December 9, 2015

The final night...

My father's condition keeps deteriorating, and the decision was made for him to go on hospice care.  The nurses got him into a private room...I had originally thought it was the doctor who made this happen, but I learned that the nurses were the ones who did it.  Right now he's on a BIPAP and morphine IVP as needed.  Tomorrow, they plan to discontinue the BIPAP, start a morphine drop, and focus on comfort care.   Based on how he did with a trial run off the BIPAP, they expect death will happen fast.  The goal is to make it as smooth and painless as possible.

It sucks.  But he has no quality of life right now. And it's not going to get better.  Today, we told him it was OK and gave him permission to let go.

So we're camped with him in his private room.  My mother and sister are asleep.  I'm trying to stay awake and get the paperwork for the preceptorship done.  I'm also trying to stay awake for another 11 minutes because in 11 minutes, it will be my birthday and I'd like a few minutes to myself.   We didn't remind dad about that as we don't want him upset.  My mom is tore up about it as it is--she's convinced that the day will be ruined forever for me.  I told her it is something we have no control over and I would not want to be anywhere else but here with him right now, and that my birthday is very low on the priority list right now.

The nurses here have been fantastic.  They went above and beyond for him, and when they learned he was going on hospice care, they felt our pain too.  It was hard for me not to jump in and be a nurse instead of a family member.  They knew I was a nurse, albeit a psychiatric one.

And man, did I have to use every psychiatric nursing skill I had to get through this day.  My mother and sister are wrecks.  I am not...don't get me wrong.  I hurt a lot right now.  But I made a promise to myself that my father didn't need to see me in hysterics.  I have to reassure my mother and sister and keep them going.  And one of us has to stay calm enough to talk to the doctors and nurses.

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