When/How do you know to let a loved one go? That question has been burning my brain for a few weeks.
A few weeks ago, my dad who has Dementia and is 95 was admitted with a brain bleed and heart issues after a fall.
Because of Covid protocol only one visitor, one hour per day could go in. The floor he was on was under Covid protocol so no one was allowed to go visit for 10 -14 days. Fast forward – during this time he deteriorated very quickly – had to restrain him as he kept wanting to leave to go home. By the end of last week – 5 days into quarantine- he refused to eat or drink – now other health issues started to come into play. Last Monday we got the call that he wasn’t doing well and they would try everything they could. But his refusal to eat was the main issue. Last Wednesday we got another call that his kidneys were shutting down – had blot clots all over, brain bleed was back and his heart was failing. At his age an operation on his heart was not a great idea, he isn’t strong enough. We decide to put him in palliative care and make him as comfortable as possible till the end comes – which could happen quickly or he could hold on. But now we can actually go see him. I wasn’t sure what to expect but he looked much better than I thought he would, considering what he is going through – he’s so out of it that he was asleep the whole time and barely moves. No matter how prepared you are it is still hard to see a loved one in that condition. My hope is that he doesn’t suffer and the end is quick for him.
I feel blessed to have had so much time with him, his stories, having his grandkids around him and getting close with him. He has lived a great life – he is kindest man, who would help and do anything for anyone and never asked for anything in return. He didn’t have much but didn’t need or want much – he just wanted family around – that was his happiness especially these last few years – he never wanted fancy presents only a dinner with everyone. His mind didn’t start going until 16 months ago – his memory came and went in this time – lately mostly gone but he was happy – calling my mom – which he didn’t recognize most days – his cleaning lady, his cook, his driver whatever came to mind and he told her he was happy she was there to look after him.
Sitting beside his bedside last Friday – does he really know I’m here- I have to tell myself that I’m sure he knows – yesterday when they moved him from cardiac to palliative he looked at me and nodded when I told him my sister was waiting to see him and that I’d be back. Today he didn’t even look my way or anything when I came in – I told him I was here , but nothing my mom and sister were here before me and said he was responsive with them. His eyes are mostly closed with labouring breathes. I think I’m all cried out but I’m sure I’ll break down a few more times.
These last 2 weeks have been hell on my dad and I know I’m my heart this is not what he would have wanted – being stuck in a hospital with no visitors- not knowing why you can’t go home – being restrained because you want to go home. This will forever haunt me – how terrified he must have felt and so alone. But then again would he even remember us not being there – so many conflicts swirling inside my head.
I always hoped that he’d just go to sleep one day and not wake up. That was my hope but alas we are now on this roller coaster and with COVID factored in – it’s a whole other game. I think I’d we could have seen him more and helped feed him etc maybe things could have been different. But again I could be delusional- he’s 95 with dementia- things were getting pretty hard for us. We would have had to put him in a home which I think would have been worse – this was ultimately gods plan.
I just hope he’s at peace and knows that we are all there for him and love him deeply. There is not much we can do now but wait.
After putting this post in my drafts last Friday afternoon – I got a call at 7 pm from my sister saying dad had passed – i was happy that she was there with him when he passed but did/do feel guilty about not being there as well with him. I hope he wasn’t angry with us for not being able to see him or be with him for so many days – when the floor went into lockdown.