It was a day for locking down Pop’s wishes. Palliative Care – a new term in my lexicon – is that part of medical practice which deals with the end of life. Pop made his wishes known when his last will was written, and today, the hospital medical team took them as their own.
At mid-morning, Pop was given morphine and Ativan to relieve the pain / discomfort of working so hard to draw each breath. They backed off on his fluid intake so his lungs wouldn’t fill. His feeding tube was removed because everything going in was being aspirated (going down the wrong pipe).
As with physics, in medicine every such action taken for positive reasons seems to carry with it an equal and opposite consequence. I’ll choose not to describe them here. Suffice to say that Pop is being made as medically comfortable as possible without extending his life.
By lunchtime, the course was set. So, I headed for Piedmont Place and a heart-to-heart chat with Mom. She is aware that things aren’t going well with Pop, so nothing I told her was a surprise. Nevertheless, this is never good news to receive. Mom claimed to be at peace, but anxiety belied that assertion later in the evening when she claimed to have had an extremely high blood pressure reading. In fact, her BP was perfectly normal. I hope Mom is able to rest through the night. Her body needs it.
We siblings and spouses teleconferenced for about an hour and planned many of the action items we know are coming. Was anybody crying? No. Was anybody laughing (even as I sat right next to our dying father in the hospital)? Yes. Are we weird or something? Maybe. Lisa says we are, anyway. When her mom died three years ago this month, everything about the experience was different. I guess everybody and every family handles these things differently. We siblings don’t mean any disrespect; we’re just coping the best we can.
The hospital is being pelted by lightning right now. I think I’ll just watch the display of Mother Nature’s might on the left as I watch the display of God’s perfect will on the right.
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