Sunday, August 7, 2016

How to prepare...

I am sitting in The Christopher House with my dad. This house is a non-profit facility for Hospice patients. My how things have changed over the last few weeks.

My dad kept feeling that something wasn't right.  Every day it seemed like something new was bothering him. He landed in the Emergency Room a few times, sent home both times with no information, then back in the hospital, only to find out he had blood clots in his lungs. Not just blood clots... blood clots as a result of Lung Cancer.  Not just Lung Cancer, but Type 4 Metastatic that had spread to his liver. No cure. No surgery.

The next few days he actually seemed to rally a bit.  He got fluids, some pain meds, and actually started eating pretty well.  We're actually feeling optimistic.  His oncologist said he was a great candidate for chemo, and not the dreaded chemo that makes you crazy sick and lose your hair. He said he would do fine and have hardly any side effects.  It seemed like everything moved in slow motion though. Doctors, more doctors, chemo teach, and finally he gets the port for his chemo.  Port on Monday, start chemo the following Thursday.

Not so fast. Sunday after the placed my dad woke up extremely agitated and confused.  He was in so much pain in his side and back.  He was hot and cold.  He wanted to walk, but yet it hurt to walk. For 72 hours this goes on.  He doesn't sleep and he hardly eats.  He is weak, exhausted and confused.

We head back to the oncologist who then says he is is in no shape for chemo at this point. How in the world did we get here so fast? We tell him we are no longer able to care for him alone and we need help.  He has to decide... does he want to be comfortable and out of pain, or stay the course and see if he can rally enough to maybe get treatment.  He chooses comfort and rest and we agree.  It's not a choice to give up, but a choice to avoid as much suffering as possible.

Each day he slips away more and more from us.  I am anxious for him to be free of this pain and suffering, however, I know what that freedom means.  It means he is free from this body, the one who has is failing.  Free from my sight, but never free from my heart.

I am thankful for this time, even if I just sit and listen to him snoring.  Someday, all too soon, I will miss that snore.