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Topics - Lastleafgreen

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Parent Loss / Losing Dad by inches
« on: January 15, 2019, 08:26:12 PM »
I've been at the hospital for hours every day for eight days straight. It wears on you. What's wearing on me today is that we've had to make some serious decisions with our mom.

Dad was diagnosed with colon cancer in April. We really thought he had a great chance to beat it. But one thing after another happened. Even up till Christmas we thought he just needed stronger chemo. He'd been complaining of belly pain for months but nothing was being done. Then after new year he declined rapidly. Mom took him to the emergency and they switched him to short care. He had a severe C-diff infection. Again, we thought antibiotics and he'd be home. Unfortunately the second day in short stay his bowl ruptured and he was taken in for emergency surgery. He survived, but was in SICU. We found out he was riddled with tumors that were under a centimeter and thus didn't show up on scans. Then he survived another surgery to close his stomach, but further chemo treatment was no longer possible. That was on Thursday night. It's been going on six days and he hasn't woken up.

When they try he doesn't follow commands or make eye contact. They've run a battery of tests and nothing seems wrong with his brain. I learned about ICU delirium today. I've learned a whole slew of medical terms in the last weeks.

Dad never, ever, wanted to be hooked up to a ventilator and in a coma for a long period of time. So for the past two days we've been discussing a Do not resuscitate order. That got put into effect last night. Today however, we had to start talking about when would be the right point to switch to comfort care instead of maintenance.

I try to focus on what my dad would want. I remind myself of all the things I am grateful for. That I always told him I loved him every time we talked. That I hugged him whenever we saw each other. That my mother, brother, sister, and I have become this phalanx of will and support for each other and him. He would be so proud of us. But it's still hard.

I find myself sometimes angry with him for not fighting harder. I wish I could will him into opening his eyes and recognizing the world again. But I know it's a selfish desire. My father is not going to see February. If he sees the end of the week it would be a minor miracle. I kind of hope he's already gone in spirit. Then maybe this whole stay in the hospital won't be something he takes with him. Maybe then when we're forced to make the decision to remove life support we'll just be putting a body to rest and not killing our dad.

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