Monday, 10 June 2013

So that was Sunday afternoon. Little good it did him.  On Monday I received a telephone call at work around 5pm, Dads breathing had changed, it didn't look good, I should get there as soon as I could.

My head was a whirl, I couldn't think straight, my colleagues were concerned, but I couldn't say it, tears were filling my eyes, but I couldn't say it. My Dad was going to die. I must have managed to though as a manager was there, telling me to go, to do what I needed to do, not to worry about work.

I telephoned blokey, no way was I going to be able to drive there. He picked me up. He held me. Told me it would be O.K. I couldn't hear his words properly. The radio was on, a track came on

This is the end,Hold your breath and count to ten,Feel the earth move and then,Hear my heart burst again,

And the tears rolled down my cheeks.

On the ward there were no nurses around.  My poor frail Dad, whom they were so concerned about, was laying slumped in his bed, semi recumbent, head bent forward, an oxygen mask had been put on his face, but it had slipped off.  No matter anyway as his airway was so occluded from how slumped nothing would have got in. by this point his skin was leaking tissue fluid like a sieve, his skin was breaking down. Yet a manual blood pressure cuff had been left on his tiny arm, its hard fabric and Velcro digging into his skin. Why was it even on? if it had been a dinamap set to be monitoring him regularly then I would have understood - but this was ridiculous.

If they were concerned enough to call me away from work, that they thought this was it for Dad why the fuck was he in this state?

I was furious, I removed his BP cuff, straightened him up, grabbed some inco sheets to wrap his arms in an attempt to keep his sheets and gown dry from the fluid leaking out of him, I moistened his mouth, and readjusted his O2 mask.

Finally a nurse appeared and I asked to speak to the Doctor.  When he arrived, flustered and rushed, he told me it wasn't good.  But still they wouldn't consider the LCP and I still don't know why. He suggested I needed to get Dads partner to be with him. 

So my wonderful blokey took me to her house to collect, as it was dark and she won't drive in the dark. The 2 of us sat by his bed until way past 11pm, Dad was asleep, but peaceful and looking more comfortable.  We agreed we were both tired and nothing seemed to be changing. After asking the nurses to call us if anything changed at any time, we we headed home.  Dropping Dads partner off then heading home to bed.

Not that I had much sleep that night, it was a night filled with bad dreams and wakefulness.

and at 6am the phone rang, the nurse telling me Dad was going. I rang Dads Partner and picking her up on the way we arrived by his bed at 7.30am. He had remained unconscious all night and there was no change now. The curtains were drawn round his bed whilst the other patients had their breakfast. We sat and talked to him, to each other, I held his hand and stroked his hand. I tried to be at peace with him, and myself.

Then at about 8.25am he stopped breathing, no drama, no panic, just stopped breathing. He looked so peaceful, so small, so vulnerable.

I kissed his forehead, and we stepped out of the curtains to let the nurse know. She called a Doctor and I sat with him again until she came, I kissed his forehead, told him I loved him and cried.

I can't do anymore of this for now. Reliving it is painful. My heart is breaking again; not just for the loss of Dad, but for the missed opportunities, for the chances I didn't take to build a relationship with my Father, the chances I wasn't given to build that relationship.

Monday, 3 June 2013

After the ball was over............

The day after the ball I went to the hospital expecting Dad to be in a really bad way.

But the bloody bugger was sitting up in bed eating! However the Doctors still weren't confident, so much so that when the Health Care Assistant kept hearing Dad request a Whiskey instead of a cuppa they spoke to the Docs, who were happy for him to have it!

For a week or so Dad seemed to make a miraculous recovery. He drank whiskey and beer.  Ate jellied eels and smoked salmon.  Charmed the staff, Male and Female alike.  Chatted with the other patients and their visitors. And became very animated, for the previous couple of years he had been almost housebound and become very lonely. suddenly here he was with a reason to wake up every day.  I saw hope, we talked about him going into a care home, he would have the company he needed. He was in pain a lot of the time, but we talked and reminisced. And for the first time ever he told me he loved me.

But then, for reasons known only to the bloody bed managers, Dad was moved to a care of the elderly with complex medical needs ward.  In a bed away from the window. And that was the beginning of the end, the staff on this ward were over worked, and some didn't even care. The patients were challenging and Dad did not get the care he deserved. Each time I visited he had deteriorated further, I was having to change his sheets, wash him, shave him, even having to request that he had mouth care, a basic nursing care, their response was to give me the sponges and mouth wash 'you're a midwife you know what to do' was the attitude.  Not the point, although of course I did it. He's my Dad.

His body started to shut down and they could no longer cannulate him, he was so dehydrated he said even water was too dry to swallow.  They gave him fluids subcutaneously, but then his sodium levels became too high.  So they just stopped fluids.  It was time for him to go. With dignity. But no. They starved him, kept him without fluids. But kept on taking bloods and trying to find out what was *wrong* with him, wanting to give him injections that hurt him and pills he couldn't swallow.

He started leaking fluid through the skin on his arms and legs, he became so swollen I thought he would burst.

I nursed him, I changed his sheets, cleaned him up, checked his catheter bag was emptied, rolled him, lifted him, wrapped his arms when the fluid leaked out so much he was swimming in it.

This is basic nursing care that any person should receive, let alone an elderly sick dying man.

after being on this ward a week, and being without fluids for 4 days the decision was made to insert a Femeral line for drugs and fluids. My opinion? now was the time for the LCP. 

He was distressed and crying throughout the procedure, I should leave they said. Oh how I wanted to, but Dad needed me.  I held his hand and bit back the tears as this man sobbed as they put him through more trauma.

I wanted to SCREAM STOP. Why didn't I, I am a strong independent woman I have no problems speaking up to Doctors at work, here though I am a Daughter, a scared Daughter.