Saying good bye: Take II

I went up to visit dad again tonight … I got out of school late, and had to run to the bank and dry cleaners … I ended up missing my mom by about a half an hour.

When I arrived, I noticed that dad looked better … his vitals were stronger, and that he had no oxygen mask on.  His breathing seemed a little easier, and he was asleep.

I sat down and started grading, and was a little surprised when he woke up and turned his head to see me … he looked very surprised, and started talking.  His speech was very difficult to make out, but after a while I get better at interpreting it.

As he turned his eyes, I could see the strong yellow color to his sclera.  When the nurse came into help turn him, he was able to grab my hand with more strength than I thought he would have.  We talked about school and sports.  After an hour, he seemed tired (he said he had gotten little sleep last night … I recall that being the case when I was in the hospital for my finger).  I told him I would be back on Sunday, and that he looked a lot better.

Of course, this is a bit of window dressing.  Earlier in the day, my mother had been in, and happened to run into his palliative care nurse.  The nurse took my mom aside and wanted to confirm that she was aware of the full extent of my dad’s condition, and what plans she had for him.  When my mom talked about eventually getting into a long term alcohol rehab facility, the nurse told her that there was no point in planning for that.  His kidneys are getting worse, and they have no detected a blood clot near his liver.  In short, the number of problems continues to go up, and the chances of taking care of all of them is getting much less.

I have already discussed with my mom that I fully endorse taking steps necessary to reduce his suffering.

As I suspected today, his memory and some of his higher brain functions are still intact … which means he is pretty much aware of what is going on.  On the other hand, he spent five minutes trying to dial the TV remote control, and was confused when he put it to his ear to talk to someone (I never fully got who he was trying to call, or why he wouldn’t listen to me, but understood what was happening when the nurse finally told him).  It appears that his pain is pretty much under control, but at least some of his last time is going to be spent reflecting on how he got there with communication severely impaired.

At least I got to have a few words with dad … that’s better than my last memory being last night.


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