Friday, September 19, 2008

It Rains, It Pours, Someone calls Hospice

So, my grandfather has been asking for a while to see another heart doctor. He didn't like the first one that the VA hospital had referred him to I guess. His family doc agreed and sent him to a different doctor that was supposed to be really good.

My mom came in today after lunch and told me they were sending my grandfather home. I was so happy. I hate seeing him in that dreary nursing home and I can't bear to go in another afternoon and try to pretend to be positive and upbeat in such a place. I want him home where he can be comfortable and someone will make sure he gets his medicine at the right times. I want him to be able to get up and make a sandwich or sit on the couch and watch television. I want him to smile again. He hasn't done that in a while.

Mom kept talking about the doctor's appointment and then said, they will be sending hospice out when he gets home. Up until this point I had been happily pretending to listen while saying a quick prayer of thanks. The word hospice stopped me in my tracks.

The physical therapists say they have gotten him as far as he can go and it isn't fair to wear him out day after day like they are. The hip doc wanted him to walk 200 yards before he went home but he hasn't been able to do that in over ten years. The heart doctor has decided that my grandfather is in congestive heart failure. He's had a valve that we knew could close at any moment but this is different. This is definitive. There is no going back.

He could be with us a week, a month, even three years or so. I think we all know though. He is so tired. He is in pain and feels bad most of the time. It is a miracle we have been blessed to have him this long. It is so painful and sad to connect with his eyes most days. He just looks so tired and defeated.

I am hoping that going home will help a lot. I'm sure it will work wonders but I am also realistic with this. Hubby and I have already planned many visits and we are working to make the holidays really special this year. I came home tonight and finished his blanket. The whole time I worked, I felt like I was racing a clock. Everyone has sort of slowed down to spend as much time with him as they can.

The last time a grandparent died, I was 12. He had been sick for a really long time. He had cancer and it was horrible and painful and my parents did everything they could to protect us from the experience while allowing us to say goodbye. This time things are so different. I am an adult. I have a mother who is struggling with this. She says she is ok, but lingered in the parking lot for over an hour today talking and hurting. I just sat in there and listened. It is so weird being here. I feel so much responsibility and as we help my grandfather make plans, I find my name being brought up here and there to help. The whole time I just want to curl up in my mother's lap and let her stroke my hair and tell me that it will all be ok. Instead our roles have reversed in a way.

It has brought a very scary realization to light. I understand as I watch my mother and aunt, that someday I will be standing in their shoes. I know that I will have to make decisions about my parents someday and struggle to find a balance between quality and quantity of life.

I know now why I love my job and working with my kids every day. Being a grown up just sucks!


VA Blondie said...

It can be very hard to let go of a loved one. Try to be gentle with yourself and your family. Enjoy the time you have with your grandfather.

I will hold you and your family in the light.

Sassy said...

I'm so sorry. I'm thinking of you and your family.

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

You're right, being a grown-up sucks big time. Thinking of you and your family. ((HUGS))

alicia said...

I agree, being a grown up really sucks soemtimes!

I am sorry about your grandpa and the hard choices and times your family is going through now.