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    RAYLINSTEPHENS   189,562
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Hospice came today... a little long but now you can understand.


Friday, May 20, 2011

7 years ago on Jan 1, 2004 my mother left this world and I inherited my father. His health was poor as he was barely healed from a total Colectomy - removal of the entire colon - due to excessive diverticulitis and the fear was if even one bleeder was left my dad could have bled to death. He almost died twice the same month, once from a bleeding ulcer that had to be cauterized with a scope passed down through his throat - I later learned this almost never works and the surgeon has to watch as the patient bleeds to death!

I promised him then that if he wanted to live I would give him his best shot at life but if not, there was no way for me to eat and breathe for him. The choice would always be his. When I saved his life for the above cauterization, he told me he had been ready to go and I told him, "oops." This became our favorite word - every time he said he was ready I said, "oops."

June 2004 he had a stent put in and it was the first time he could remember no chest pain! August 2004 he had his first knee replacement and the 2nd in November 2004 and for the first time he could stand on his legs without pain. September 2004 I took him to Sleep Study for his Sleep Apnea and he was issued a CPAP machine but they also discovered a severe heart malfunction which led to his having a defibrillator/pacemaker installed In December 2004. 7 times he was hospitalized in 2004. He is a retired baker and I started calling him the Bionic Baker!

On his birthday, Feb 12, 2009 he took his first Dialysis treatment - again, his choice. He had told me he would not do dialysis and then told the doctor he'd try. He underwent 3 surgeries for his Fistula ( a vein & artery are joined for the dialysis ) and the first was into an occluded vein and had to be 'uninstalled' and put into the other arm - it grew back and had to be removed a 2nd time! 3 surgeries for one Fistula!

For anyone reading this and not understanding. For anyone thinking my father is giving up. I never knew my father had this in him - he is not a quitter. He has suffered more pain than I can understand because no one knows the pain of anyone else. The doctors have to be worried about addiction so my dad is in constant pain and cannot sleep at night because the medications only work for a limited time.

Hospice came today. The RN treated my dad like an intelligent human being and understood his pain! She slowly explained how Hospice will provide all his medications and will accept the medicare as full payment! They will give him as much pain relief as he needs. He will be given sleeping pills that graduate in strength so he can sleep at night. He can sleep in his own bed - he doesn't have to use a hospital bed!! They are even going to bring him a muscle relaxer to help relax the muscles around the area of his neck causing constant pain to him. Relief will be immediate because he will not have to ring for a nurse - only tell me or whoever is with him that he has pain.

We found out his defibrillator/pacemaker can be turned off!

He is visibly more relaxed after knowing he will be allowed to stop most of his medicines, only keeping those that will give him quality of life - like his Altzheimers medicine and medicines for pain relief and those for his stomach.

He has about one month left to him, with maybe 1-2 weeks being cognizant. He will get much attention this coming week while he is able to know who is with him. Then we will get the hospital bed and do whatever is necessary for the last weeks of his life here on earth.

Your prayers and well wishes are always welcome - he is ready to go home to be with my mother now and I am going make his journey as comfortable as possible.

Bless you all!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANNIEONLI 5/23/2011 9:17PM

    You are amazing....and your dad is amazing.

Many prayers and thoughts in the upcoming weeks...to give peace to a man who has lived a wonderful life and to give strength to a wonderful daughter who has stood by him all these years.
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MAWDOT35 5/22/2011 3:53PM

    My heart aches for you having to go through this. It is not easy watching your Dad die, and I speak from experience. May God be merciful to him through this ordeal and may He strengthen you as you care for your Dad.

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MILLIE5522 5/22/2011 12:47PM

    My heart goes out to you. I lost my lovely dad just 4 months ago. His wonderful smile is still with me and eventhough I feel sad I know that I would not have wanted him to suffer any longer. Much love xxxxx

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BAM-MA 5/22/2011 11:56AM

    You are handling this admirably. Make him as comfortable as possible and cherish any of those little moments that you have. Lock them away in your heart. When he is gone, you will need them.

Be strong for him, but take care of yourself too. Our thoughts and prayers are with you!


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DINGALLSTOO 5/22/2011 11:22AM

    it's a tough thing to do, but so worth it when it's your loved one (((hugs)))

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COOKWITHME65 5/22/2011 10:51AM

    I fully understand. Your father is very fortunate to have you and vs. versa. This can be an exhausting time. Please try to take care of yourself. Nap when he naps etc....

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LINDAKAY228 5/22/2011 8:41AM

    I went through similar things with my mom. The last 4 weeks we had hospice for her. They were so awesome. Like your dad, my mom was not a quitter but she was ready to go and be with her Lord and my stepfather. It was difficult for me but because she was at peace with it and we had many talks over the years I was at peace with it too. I had seen how much pain she had been through due to heart failure and severe osteoporosis and arthritis. She was in constant pain. Hospice showed me how to give her the pain meds and I was with her until she passed away peacefully. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you too make this journey. Giving him his choices is truly a wonderful gift you can give to him. He's so blessed to have you.

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MIZCATHI 5/22/2011 8:31AM

    As you describe here, your father is so fortunate to have a daughter he loves and trusts. And you know this is his choice. Hospice is a wonderful organization and will ease your father's pain he has endured for so many years. You will find some comfort in the coming weeks as he passes, knowing he is returning to your Mother and Maker and will be free of the struggle of hope and survival. You are much loved and love, and there is no greater gift than that. Peace.

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MSLZZY 5/21/2011 10:59PM

    Tough choices have been made. Prayers for you and Dad-hugs!

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GRALLEN 5/21/2011 10:29PM

    Oh darling, my prayers are with you and your father.

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2PONDS 5/21/2011 10:13PM

    MY THOUGHTS & PRAYERS ARE SENT FOR YOU & YOUR DAD!! emoticon
Dee

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CLEVERSPIDER 5/21/2011 7:19PM

    sorry to hear you are going through a tough time.

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KINSBAILE 5/21/2011 3:01PM

    Well you're an angel and brave soul. I don't know if I could have done what you've been doing in regards to your dad. He's not a quitter at all! He's just ready. When you're ready that's it. The decision has been made. I am glad hospice is there to help support your dad in his choice.

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JERSEYGIRL24 5/21/2011 1:28PM

    My thoughts will continue to be with you.

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FELICIARN 5/21/2011 12:09PM

    Oh Linda; my Dad told me today that your Dad is now on hospice care. We all know that he is not a quitter as he would never ever lasted this long with all of his ailments. He has been a fighter every step of the way. It is apparent to all that your love and care has kept him going too. It is wonderful that he was able to make an informed decision to do this and that you are supportive. You are both very strong people. The coming weeks will be difficult; but when you know you are honoring your fathers wishes it will help you through. I am here for you if you need me. I know my parents respect you alot for the way you have taken care of your Dad. He is especially dear to them; as was your Mom. We are all very proud of you.
Love always,
Felicia

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CHRYS13 5/21/2011 11:08AM

    "I hold you by your right hand---I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, 'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you.'"
Isaiah 41:13

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ANNASBF 5/21/2011 10:45AM

    I am so glad you have chosen to include Hospice in your life. I can't say enough about how their caring... for the whole family.... is just a godsend. He is quite a fighter and I'm sure you admire... and perhaps have inherited... some of that lust for life. I am so glad you are accepting of his choices... all of them... and are leading from the heart in an unselfish way to give him what he needs and wants. This is such a difficult time but I am so thankful to hear such a life affirming account of a daughter who loves and cares for her father... and family. May you find peace knowing these things. All my best to you.

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LIBBYFITZ 5/21/2011 10:37AM

    I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Your dad has certainly been through a lot. I am a nurse and am amazed that he is still alive now. He certainly has given life here on earth his best shot, and he has you to thank for being there for him. It must be very uplifting to have your father "with it" enough to make those decisions. May the next few weeks be as pain free as possible for your dad. emoticon to you .

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OLDERDANDRT 5/21/2011 10:16AM

    Prayers for strength, dear. You are a fabulous daughter and I know your dad appreciates that fact. emoticon emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 5/21/2011 9:02AM

    First of all, you are wonderful; your respect for your father and his choices is obvious, and your sharing this here is a gift to everyone who hasn't yet had to make some of these choices. I don't think your father is a quitter at all. We are mortal beings, and there comes a time when we need to let go of this life... if we get to choose whether to have life extending procedures that lead to longevity, but loss of quality of life, or letting go of life in favor of quality of life, it is a gift. You have offered your father respect in his choice. My father was also a very strong man, a fighter for his health, but there was a time at which he knew that continued medical intervention would only make him more sick and more tired without hope of recovery. Hospice was wonderful, and Dad was able to die on his own terms in his own home with his family around him. THAT to me is bravery.

I know, though, that none of this is easy for either of you. Sending my love and support,

Chris

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GERMANIRISHGIRL 5/21/2011 7:38AM

    Oh Linda I am so sorry. Please know you and your family are in our prayers. Try to find something to celebrate every day you have with your dad. emoticon

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NITA-BERRY 5/21/2011 12:22AM

    I have to hand it to you Girl. You're one tough, but Golden Cookie. You're a blessing and example of how to "love in sickness and in health". May you know that you are cherished, may your memories be loving, and may you know that your reward is great. And I will remember you and your dad in prayer.

God bless.


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JILL313 5/20/2011 11:51PM

    You are an Angel to your Dad, and I can only imagine how hard this has been on both of you...God Bless you and your Dad. He has had a lot of pain in his last few years and I'm so glad, thanks to Hospice, he is pretty much pain free. He will soon join your dear Mother in Heaven and I'm sure that's where we wants to be. Take care of yourself as I know being a caretaker is really hard on you. God bless you all as your DD transitions into being with the Lord.

Hugs & Blessings,

Jill

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DIANESMILES 5/20/2011 11:51PM

    Sweet Linda, right now the pain is so raw while you under to this. In time when U look back, it won't be so hard. I hope at that point, you will be able to see how tender and sweet it really has been. If you can make a "memory box" or box of the things your Dad says during these short days, I'd do so. Its something you will have forever. Remember hon, I am also going through this ,,,with my Mum, only I can't bring myself to ask my Dad how much longer. He contacted hospice right off. I just can't handle it. May peace be with you and ur Dad.

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BLUESKY104 5/20/2011 11:26PM

    Linda, what a wonderful, loving person you are. May your Dad's transition to the next phase be as pain free as possible. emoticon and prayers for you and him
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LIZABETT 5/20/2011 10:52PM

    "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." ---Psalm 46:1


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MEADSBAY 5/20/2011 10:47PM

    What an honor and privilege it is to help someone through this last phase of their life.
I have been there.
You will remember it forever.
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BRIGHTSPARK7 5/20/2011 10:44PM

    So much dignity and respect for your Dad's transition. I appreciate the loving kind way you have supported him these past years. He has faced so many challenges with you at his side. Sending you blessings for peace and love through the coming weeks. I hope he's comfortable and that his pain is eased.

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MARYANNGI 5/20/2011 10:30PM

    Your dad sounds like a wonderful and strong man. I commend both of you for your journey these past years. These last few weeks will be long remembered by you and the peace he has been given during this time is priceless.

You and your dad are in my thoughts and prayers.
emoticon MaryAnn emoticon

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MNABOY 5/20/2011 10:28PM

    You and your family are in my prayer.

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DEBSZOO74 5/20/2011 10:22PM

    You seem like a very strong person, and are such a wonderful daughter! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your father. emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 5/20/2011 9:57PM

    Such kindness and respect: you can take great pride in having provided a fine quality of life for your father right to the end. All best!

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COLUMBINE2 5/20/2011 9:38PM

    Linda,
You have been an exemplary daughter and your dad is very lucky! I can't commend Hospice highly enough. My greatest anguish is that people wait until the very end to avail themselves of the wonderful care available through Hospice which was available much sooner.

Both my parents received Hospice care and their lives were touched profoundly by the nurturing of the volunteers and staff. I was also blessed by their support, explanations and understanding. It was truly a godsend to me.

I was blessed to be with my parents as they made the next transition and I treasure that experience deep in my heart. Yes, it was very sad, and it was also a great privilege and honor for me. I hope for you and your dad a similar experience. You have given your dad many more good years than he dreamed of having. You are a loving, devoted daughter. My warmest thoughts go to you.

Comment edited on: 5/20/2011 9:39:22 PM

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JUST-AMY 5/20/2011 9:12PM

    May you enjoy these last days with your dad as you give him such a loving send-off back to your mom, his bride, and may the Eternal Care Unit. May God be near, may precious memories abound, and truly--you are a prize of a daughter. I am going to remember this precious blog when I face the same circumstances in my mother's final days when they come.

Bless you!

Amy

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2PONDS 5/20/2011 9:06PM

    Linda, My prayers are with your Dad & You. His final journey will be pain free with Hospice (as it was for my Dad's) but your pain there is no medication ,only your faith in God & knowing your Dad will be with his beloved Wife & other loved ones that went before him. My heart breaks for you & your family. emoticon
Dee

Comment edited on: 5/20/2011 9:07:24 PM

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3IN4YO 5/20/2011 8:57PM

    Prayers and thoughts coming your way.

I understand, remembering my father's journey home in Dec. 2009.

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BESTSUSIEYET 5/20/2011 8:43PM

    Dear Linda, you have been blessed to be able to support your Father these past 7 years, and I know you have been a blessing to your father! the coming weeks will bring blessings even amid the sadness -- one of them being the peace of knowing your father hasn't been alone. I walked with both my parents through very difficult final years, and know how much help hospice was. Home care doesn't work for every family, but it sounds like you have been able to walk that difficult road. God bless you & your family!

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FAIRYDANCER1 5/20/2011 8:34PM

    What an amazing journey you have undergone. I admire the person that you are Linda. Enjoy these last days with your dad, his journey is almost complete.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 5/20/2011 8:31PM

    BLESS YOU! You are a good daughter. You & your father are in my prayers. emoticon emoticon

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SUSIEPH1 5/20/2011 8:17PM

    Oh Linda! My heart bleeds for you and your Dad..
You are both so very bravely facing these last few weeks together!,
It really shows the love between you ..
My Love, Support( if you need to vent) and Prayers are with you both ...
Love and Hugs Susie emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 5/20/2011 8:15PM

    He is very, very blessed to have you, Linda. I admire what you are doing so much. Please do your best to take reasonable care of yourself, too, during this very precious, but difficult time. Hospice was wonderful support for me, my dad, and our whole family during my dad's last days. Glad you are not alone.

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ITS_MY_TURN_NOW 5/20/2011 8:12PM

    My prayers will be with you and your family. Take care.
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Julee

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GRANDMACOO 5/20/2011 8:01PM

    Hospice is a wonderful addition to the care you give your Dad as he gets ready to make his final journey. Keeping him comfortable in his final days is so important, not only to him, but to you. God be with you and him. I will be praying for the both of you.

HUGS coming your way....

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FORMYDARLINGS 5/20/2011 7:50PM

    This was a beautiful blog, linda. IIt told me of you and your father's relationship. I am so glad there is hospice. I am so glad you are on board and he is ready. My own mom is 82 and will start radiation treatment within the month. I will be by her side and will remember what you wrote when there is a chance for me to stand by her and her decisions. Thank you and I am sending love and blessings your way. emoticon

Love Gini

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MISSM66 5/20/2011 7:48PM

    Bless your heart,I use to work with Hospice for 11 years,and love it very much so many patient Died in my arms,just reading your Blog I feel Like I am a part of your Dad Nurse,because Hospice nurse are Special, they have Patients with there patient,they are caring and as you say they Treat there patient like Human being,I only stop working with Hospice because I get Married and my Husband don't want me to work,your dad is in Good hands,take care of your self and I will keep you and your family in my Prayers. emoticon emoticon

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 5/20/2011 7:24PM

    As I said in response to your blog yesterday...I am totally with you on your dad's decision. May his last days be as pain-free as possible and be lived with as much dignity as possible. He deserves to make the choice he has made and you both deserve the support of those around you.
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Kay

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BARNABABY1 5/20/2011 7:13PM

    Your father is so lucky to have you by his side! You are a true Angel! You have all of my love and support.... emoticon

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SPLASH1105 5/20/2011 7:06PM

    You and your dad are in my prayers. Hospice workers are amazing. I'm glad your dad is able to have them.

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REBARUTH55 5/20/2011 6:07PM

    Our experience with hospice has been very good. Holding you up in prayer as you continue to care for your father in the coming weeks. Blessings to you and your family.

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JLPEASE 5/20/2011 5:52PM

    Bless you for being such a compassionate and loving person. This cannot be easy for either of you. My thoughts and prayers are with you.


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