It’s getting harder. Day by day. Visit by visit.
I’ve been watching as things get worse for my Dad, day by day, or visit by visit at least. I’m not there every day. I go three times per week; picking Mom up, taking her to the hospital, visiting, watching, hurting with both of them. And it’s pretty much gotten worse since the first couple of weeks.
They put a feeding tube in 3 days ago. And it was everything I feared it would be. He was hurting before, but at least he had some control of his own body. Now he’s in pain and is tied down. His wrists are horribly bruised. He was in pain before, but now he’s tied down. When I’ve been there he never stops trying to take the tube out.
Today he almost succeeded. He was responsive in the morning, but when my Mom got there this afternoon, there was blood on his hands and around on his gown and bedding. He was making a horrible gurgling noise. Mom called the hospital staff and they suctioned him out and retied his hands. And retied his hands.
Apparently he’d tried to remove the feeding tube. He probably had a nosebleed. The docs told Mom that it wasn’t critical. Ugly, sure, but not critical. The tube probably adhered to some bit and tore when he tried to remove it. Bad nosebleed. Ugly and scary, but not life-threatening. A horrible day for Mom, though. One among many in the last couple of months.
I go three times a week. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. And that is honestly at the upper limit of what I can bear. I’m watching both of them suffer. Watching both of them suffer.
And it’s just horrible. I don’t want to give up on my Dad. I’ve only just finished going through my pictures of Costa Rica. I so want to show them to him. He was there. I want to show him and say, ‘See, wasn’t that cool?’ And it breaks my heart that I may never get that chance.
But I’m watching my Mom watch him, too. She’s watching him suffer. She knows he’s in pain. His pain causes her pain. So I get all the fun of watching them both suffer. My greatest fear is that I’m going to lose both of my dearly loved parents in very short order. I know that Mom is just not going to be able to take much more.
How much longer do we torture him because we don’t want to lose him? Mom has been watching him suffer. I’ve been watching him suffer. I haven’t been there half as much as Mom, but what I see isn’t encouraging. He’s been spiraling down since a couple of weeks from when he fell.
But he’s still hanging on. I see that as a testament to the strength of will of both Mom and Dad. Dad won’t let go until he has to, and Mom will hold on if there’s the slightest chance that he can.
Speaking from experience; I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, sometimes the only thing keeping you holding on is the hand holding on to you. Mom held my hand; she kept me holding on. I really believe I would have died if she hadn’t been there, lo, those many years ago. That’s why I’m not ready to give up yet. I was ready to let go. Slip the bonds of mortal flesh and just die. The effort was more than it was worth to me. But Mom cared enough to keep holding my hand. So I didn’t let go. I grabbed her hand and came back. Back to toil and trouble and life.
She’s holding on to Dad’s hand now. I think she’s holding on for both of them. Fifty-some-odd years of life together count for something. They depend on each other. I can do little for them. I support Mom as best I’m able. I do what I can for Dad when I’m at the hospital. Feed him. The hospital just can’t afford for someone to spend 40 minutes to feed someone a cup of food. This, I can do. And have, and will.