march 17th is supposed to be a "lucky" day....but this coming march 17th....will mark 3 years that my dad passed away. so no, that day is not a lucky day for me. that was the absolute hardest day of my life..one that i will never forget.
my dad suffered from emphysema for 5 years. i was always a daddys girl...but became even more so during his illness. out of 5 kids...i was the only one that would do for him....and between me and mom....i was the only one that he WANTED to do things for him. it really tickled me...even though it hurt my moms feelings. although we knew that he was dying....the day that it happened was sooo unexpected....and heartbreaking and i was also so full of anger. i already know that i cant get through this story without tearing up....but, here lately, i have been missing dad more and more than ever....so wanted to share it with everyone to continue working on my pain through "talking".
while we knew that dad was getting weaker, having more hospital stays and staying longer each time, we didnt know that his day was as close as it was. i honestly thought that he would have had at least a few more months with us. but....we were truly blessed, because when he was diagnosed...he was given 6 months to live....but lived 5 more years!!! i got a call from my mom that she had went to the drug store 1 minute up the road from her to get dads rx....and when she got back, she found dad lying in the floor....he was conscious, but could not get up on his own...and was complaining of being cold. (he had gotten up to answer the door to get his oxygen delivery, but never made it to the door)...he told mom to call me to come help him up...but i live 30 minutes away...and i told mom to call the ambulance...that i would not want to attempt to move him not knowing why he collapsed or what injuries he might have had. i took him to the er...and after 1 hour..the er dr said he was "fine" and was going to send him back home. i pitched a fit...which i often had to do!!!!..and told him to not release dad until i spoke to is primary dr. i called the dr....and told him what had happened...and they told me that they were going to have him admitted. dad told me that because of his fall, that he was never going to get out of bed again, that it scared him too bad to risk it happening again. (well..he was right....he wasnt ever going to get out of bed again) this was on a thursday. the following monday night, i asked dad if he wanted me to spend the night with him at the hospital, and he said no, for me to go home and get my rest. tuesday night, i had went prepared to stay the night just in case...and was getting ready to walk out the door to leave...and dad said my name...so i turned...and he started crying and asked if i would call my husband to see if it would be ok if i stayed with him. i told him that i didnt have to call to ask....that i was staying!!!!! dad had a very rough night that night....had me up several times getting the nurse for breathing treatments and more oxygen, etc. about 1 am, dad asked me if i would stay the next night with him!! so of course i said that i would. i got up and went home that morning to take care of a few things and to get a few hours of sleep and went back that night. dad slept sooo much better that night. didnt wake me not one time. about 6 am, i "heard" dad call my name...so i jumped up and asked what?? he didnt answer...so i said what again...i then realized that dad was sound asleep....so i thought "ok....that was crazy...i swear he called my name!!" he woke up about 6:30 that am....the ONLY complaint he had was that he needed a bm...to have the nurse to bring him a pan...i went downstairs to give him some time alone. (he usually complained of not being able to breathe...he looked good, and seemed fine...really fine).. i came back up, and hed had no progress, so around 8:30 that morning, he had me to ask the nurse for an enema. around 9 that morning, he still had no progress....and his lung dr's asst came in to check on dad. i pulled her outside and i asked her how dad was doing.....she said he was doing fine....that emphysema patients have their ups and downs, this was one of his down times, that she expected him to get better and they had plans on starting therapy on him 3 times a day for a week to get him stronger so that he could come home the following week. so i went in....sat on dads bed...and said "see, dad, you dont have to worry, she said that you were going to get better and would most likely get to come home next week after they do therapy on you". (as he kept saying that he wasnt going to make it much longer....but he always said that during hospital visits...so this was my way to ressure him). well, a few minutes later...his actual lung dr came in...and i was asking questions about why dad was sooooo swelled.....that the nurses kept telling me that it was the steroids, but he had never swelled up like that before...so i was questioning if they were giving him too much fluids via iv....and asked if he could cut it off for a bit. he looked at me and said coldly "i need to speak to you outside!"....well..knowing that i had just been told that dad was going to be ok....my ONLY thought was that he was going to yell at me for blessing a nurse out the night before......but his words to me were "you need to understand that your dad is dying and it will most likely be today...possibly tomorrow, but all indications are today"...........have in mind that i was the ONLY person at the hospital with my dad....i was soooooooo floored....soooo shocked that i couldnt think or move or anything. i was totally caught offguard. i knew in my heart that dad was not going to make it home this trip...but NEVER did i expect things to happen this soon. my sister lives in tennessee...and was due to come in the next day....on a friday...and dad had said the night before that he didnt think he was going to make it til friday to see her...(which is why i reassured him when the asst dr told me that he was going to be ok)......but we always felt that he was going to hang in there to see her...and that he would either give up after seeing her, or last at least another week. he was JUST NOT THAT CLOSE TO DEATH!!!!!!! well, the dr asked me about the DNR...if thats what dad wanted, and i said yes...and he said "well i need to go in and ask him for certain, so that we can put the band on his arm, would you like to go in while i talk to him".....so stunned, so shocked, crying.....i couldnt face dad....had i been given a moment to let this sink in....i KNOW that i would have done things differently.....one of the many regrets that i have.....but hell...i was by myself...received this news unexpectedly, and wasnt thinking clearly. but he went in and told dad that he was dying....im so ****** at myself for not going in there to be with him when he was told. after a few minutes, i pulled myself together...and went in...and just apologized to dad. it took him by surprise too.......and things spiraled soooooooo fast. it sent dad into a panic...well....if you have breathing problems..the last thing you can handle is panicking. he couldnt breathe.....the harder i tried to calm him down, the worse things got. he was begging for someone to help him....."i cant breathe, somebody help me, damnit I cant breathe".......they asked if i wanted them to give him some morphine or xanax via iv....(well, im not an expert...and had always thought that morphine would kick in immediately, and i wanted dad calmed down, and yet alert so that the family could say their goodbyes once they got there.....so i asked dad what he wanted, and he said the nerve medication.....BIG MISTAKE on my part!!!)......he suffered so much longer that way than necessary because i didnt know that it would take hours for the morphine to kick in. so much time passed, and the nerve meds wasnt phasing him.....in between all of this....i had to make phone calls...id pull myself together for dad...a few minutes later, id leave to go down the hall to make another call and to cry......pull myself together to go back in his room. he kept getting worse....as far as breathing goes. he was begging soooo hard for someone to help him....to give him more oxygen or his nebulizer treatments. but they refused......the nurse said that he had just had a neb treatment and if given too soon, it could cause his heart to bust open....to increase oxygen....he would inhale more than he would expel...therefore get carbon dioxide poisoning...not thinking clearly.....i didnt fight it.....but hindsight, i look back and think what was the difference...he was dying anyway....why didnt i do something and insist on doing whatever made him comfortable!!!???? well, i was on the phone with my sister and she heard dad begging for help...i told her that i didnt know what to do, because i felt that it was moms place to instruct for the morphine.....because i thought that it would knock him out immediately, and i didnt think that it was my place to make that decision.....anyway....she told me to help me make that decision on what to do....that if dad wanted it, and that she agreed to it, that no one would be mad if i had the nurses to give it to him.....so i asked dad if he was ready for it.....and he said yes....so she pretty much gave me the blessing...to make it easier on me to agree to it. well...it didnt help for the LONGEST time...and they could only administer it once an hour....an hour felt like an eternity!!!!!!!!! after the 3rd hour....the nurse then informed me that it takes 3-4 hours for morphine to kick in......well gee thanks for telling me that!!!! otherwise, i would have insisted on it hours ago!!!! well...my sis called to tell me that they were in the hospital parking lot....and i went to dad and i said "dad, please calm down, do what you have to do...DO NOT let moma walk in here and see you like this!!!!!!!".......he said he couldnt help it. a few minutes passed by and he was still begging for help....struggling to get any air he could.......i looked out the door and saw my mom/siblings coming down the hallway...so i rushed to dad and said "dad, they are walking down the hallway, PLEASE dont let mom see you like this!!!!....please calm down".....well, he did...just a second before the door opened!!!!!!!!!!! he had his eyes closed and arm propped over his head, as he always layed...and mom went to his bedside and i turned to dad and said "dad, look whos here to see you"..........he so very quickly, weakly, opened his eyes and turned his head to get a quick glimpse of mom and closed his eyes again. he never opened his eyes again......and passed about 2 hours later.
all the things i could have done, should have done.....being angry for being told one minute that dad was going to be ok...and the next minute that he was dying....being there by myself, being told when i had no one there to support me.......it really has been hard to think about that last day. i dont hardly ever talk about that one day.......and when i do.......its full of tears and crying. i cant speak about it without crying. i can talk about him being gone, i can talk of memories of him.......but i cannot talk about his last day without shedding endless tears. i let him down....and i feel that he must have thought that i "lied" to him when i told him that the asst said he was going to be fine...then have the dr to tell him 15 minutes later that he was dying.....i dont know if dad thought i lied to him or not.......i will never know that answer.
thank you for reading my post......if nothing else is gained from reading this post.........when you are faced with this....please ask the nurse how long it will take for morphine to kick in and how often they can give it....so that you can make better decisions than i did. and please....fight with the nurses to do whatever it takes to make your loved ones comfortable as quickly as possible.
Your story was really personal and touching...thank you for feeling comfortable enough with me to share it....I'm so sorry you had to go through that alone, no one should EVER have to go through something like that alone...I can't imagine...I find it sad that you spent most of your dad's last day alive with him by yourself, trying to make quick, yet smart decisions, even though you have 4 other siblings...I know you could have used their support that day more than any other day in your entire life, I'm just sorry they couldn't be there to help you make some of the toughest choices you've ever had to make....I come from a large family too, I have 3 siblings and would be devastated if I had to go through what you did with my mom or dad by myself....I would be absolutely terrified...has any of your sibling or your mom ever questioned any decisions you made? I hope no one has...you were forced to make decisions that day that no one should ever have to make.
You say in your post that you will never know if your dad knew whether you lied to him or not, but I believe we meet up with our loved ones again some day...as a Christian, I believe those of us that are saved (have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior) will go to Heaven when we die and meet up with our loved ones that have died before us....I pray your dad is up in Heaven having a great time, wishing you would stop beating yourself up over something you can't change. Ladybug, I think you made the best decisions you could make given the circumstances, timeframe and your state of mind...this was your dad, not a stranger...I'm sure you would have had a much easier time making quick decisions if the patient was not a relative. I don't think your dad is upset or angry with you and I don't think he feels you lied to him...I think he's at peace....he was sick, he's not sick anymore, he's not suffering anymore....doesn't that bring you peace?
My grandmother passed away on 02.08.2004 peacefully....only b/c the Good Lord Above answers prayers....a few days before she passed she was admitted to the hospital b/c she had another stroke...she was 84 yrs old....she was close to being a vegetable, she would just lay in bed except when I would visit....when I visited her she would talk to me...only to me, which was weird, b/c she has many children...I really enjoyed our talks....anyhow, the dr told my dad, who was the executor of her estate, that she was not going to make it and the best thing to do since she was a DNR was to take out her feeding tube and starve her to death....I was appalled! My dad and my uncles thought it was the right thing to do b/c they thought she was already gone, but I knew she wasn't b/c she wouls still have conversations with me....my mom and my siblings thought it was cruel to starve her to but it wasn't our decision, so it didn't matter what we thought....luckily, later that same night she passed away in her sleep...God works in mysterious ways.
Is your mom still alive? If so, how is she doing since your dad passed away? I hope well.
No..thank you for listening! Yes, it was definitely difficult dealing with the situation by myself....when I REALLY needed the support of my family....but...things just didnt happen the way that it should have. But, no, they dont blame me for anything...its just myself doing the blaming. Even though we arent a close knit family...and they really do like throwing blame, etc onto others...they were really supportive....I guess because they knew I dealt with a hell of a lot on my own, so knew that they had no room to pass judgement on anything. But they really have said and done all the right things to make me feel less guilty...but I was there..I lived it...and realize where I should have done a few things differently. But I guess we all do that.
I know that dad is better off...no longer in pain or suffering...and that does bring me alot of peace. If he would just send me a sign to let me know that he KNOWS that I didnt lie to him...(the sad part is that he knew that we would do/say things to protect him at times....and I didnt even think to let him know that this was not one of those times!). But one day...we will get to see each other again...and it will be one JOYOUS reunion!!
Im sorry to hear that about your grandmother. I feel the same as you...I just think that as long as one is alive and breathing....they need to receive food and water. That just sounds cruel to purposefully not feed a dying person so that they can pass....why not just let them pass naturally...when they were meant to pass? But thankfully, it worked out to where things happened naturally for her, and you could live life knowing that she wasnt starved to her death.
Yeah, my mom is still living. She has adjusted fairly well since dad passed. She gets lonesome at times, and of course misses him...but shes fine.
Well thank you again for listening. It really helps to have someone to listen.
You're welcome. You can post a message for me anytime, I'll be here for you.
I find it interesting that you have a big family that isn't close knit...that sounds like my family...besides having a huge extended family, I have 3 siblings...I am the 2nd oldest and I'm not close to any of my siblings...we are all so different...I have always had a closer relationship with my parents than my siblings...my mom is my best friend, she has helped me out so much since I injured my back...I am so grateful for her...I owe her endlessly.
I believe you dad knows you didn't lie to him...I also believe one day he'll be able to tell you that himself! You need to stop beating yourself up emotionally over the decisions you were forced to quickly make...given the circumstances I think you did a great job...I would have been a wreck.
After your dad passed away did you talk to his doctor and his assistant about the conflicting stories they gave you? I would be livid if my dad's doctor treated my dad that way, knowing he was dying....how sad.
I was at peace when my grandmother passed away...when I was 16 she had a stroke and the doctor told us she only had 24-48 hrs to live, I didn't know her well then and I remember praying and bargaining with God, I told him if He let her live I would get to know her...He let her live 11 more years and I held up my end of the deal...for months after her stroke she required care similar to an infant so after she was released from the hospital she came to live with me and my family...I spent the most time caring for her and was able to really get to know her...it was nice...she had a hard life on earth, I think she deserved to leave us and go to Heaven.