Friday, April 3, 2009

bad things really do come in threes

You know when you get so tired you can't sleep? I'm going through that right now. I haven't slept since Wednesday night. I apologize in advance if this doesn't make much sense but I just need to vent and get this off my chest because right now I feel like my life is falling apart at the seams. Mostly I'm asking you all for prayers, karma, vibes, whatever you do, for me & my family. The rest of this post is about what is going on and is extremely long.

Sister (who is a nurse) quit her job at a nursing home to stay home with my 96 year old (97 this month!) grandfather, Papa. Obviously, since he's 96 he has some issues. He was starting to fall, wasn't really eating well (or at all for that matter), he is losing his vision, etc. My Dad goes over to his house everyday for cocktail hour and has since my GaGa died when I was 2.

Papa had to live with us for about a year when I was in 6th grade because he had Dursban poisoning (which is a spray for termites, I believe. The person applied it wrong and he couldn't figure out why he was sick until too late). He had less than a 5% chance of survival then and he pulled through. The only thing that changed was his voice and he sounds fuzzy now; I have a hard time understanding a lot of what he says. He got sick a couple months ago and again, pulled through. He is very independent (minus driving because he is losing his sight) and he wanted to live on his own. My Dad noticed he was becoming malnourished so he started making breakfast for him every morning and my mom cooks his dinner. They also started him on an appetite stimulant. He started getting worse off which is why Sis is now staying with him. Sister and I went grocery shopping for him on Saturday and seriously bought every single fattening food we could find. Papa is close to 6 feet tall and is 117 pounds with clothes (I told him he makes models jealous!). His legs are the size of my wrist, he looks what I imagine a holocaust victim would look like.

So Sis and I were talking Tuesday night and she mentioned that she didn't see Papa pee at all on Monday or Tuesday and she was there for over 8 hours each day. We just figured maybe it was because he is dehydrated and malnourished. She called me around noon on Wednesday to tell me that Papa was getting sick and laying down. We chit-chatted for a bit then I went back to work. I got a text message around 4 "Taking Papa to the hospital by ambulance, too sick to go by car." I called her to see what the hell was going on. Apparently, in the span of a couple hours he became extremely ill and my sister felt she couldn't care for him. I asked her if I should come to the hospital and she told me that Dad had canceled his patients for the rest of the day; which meant yes.

I got to the hospital and they had him hooked up to an IV and a chest monitor. He has pneumonia and congestive heart failure. They admitted him to the hospital and several hours later my parents told me and Sis to go on home, everything would be fine. Sis and I went out to dinner and on our way home Sis got a call from Mom saying we needed to come back to the hospital. I got out of the car and Sis told me to get dressed, we needed to go back because he had taken a turn for the worse and may not make it through the night.

Now I don't know what you believe so this may sound strange: I believe in spirits. I always have, especially since living in my house (remember, its 200 years old and has had my entire family live and die in it). I believe it is someone who hasn't gone to heaven yet, waiting in a limbo of sorts for loved ones or whatever it is that is holding them. Someone once told me that to move a spirit from one place to another, they have to go with someone who is alive. When I went upstairs to change out of my work clothes, I started talking, mostly it was to my grandmother. I told her that I thought Papa was going to die and if she wanted to go to the hospital then I was leaving in a couple minutes and that Papa hadn't seen her in over 20 years so I'm sure she is the first person he would want to see.

So I got to the hospital and Papa really had taken a turn for the worse. He was laying lifeless. As soon as I walked into the room I started to cry. Everyone told me to talk to him but I didn't know what to say. I've never said a goodbye to someone dying. My other grandfather and step-grandfather died suddenly. I finally choked out "I love you" and he looked at me and said "I love you too." I didn't know what to do so I just left the room. My Dad was changing him to a DNR because there was no way he would survive CPR or paddles. I waited while Dad did that and we went outside to sit in the car so I could smoke and calm down. I went in and talked to him a couple more times, but mostly just stayed in the car with Mom. Around 2 in the morning, Mom told me to go home. I tried to sleep but couldn't

He lived through the night. I stayed with him some on Thursday, I couldn't go to work. He ate a bit, talked a bit, I bathed him and it seemed like he was getting better. So much that no one stayed the night with him last night. Turns out that was a mistake because he tried to get out of the bed and fell. Now he has a couple skin tears to add to the bed sore we noticed developing yesterday. Today I went to work for a little bit to get some things done but I felt that I was needed elsewhere.

I stayed with him for about 6 hours today while the rest of my family was running their errands and sleeping. He kept trying to get out of bed. I guess he thought we were at home because he kept wanting to go to the kitchen and the den. Apparently when he fell the other night it was because he wanted to go into the living room because he heard us talking. One point he looked at me and said "I don't understand why no one else is here and they are all in the other room. I think they forgot about me. Let's go find them." I couldn't help it but I started to cry. I explained to him for what felt like the millionth time that we were in the hospital. He just said "I know where we are." Then he told me to "Shut the hell up" which is soooo not my Papa. Since he kept trying to get out of the bed we had the nurses give him something that would make him sleep or at least stop trying to get up. He had one around noon today.

By about 3:30 I couldn't keep him in the bed. He's so weak and I can't support him. I called the nurse and asked for more meds and she told me "No, not until 8 tonight. He is very old and we can't risk giving him too much." I looked at her and said "I understand you have to tell me that but you need to call Dr. B immediately and tell him that I want him to be able to take it every FOUR hours or PRN." She just kind of looked at me because I was a bitch, but seriously, I have a 96 year old who is malnourished and fighting me "to go to the kitchen." Needless to say, we got it.

Dad came in around 6. I helped Dad feed Papa dinner and explained how Papa was starting to get very agitated with me because he wanted to get out of the bed. Well, apparently after I left all hell broke loose. He tried to hit Dad. He kicked my brother in the chest. My sister had to go to the hospital 2 hours ago to have him completely sedated. This just isn't him. When Sis went in tonight he was asking where I was. She said when she was in the room that she thought GaGa was in there. She said it looked like Papa was holding someones hand and rubbing their back with his other hand.

It's inevitable that he will pass this time. It's just been so damn hard. While I was watching him the Hospice nurse came in to introduce herself to me and to get to know my Papa a little better. I explained to her that my mother was home preparing a room for him and all of that. We'll be moving him home from the hospital sometime this weekend because that is where he would want to die.

It's just harder than I ever imagined. I've never seen someone dying. I've never seen someone who doesn't know what is going on. My Dad is being so strong and I just don't know how he is doing it. I've cried nonstop since Wednesday and my Dad is just stoic. He looked at the doctor on Wednesday when he asked what the plan was and said "I think it's time to change him to DNR. He's old. He's tired. He's ready to go." I just can't imagine EVER saying that about one of my parents.

I don't know what else to say. I'm exhausted. I can't sleep and when I do I just have nightmares. I'm trying to stay strong. I just didn't know it was so hard.



Christina said...

It's always hard to watch a loved one suffer. My grandpa died of cancer in September, I can relate. I'm so sorry, Rose. Stay strong, for Papa.

The Dumbest Smart Girl You Know said...

I'm so sorry, Rose. I hope your Papa has a peaceful transition.

I took care of my Gram, who had dementia and congestive heart failure. She passed away last summer. It was more horrible than anything I could imagine. I know how hard this is, and I wish there was something I could say to make it better. There just isn't.

You and your family are in my prayers, girl.

Sarahahaha said...

That sounds really hard. I haven't had to do what you're doing yet with any of my grandparents and I am totally dreading it. I've had to take care of my grandma when she's had surgeries, but I knew she was going to get better, and she didn't have any dementia. I can't imagine what it's like, but you sound like you are doing all the right things to help him be as comfortable as he can. It's obvious you and your whole family love him a lot and are being a good support for him.

Jen - The Secret Keeper said...

Your post made me cry!! It's terrible to have to watch someone go through something like this. My grandma went a similar way when I was 9 and I can still remember listening outside the room when my grandad was trying to tell her not be "distress the children" when they went in. It was the most horrific experience of my life! She had dementia in the end and was screaming at us that the nurses were trying to kill her.

You just need to try and forget the beginning of the end when it comes. Just remember the good things!

My thoughts are with you xx

Lil' Woman said...

My love, I'm soo sorry to hear about your Papa illness, but like you know my Nan is going semi thru the same thing. They took her to ICU yesterday and are trying to get her stabilized. I pray that she'll pull thru but sometimes I think she wants to go because she wants to be with my Pop. She was heartbroken when he passed. I feel your lucky though, atleast you'll be with your Papa in his final moments, I wasn't there when my Pop died and I'm not there for my Nan now and it breaks my heart. I feel like I abandoned them by moving to Florida and i'm missing all the things going on back home.
You know I'm always here if you need to talk and I'm sending my hugs, thoughts, and prayers to you and your family.

Sending lots of love to you sweetie!!

Meg said...

I'm so sorry to hear that. I can't even imagine how hard that must be.

Nic said...

This post was really hard for me to read because I went through the same thing almost 2 years ago with my grandmother. It was probably the worst experience of my life. When you're told that someone you love is definitely going to die and it's just a matter of time, and to just have to sit there and watch is the most painful thing. The worst though is having to actually say 'goodbye' because sometimes the words just won't come out. The only consolation is knowing that when they die they won't be suffering anymore.

Under the Influence said...

Praying for peace for you, your grandfather and your family.

Shannon said...

This post just broke my heart. Your family is my thoughts and prayers.

Serena said...

both my mum and dad (even though they're divorced) went through that with their parents watching them suffer and wither away to what you are describing. It broke their hearts but we took comfort in knowing that they were no longer suffering and neither were we. Bear with me mum has a terrible memory and when my grandad was really ill all 6 of his children were wondering about going to see him in shifts because it was around Christmas. He died at 5.20am Christmas morning but we spent Christmas day crying but laughing that we all said he had died on Christmas morning so that my mum would never have chance to forget when he had passed!

Whilst it is sad to watch and extremely tiring for all of you, it is out of your hands and you should plan to celebrate his life not mourn it. Keep going and get some sleep hun x

Adlibby said...

Oh sweetie... love and lots of positive energy to you and your family at an impossible time. I'll be thinking of you and wishing you and all concerned a measure of peace. {{hugs}}

Bridget said...

I watched my grandpa die in a convalescent home a few years ago. I know what it's like to watch someone go downhill and how hard it is. I hope he experiences as little pain as possible.

Sending you big hugs, prayers and love.

Janet said...

My heart goes out to you. My grandpa died 20 years ago, and reading your blog made me think of him. I still miss him so much, and it's so hard to see a loved one go through this. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.

Easily Manipulated said...

Rose, I'm so sorry about your Papa. I can only imagine how rough this must be for you. I don't have any words of wisdom, though I have to guess that there really aren't any. Just know that you and your family are in my prayers.

mrsjc said...

My heart goes out to you *hugs* Sending good vibes to you and yours!

Christina said...

I'm so sorry, Rose. I see families going through this all the time and it's never easy. While it isn't easy to do, try to focus on the good times you've had with him and celebrate the 96 good years he's had.

Susan said...

I'm so sorry. Can you talk to your Grandma and ask her to tell him to calm down? Sorry - a poor attempt to get you to laugh. He's a lucky man to have such devoted family. Hang in there...

Courtney said...


I'm so sorry to hear about your Papa. I know there's not really anything I can say to make you feel better, but just know that your family is in my thoughts & prayers.


Gina said...

Somehow I just found this post. I hope, in one way or another, you are doing better. Times have been rough for you lately! You are being so strong and such a loyal granddaughter. I have been through this twice and know how painful it is.

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