Dad Update Too

I’m taking a short break from my offline life to catch my breath here online where it is calm and quiet. Oh, what a difference a day makes! Yesterday my ninety-seven-year-old father seemed fairly normal, just starting to have more difficulties, possibly because his body is shutting down, but today, he experienced bad episodes almost hourly, and I’ve spent the entire day with him, in addition to visiting briefly with siblings, and coping with one minor emergency after the other.

And then tonight, after all that, my father fell. Oh, my. I got him untangled from his walker, and kept him lying quietly on the floor, soothing him, while I called hospice and waited for the nurse to come. He seems to be declining rapidly now — every hour is different from anything that has come before.

Luckily, I am only on my own with him until Monday night — my brother-in-law offered to come stay until my other sister could get here. It will be so good not to have to worry about my falling asleep at just the wrong time or having to leave my father to suffer his panic attacks alone. Selfishly, I am glad I will not have give up my dance classes — they keep me strong and sane. But even if it weren’t for the classes, I would need to have someone else here. He is fighting the inevitable with every cantankerous bone in his body, though perhaps the morphine and haloperidol will help him move past the restlessness and let him sleep.

I probably won’t sleep much — I’ll have to stay in the bedroom next to him so I can hear him if he needs help. And, of course, feed him his drugs at the prescribed times.

All this seems bizarrely normal, though occasionally it strikes me as strange that death has been my life for so many years now. First helping with my mother, then taking care of my life mate/soul mate, and now my father.

And afterward? My father will be at peace, and I . . . well, who knows what I will be doing. Other than dancing, that is.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

18 Responses to “Dad Update Too”

  1. Carol Says:

    So sorry to hear of your father’s sudden decline. I know the inevitable must always be in the back of your mind, just given his age, but it’s not easy. Nobody should be waiting to die, but continuing to live until they die. Unfortunately frail health sometimes doesn’t make that possible. Blessings to you. I hope you’re able to snatch the moments of rest you need tonight to continue coping.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      His health definitely makes it impossible. But, on the other hand, who am I to say he’s not still continuing to live beneath the drugs that are making it possible for him to rest easily.

  2. cicy rosado Says:

    Dear Pat; so sorry about your Dad! I will keep both of you in my prayers. Tomarrow I go see my mom don’t know what I will encounter
    God help us!

  3. Paula Kaye Says:

    I am so very sorry…

  4. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Sounds like the next couple of days will be very stressful for you, Pat. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. Good luck, we’re all rooting for you.

  5. katsheridan Says:

    I’m frankly shocked that hospice hasn’t now sent a more full-time caregiver to be with both of you. That’s what they’re there for! You can’t do this by yourself. And if by chance you fall asleep, and he slips away in that time, I want you to know in your heart you did everything you could. And sometimes folk, especially the cantankerous, spirited ones, will choose to slip away at that moment when you’re not watching, as if it were one last spark of defiant independance. I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts today and in the coming days.

  6. James Rafferty Says:

    Hi Pat. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your dad. Sorry to hear he’s declined more in recent days. Watching our parents slip away is hard. Hang in there.

  7. ~Sia McKye~ Says:

    As Kat said, where the heck is hospice? You shouldn’t have been doing this all on your own. End times are so unpredictable and so many changes from hour to hour.

    The loss of my dad left a gaping hole in my life, Pat. Parents are always there or have been all our lives. To have them gone…it’s hard. Glad you’ve been able to be there for your dad through the good times and now the not so good. My prayers and thoughts are with you my dear.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Hopsice doesn’t really do round the clock care. They support the family in their care of the dying, and they do come when called, which is helpful. I’m sorry about your father, Sia. I imagine there will be a gaping hole in my life now, too.

      • ~Sia McKye~ Says:

        Thank you Pat. My dad died 18 years ago and far too young–61 and up to that time, very healthy. But I will admit there are times I wish I could see his grin and watch him tease my mom or one of my sibs, or listen to his stories and fun nonsense. I miss talking to him, even after all this time. There are days I really, really miss him.

  8. Kathy Says:

    Adorable photo – must be so bittersweet to recall such different times at a time like this. Hugs!

  9. lvgaudet Says:

    What a difficult thing to go through. I am so sorry you had to go through so much of this alone.

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