Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Turning Point

I sensed something was different when my mother and I arrived at the hospital today.  The nurses seemed more pensive, their behavior more formal.  My father's lunch tray was by his side, untouched.  We learned he hadn't been awake since the middle of night.  Although his brow was knitted in pain, and he kept trying to remove his hospital gown, we couldn't get him to open his eyes long enough to focus on us.  Per the nurse's recommendation I called the doctor who advised we start in-hospital hospice.  My mother, who still wanted to believe he was going to get better, took an honest look at my father, and without hesitation agreed it was time to manage his pain, not his illness.  I was incredibly proud of her courage, and ability to accept the truth, my father was dying.

At 6pm his antibiotic drip was replaced with morphine.  We held his hand, which was still strong and warm.  "Happy Hospice Dad."  It may seem strange, but I was happy for him.  He had made a choice, which my family unanimously endorsed.  My mother said, "it's the beginning of the end."  Or the beginning of the beginning.  I was incredibly grateful to the hospital staff for the effortless transition.  We didn't have to move him to another floor, facility or home.  The testing, probing and blood work which had left his skin bruised and fragile was over.  We were comforted by one of his favorite techs who was on staff all day.  At 730 pm, when her shift was over, she asked if she could kiss him goodbye.  She started vacation tomorrow, and she knew she wouldn't see him again.  Although a whisper of the man he had been in life, she was still able to see the man he had been before his illness.  She always treated him with respect even when the situations were humiliating.  She listened to his stories, and comforted him when he struggled.  I sobbed when she leaned over to kiss his cheek.  Her goodbye endorsed the finality of our circumstances.

1 comment:

  1. OMG, MG. These last two sentences made me burst out in tears just now.

    I love you.