Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When Will It End?

The upside, the upside, the upside.... ?  Things look so grim for Dad lately that sometimes I forget to look for the upside.  Once I do, I find it immediately.  Having Dad so close is a definite upside. 

There is a noticeable change in Dad since he moved into the new home.  I've seen this before and it seems that he is over-medicated and the Director of Nursing agrees with me.  His face is taught, his jaw is locked open, his movement (if any) is extremely twitchy, and he can't speak.  It's heart-wrenching to see a loved one look like this.  He seems trapped.  I spent the last week trying to get to the bottom of it.  I talked with the nursing staff, I called his previous Doctor, I had the staff page his new doctor, and I had Dad's chart read to me at least three times.  Nothing points to over-medication (besides his physical state).  His meds are the same as they were at the Psych Ward.

Just to clarify, I'm not trying to make my Dad better.  We all know he has Alzheimer's, but quality of life is our main goal, and I'm not sure he has much while in this state.

This is what he looked like the day he moved in...

And here he is two days later...

I had a personal debate about whether to share this photo.  Ultimately, he looks rather peaceful, but you can still see the decline in two days time.

He has been that way for over a week now and most days he looks worse than that picture depicts.  After days of searching for a reason and not finding one, I was emotionally spent.  A few days later I had a meeting with the staff to review his care plan.  They now know that we don't want any life-saving measures taken, no feeding tubes, no pneumonia vaccine.... we only want him to be comfortable.  He isn't able to do much except lie there and twitch, so it comes as no surprise that he's not eating much either.  The nurse informed me that if this continues and his weight drops more, he will qualify for Palliative Care and/or Hospice sooner rather than later.

I made it through the meeting without crying, but as I sat by his bedside with my hand on his chest playing the song "Georgia" on my phone, the sobs poured out.  At this point, I don't care if it's the medication, I don't care if it's Alzheimer's, I don't care if the decline is from this most recent move... I just want my Dad to be at peace.  I can see fear in his eyes.  And I just want it to be over for him.  Watching him go through this is killing me.

This was the first time that I so strongly wanted my Dad to leave this world.  It was all I could think about.  It's the only solution.

The tears never really went away that day.  I cried on the way to a movie that Blake and I had been planning to see.  I cried in the car after the movie.  I cried in the parking lot when Blake was hugging me.  A profound sadness has invaded my soul and my body and it's not leaving any time soon. 

My Mom suggested I take a couple days off from visiting Dad since I had been there so much lately.  Probably a good idea.