Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Facing a Painful Reality

Unlike the kitty in the picture, I've had to face up to the reality of what is happenin' now with my father, and what may happen in the future. 

My father is a DNR, also known as a Do Not Resuscitate.  This is his desire.  He does not want to be hooked up to machines keepin' the blood pumpin', the air goin' in/out of his lungs.  He doesn't want Life artificially maintained like that. 

I've come to find that sometimes there is a fine line between prolonging life, and medically required treatment.  Blood transfusions, the bi - pap machine, the feedin' tubes, all these are considered by myself and the doctors to be medically required treatment, much the same as the IVs o keep him hydrated, the medications to make him better, and the therapies to keep his muscles in tone and to try to help him communicate. 

Treatments such as dialysis and intubation have been discussed between the doctor and the nurses caring for him and myself.  As daddy's power of attorney, that is my duty to him.  It means giving approval to things like the transfusions and etc.  Sometimes I have to wonder if a certain treatment is 'medically necessary' and have turned to the family for guidance. 

This morning, I received a call from a family member who has been very helpful in keepin' the rest of my father's family in the know about his situation.  She's also the one I've been turnin' to when I've not been certain what to do. 

And this is where we differ in opinion.  I see Daddy each day, sometimes for a short bit, sometimes for a longer period.  Seein' him loose ground hurts a lot.  It also hurts to have to make these decisions for him, and hope that I'm doin' the best.

This family member means well.  She is in daily telephone contact with the nurses on Daddy's floor.  But, she refuses to accept that there could be a possibility that Daddy won't come out of this the way we want. 

I applaud her for not wantin' to give up hope.  I wish I could be as stubborn. Gawd knows stubborn runs on both sides of the family, and yours truly got more than her fair share of it! 

But I'm also realistic enough to face facts, even the ones that hurt.   I see my father slowly losin' more and more ground, and know that the chances are great that he will not pull through this one.  Writin' that out and speakin' it are one thing, whether I'll accept it when the time comes is a different thing.  Note, 'if' didn't enter into this equation.  'If', for me, is less than a definite than 'when'.  

The family member believes that I'm wrong to decline the intubation.  That means havin' a machine force Daddy to breathe.  The bi - pap assists the breathin'.  Daddy doesn't want to be hooked to a machine that an intubation would require, I respect and honor that wish.  I spoke with the nurse assigned to him today at some length on this issue.   She told me that once a person in my father's condition go on intubation, they don't get off of it.   It would not be a 'temporary/medically necessary' process.  

Dialysis has apparently been taken off the table at this time.  Again, there is the possibility that he might not survive the process.  Not everyone who is on dialysis has to be on it permanently.  Again, there is Daddy's weakened condition to consider.  While it sounds good to have his system flushed of toxins, which dialysis would do, in the long run, it has the potential to do more than good for him. 

I allowed the family member to vent; to say what she felt should be done for my father/her brother.  I let her say her piece even though each word tore through me like a hot knife through butter.  Once the call ended, I felt like my soul had gone through a spinner/shredder.  

She mean well.  She loves my father.  She loves me.  She wants to help and has helped.  She's just not yet come to that point where the reality of the situation has smacked her upside the head like it has done to me.  It's probable that it's gonna hit her hard when she comes up to see him this weekend.  

I'm quietly encouragin' the family members to come see him.  I don't wanna scare him into thinkin' they're doin' the 'better come see him while he's alive!' thing.  Other than the DH and me, he hasn't had visitors.  Fresh faces might be a good thing.  So the Hoosier area family and my truck drivin' step brother have been contacted.  

In the meantime, I've started to look into the work policies on bereavement time and FMLA time for after; workin' on the 'in memoriam' to be published in the annual conference report when the event takes place (Daddy gave that job/honor to me several years ago after I wrote the script for the slide show retrospective for his retirement reception); tryin' to determine the best way to handle things for my step - mother, who suffers from Altzheimer's and whether she'll understand that her husband has gone on Home ahead of her (again, when the time comes);  and writin' up somethin' to share (should such an opportunity come up) at his service - providin' I don't fall to pieces before hand. 

I'd like to hope and believe that all this preparation is not gonna be necessary.  Unfortunately, I'm afraid it will be.  At this point, while I don't believe Daddy's on Death's door, it's on the horizon and seems to be inchin' closer.  

To some people, this epistle might come off as me bein' a cold hearted bitch for refusin' to believe anything but that he'll get better.  Well, everyone's entitled to an opinion.  




Blogger Ms. S. said...

You did not come off as cold hearted to me in any way, shape or form.

As hard as what you're doing is, it's what you feel is right for your father. And to me it seems like you're following his wishes being he signed the DNR.

That said I know this is the hardest thing for you and for that I'm sorry. Know that you're doing all you can.

Keep your head up Sweetheart.

May 3, 2012 at 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Michele aka Schelly said...

Lowecat, I know your having a rough time now. I've been there trying to take care of mother-in-law, raise our daughter, work, trying to help my husband to look at the brighter side instead of going automatically to the grim. I gave her the physical care she required, things nurses are trained to do & most people wouldn't for their own blood. This lasted 8 months before her doctors informed us she needed to be put into a facility because she needed much more care than we could provide. I felt relieved & then guilty for the relief. All the emotions & the knowledge that we had of her condition made us feel more confusion than comfort. She was actually content because she was going to her hometown to her nursing home,which she had been a nurse at, & to be closer to her church family. She went on dialysis & other therapies in the 3 years before her heart couldn't take any more stress. She was 59 years old & my husband was devastated. The odd thing is she was as content as she could be under the circumstances. We just went through this again with my grandmother; but, she refused any care that would take her from her home. She was 90 & my mom did all she could for Nanny & followed her wishes on her care. Once you know your loved ones wishes about their care, as hard as it is, we have to love them enough to make sure they have their wishes fulfilled. You are respecting your father & that respect & your love for him will hopefully keep you strong when he needs you most. Try to think positive & know that others out there have been there & can offer support to you. I will be praying for you,DH,& the rest of your family. God Bless. Michele "Schelly" Rowell

May 4, 2012 at 1:10 AM  
Anonymous janak said...

These decisions are difficult... and everyone will have a different decision... based on the facts they know.

It is easy to describe how he looks, and how he is doing. It is hard to understand....Hopefully her visit this weekend will help her understand.

You are preparing for the inevitable...It is hard.. Hang in there.. it will get worse. Take care of yourself.... and know that you have many friends praying for all three of you... you, your dad and DH.

May 4, 2012 at 6:52 AM  

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