive until 4. So I sat. Watching people. Every time I heard something with wheels go by my heart jumped and I felt sick. It was like he was safe and stable in the hospital. Once they came to get him, that was it. No turning back. Dad would have days left. Not weeks. Not a week. Days.

Its kinda like when you decide to euthanize your pet and you put him in the car for the last time. Except that with the pet, its over quickly. With a person, its a slow death. Unpredictable. Will there be pain? Will there be confusion? Will there be shaking? Drool? Puke? All of the above?

My mom was here at hospice when I got here. My brother came later. I signed some stuff. Went over medical histories. Confirmed that there would be no more dialysis treatments. Stayed for a while and made sure that he was as comfortable as he could be, then drove home to pick up migraine pills at my local pharmacy and pack up some stuff for a few days.

When I got back to the hospice, mom, her boyfriend and my brother were going through pictures of my grandmother for the memorial service. I joined in. It was so unreal, sitting there in the hospice "living room" pulling pictures of my dead grandmother out of the photo album and making sure that my dying father was comfortable.

Prof's house is, thankfully, only about 5 minutes away from here. I spent the night with him and came back this morning to be with dad. Dad hasn't opened his eyes all day and is having a little trouble breathing. I've seen a definite decrease in his condition since last night. The nurses have seen a decline since this morning. Its not going to be long. And that's good, because I can only watch this for so much longer before I totally lose my shit.


Janet said...

It's just so much for one person to take. I'm so sorry you're going through all this. I think you did the right thing absolutely with your father. And of course, none of this is your fault. I continue to send kind thoughts your way.

erin said...

I know I keep saying the same thing over and over, but I am so sorry. Please know I'm thinking about you. I'm on vacation (sort of - family wedding) and i checked my reader because you were on my mind. I'm sorry this is the hardest week, your grandma was pretty damn intuitive and so sweet to worry about you. I have no doubt she's with you now. I'm going to send some reiki energy to you... It works on the emotional as well as the physical. Hang in there.

Pegkitty from Pittsburgh said...

You don't know me, but I read Erin's blog and she sent me over to throw some internet-support your way. I can't believe what an awful time you are going through. {{hugs}} from Pittsburgh, PA.

As far as McDonald's - it's probably good that you ate there, since you didn't like it anyway - you wouldn't want to remember a particular Starbucks as the one you went to to plan your Momom's funeral.

Hang in there. Everyone has rough times (not as rough as yours, maybe...). The fact that you can even put together articulate thoughts at this point means you're doing all right, probably better than you think you are. You'll get through this.

Jen said...

I'm so sorry for everything you are going through. Most people have the time to grieve for one person at a time. I'm sorry you are not getting that time to process before being thrown into it again. I cannot even imagine how difficult this would be. I know you don't know me but I'll be thinking about you.

wenders said...

sending you pink light... found you via three blind moose... hang in there. I am sorry, too.

Anonymous said...

I'm here via Erin's blog, too, and just wanted to let you know how sorry I am for what you and your family are going through. The words of a stranger are small (if any) comfort, I'm sure, but know that people are thinking of you. I am thinking of you.

Unknown said...

I'm a friend of Erin's also and couldn't help but let you know I'm thinking about you. I went through a similar situation with my mom a year ago and it is never easy. And it is never easy to be the decision maker either. It might feel like you are, for lack of a better descriptor, walking through pudding right now, but hang in there. At some point the happy memories will bring you back to life. Sending you hugs.

Miss OverThinker said...

thinking of you.. worried about you.. stay strong.. hugs..