Wednesday, July 13

Hospice

Today has not been a very good day. I found out about two weeks ago that my grandfather is ill. I should add that this is not my biological grandfather; He is my half-brother’s grandfather. Unfortunately, my stepfather removed himself from our lives while my brother was still in diapers. His family made efforts to be a part of our lives, but neither of us have made a lot of him for the past decade or so. Me even less so, mainly due to distance and frankly they are just so incredibly generous that they just overwhelm me.

Anyway our grandfather has always been an incredibly strong and vibrant man, intelligent, informed, and involved. When life gave him lemons, he made lemonade. He’s eighty-six years old. He’s never been sick a day in his life, until now.

A few months ago he had kidney failure and they found out at that time that he had massive kidney damage, and has been doing regular kidney dialysis. Since then his body really has fallen apart, chronic obstructed pulmonary disease, a heart arrhythmia. He’s been in and out of the hospital and just gets progressively weaker and sicker. For each small improvement there are three giant steps back.

Neither my brother nor I were aware of this because we hadn’t stayed in touch and I don’t think anybody on that side of the family even knew that my husband and I had relocated, once again. Our uncle got in touch with my brother a couple weeks ago. He made arrangements to go visit him this weekend, but I don’t think either of us realized just how sick Grandpa is becoming. I wanted to let my brother visit him first and then I was going to arrange a visit out there myself.

We got an update from our uncle on Sunday. Things are going down his fast. Grandpa is refusing food and is getting progressively weaker. They are going to insert a feeding tube to try to better nourish him. I try to contact my Uncle to arrange a visit, but he didn’t get back with me until today.

He situation is only deteriorating. The dialysis treatments are completely wiping out what little strength he has left. He is completely unresponsive. They are currently working on the details for hospice care. Unless things take a turn in direction he will be going into hospice care this weekend. Off all machines, dialysis and feeding tubes their prognosis is seven to ten days.

I would like to see him before he dies. I think this surprises my uncle, but I don’t think he understands. Now that I have a better idea of what the situation is, I need to be there for my brother. Nothing my brother has experienced has prepared him for this. I can’t say I’m all that prepared myself. However, I realize that it already is too late and that one of our major reasons for going there is to relieve our feelings of guilt for not having been there earlier. I also like to show a little bit of solitary and concern for my Uncle who is dealing with this situation with very little support.

As I said, it hasn’t been a very good day. Pretty much the day has been dominated by making arrangements to go East and checking in with various family members. One upshot of this is I will get to see my beautiful niece and nephew while I’m there. I can't help it I have to look at the good part of things to help keep me sane.

P. S. I just went searching for a photo of Grandpa to include with this post and discovered that I don't own any. There are few of them that exist, because he was always the man behind the camera.

To borrow Zinnia's punchline: 'When someone has been taken from us by death, the finest of all possible tributes is to remember the best that they stood for, and to let that live on in our own lives.' which will give me plenty to think about on the plane.

14 comments:

J Bo said...

I think it is so wonderful that you are going to be there for your brother, Lora. Your Grandpa sounds like he is admired by all and will greatly be missed. My thoughts are with and your family.

Bearette24 said...

I'm sorry, Lora...my thoughts are with you

Capybaras United said...

Best wishes to him, to you and your family. Your visit will be appreciated and will give you more closure too.

∙Ϊ®!§ђ∙©ћịℓÐ∙ said...

I'll be thinking about you

Sue said...

So sorry to hear about your grandpa. It's hard when someone like that becomes ill and goes downhill so rapidly. I hope the visit goes as well as it can and that you take encouragement from it.

Anvilcloud said...

This business of leaving the world is not for the faint of heart. They do go downhill quickly, so I hope that he is aware of you when you visit. I'm glad that you have family to see and enjoy when you're there. Do see and do enjoy.

utenzi said...

Visiting a hospice can be very difficult, Lora. My thoughts will be with you and your brother, Lora. Gentle, calm and soothing thoughts.

Pearl said...

I'm glad you made the choice to support your brother. Take care of you both.

andrea said...

so sorry to hear about your grandpa... we are never fully prepared for these situations even though we know it is part of living in this world. you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Kristina said...

Lora, I'm so very sorry. Strength to you and your brother and all those who will feel this loss.

Julie said...

Lora, I'm so sorry you both are having to go through this. Keep your chin up, and I wish you strength for your visit. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.

Catez said...

Hi Lora,
My heart goes out to you. I will have you in my thoughts too. These things are difficult. I appreciated your honest post.

gypsy said...

Lora, so sorry to hear this. Try to check in and update us now and then. Good thoughts and best wishes heading your way. Cry a lot, it feels good.

oceanskies79 said...

My thoughts are with you. Wishing you comfort and strength.