I’m going to start supporting them with hate, disrespect, impatience, and stupidity, so I’m marking this as done. 3 months ago
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because my dad was so weak and nauseated. He hasn’t been able to eat much lately. I’ll see them tomorrow and will get a better read on how he’s doing. He sounded awful on the phone: slurred voice, shaky, could only stay on a few minutes.
My mother is getting more and more sharp with him as he forgets things. He’s an old man, dying, and on morphine. I wish my mother would express her (life-long) rage in some way that doesn’t land on him. Not only would it be kinder, it might allow her to access her other emotions, which right now seem to be blocked behind the anger. Of course, she thinks she isn’t angry at all. Oy. My sister is really upset about it and I’m trying to keep myself healthy, love on my dad as often as I can without exhausting him, and avoid my mother if I think I can’t hold my tongue.
Let’s put it this way. I learned to be a bitch from the best. 12 months ago
that I write out a vitriolic rant about my mother. I did that and now feel more able to support her. It felt AMAZING to really let it fly – all the rage, hate, and judgment. Very cleansing. I know how she and my father handle their business is none of mine AND I know it’s smart to honor my emotions instead of living in denial and simmering in resentment. I’ve still got more emotional charge to be discharged before I see her again, so I’m continuing to release it in ways that won’t hurt her.
My parents have agreed that visits to them shouldn’t last more than one hour, two for very special occasions. They’ve asked my sister and I to help them enforce that, which is a big step for them. This means I won’t be seeing them every week, as two visits in a week, even short ones, wipe out my poor dad. So if it’s a week where they’ve had another visit, I’ll not see them or just do a ten minute hug and run. 12 months ago
We “celebrated” my dad’s birthday on Sunday and it felt like rubbing it in that he was alive. It was nice to visit with them and my sister made a great meal and my dad loved that his cake said NEED CAKE MONEY on top, but when he blew out the candles, he said, “Now everybody wish I’m not here to do this next year.” When I left, I wished him a happy last birthday. I so hope he gets his wish. 15 months ago
and feet are quite swollen. They’re letting him take the smallest dose of the diuretic he used before for a week, then they’ll take blood to see how his kidneys are handling it. As they fail, he’ll be less able to handle multiple medications. My mom said to me that his systems are failing. For his sake, I hope so. That’s what needs to happen for him to get the release of death for which he’s been praying. Still, it’s hard for all of us to see him uncomfortable.
He had another small fall, too. My sister is quite upset that they won’t get a LifeAlert and get rid of the rug that sticks up or make sure he stays inside when she’s not there. I told her that it’s probably going to take more than one bad fall before they admit they need help. It doesn’t help anything to push them and create bad feelings and distance. I’ve told them I wish they would get a LifeAlert and then I let it go. When he falls a few times, my mom will see that their independence is not more important than keeping him from unnecessary pain. She’s a stubborn bitch, but she loves him and will come around eventually. 17 months ago
in his shoulder, which helped with the pain. Since he doesn’t have to worry about the long-term effects of steroids, he can get one every three months, as needed. They’ve also doubled the amount of morphine he’s taking, so he’s pretty dopey and falls asleep every few minutes. Still, he was as perky as a doped-up dying 85 year old can be when we saw him on Christmas, and in good spirits.
When we left, Little Yes went as if to shake my dad’s hand (Mr. Yes is a stickler for good manners), but then he leaned forward slowly and very gently hugged my dad. It made my dad’s day and was so dear. He also hugged my mom. It’s the first time he’s hugged either one of them. 18 months ago
had a fall this week. It wasn’t bad, as falls go. He was outside and caught himself with his walker.
Part of letting him go is letting him fail, in health and in healing. That’s rough. He wants to go and we want him to have what he wants, but I think we’re all still clinging to the ideal of a painless, effortless death. He’s getting UTIs these days, from the beginning of the kidney failure, and is frailer and frailer. They’re willing to up his morphine, as he’s still in pain, but he refuses. I hate to think of him lying on the cold ground if he fell while my mom was out of the house, but this is his death and I’ll respect his choices. It gives him joy to putter around outside and he has so little to enjoy these days. 18 months ago
want to come for Thanksgiving. My parents are stressed out about it because they’re not up to having a bunch of people at the house and visits for more than an hour are really rough on my dad. My s-i-l is going to call my sister. I told her to be honest: a T-giving celebration is too much for my folks right now. If they want to spend a quiet hour visiting my folks and then go to dinner with my sister and me, great. I hate that my parents are so stressed about this. They don’t want to seem ungrateful or unwelcoming, but they’re struggling and I’m proud of them for admitting it. 20 months ago
because she said she would have been too weepy on the phone. My dad has opted not to treat what looks like metastatic kidney cancer. The urologist was lovely and held his hand as she talked to him. She said kidney failure is not a horrible way to die and they can manage the pain. The doctor said he probably has about a year of life left. I feel so full of sorrow for my parents I don’t feel any for me yet. They’ve loved each other passionately for 60 years and now they’re going to part. I told my mother that I’ll always choose the pain of parting to experience the joy of loving, but it still hurts like hell.
She also sent a separate email to thank me for my loving support and said it means a lot to them. I’m thinking that I will stay in my current job for the next year. It affords me flexibility to visit them and right now that’s way more important than more money or a shorter commute. 20 months ago
my dad can’t handle getting a CT scan, so they’re not going to diagnose the kidney tumor, just treat any pain and urinary blockage problems that it causes. This has to be scary as hell for my folks. Kidney problems are a red flag for general organ shutdown and that’s what we’ve all had our eye out for this whole journey. My godmother has said she’ll talk to them about hospice so my dad doesn’t have to leave the house to get his blood drawn and such. That would be such a blessing.
They’ve revised the will but refused my request to give me .01 more than my sister, just so we can have it on paper that they love me best. Unreasonable creatures. Do they care nothing about who wins the sibling fight for their affection? 21 months ago
tumor of some sort where his kidney meets the ureter and his BUN and creatinine are way off. Now that it’s come to the point where death is a more accessible option, he and my mother are scared to stop fighting for life. So they’re seeing what the treatment options are and will then make a decision to treat or not. In a conversation last week with both of them, I told them that we’re never going to be okay with him dying. That’s too much to expect from ourselves, when we’ve loved each other so long and so well.
I realized that I have been putting some things in my life on hold so that I could be there for my folks when the big decline starts. I’m not going to do that anymore. I am going to live my life full-out and trust myself to do right by the people I love when the time comes. For now, that looks like investigating jobs nearer to my home and making my relationship with Mr. Yes a top priority. It feels right to stop waiting for death and start living my life as I want. 21 months ago
is going to talk to my folks about getting hospice care for my father. They take that sort of thing better from her, as a peer, than from me or my sister. It would be so much easier for him to be treated at home. In addition to the anemia, weight loss, and kidney problems, he has an infection that just isn’t resolving. 21 months ago
may have colon cancer and something’s wrong with his kidneys. They’re going to do an ultrasound on his kidneys, but no colonoscopy. His doctors are very much on board with the fact that he doesn’t want to treat or cure anything. He just wants pain relief. The oncologist even offered him a higher dose of morphine.
These days, he sleeps a lot. Sometimes he falls asleep during meals, which worries my mom. She doesn’t have the strength to lift him up if he falls out of his chair. I think we’re all hoping that the kidney problem is the beginning of an organ shutdown. He so very much wants to leave this life. My mother has told the doctors that the family will miss him but we’ve released him to the process and will let him go at any time. 21 months ago
rattled lately by the death of a peer who seemed very healthy and then died from a brain aneurysm. He kind of feels like A. took his place in line! Then he found out that his best friend had a stroke and was then found to have a growth on his heart that requires at least a cardiac bypass.
When we were there for my mom’s birthday this weekend, my dad fell asleep several times and was pretty shaky. When I went over on Friday, we talked about his death again. My mom said that she’s told him if he really wants to die, he should quit all the meds other than morphine. We discussed how few of us get the death A. got – an instantaneous burst and then gone. I don’t think my dad is ready for the decline that would likely precede his death if he stopped taking meds or stopped eating. Poor man. He’s trapped between life and death and not moving in either direction. I wish he could let go, but it’s his life and his death. 22 months ago
bedsores or open wounds from an infection. He’s in a lot of pain and has been to see the wound care nurse a few times. The HMO has come and put a special mattress pad on the chair where he sleeps. He’s miserable enough that he told my sister he might stop eating. Which is a good sign that he’s untethering himself from a life that is becoming less and less satisfying and more and more painful and exhausting. He’s said several times that he’s ready to die.
BUT, I don’t think he’ll die without my mom’s express permission. While she says she’s told him she’ll be fine, she tackles each new breakdown of his body as a problem to fix so they can go on with their lives. I get that. She loves him and has for most of her life. Not only has she never lived alone, she’s cut off all ties with the world outside their house. She doesn’t see anyone socially, isn’t involved in church, and has no hobbies other than reading. I think his death is going to leave her stunned at how much of her life is about him and how little she has left once he’s gone. Truth be told, I’m much more worried about her than him. I do worry that he’s trying to hold on for her sake.
Nothing I can do, other than help when they’ll let me. I spoke with my godmother and she’ll speak with them, as a peer, about getting palliative care involved now, so he doesn’t have to leave the house to get his healthcare. Leaving the house for one doctor’s appointment wipes him out for a week or so. I’m so glad I see them every Friday, so I can keep track of what’s going on. 23 months ago
had a good conversation about death on Friday. My dad admitted that for all he’s told God he’s ready to die, he doesn’t want to leave my mother. He knows she’ll be well provided for, but he’s been crazy in love with the woman for 60 years and can’t imagine leaving her! My mom, on the other hand, said that she has had such a wonderful life that she would be perfectly satisfied if she died that night. To which my father replied, “Please don’t!”
It makes sense that he doesn’t want to leave her. I think it explains why he’s still here, years after everyone expected him to be dead. Eventually life will become too small or too painful and he’ll let go of it. Until then, he has to take it easy. Even 5 or 10 minutes of light work in the garden gives him days of pain that not even morphine can mitigate. 2 years ago