Friday, May 13, 2016

And It Continued ...

I was just walking into the Thrift Store to work my shift Thursday when the text came on my phone.  Hospice said time is getting close.  I responded "imminent?" And got a "yes."  Thus started another medically stressful day.  I chose to stay, without saying anything, because I wanted to keep busy while I pondered what to do and when.  I did tell my friend Donna when I was leaving the store.

Larry and his sister had gone over the day before for a visit so Kristin left work immediately and headed that way, a 3 hour drive.  Kara and Bill had plane tickets for Saturday and didn't change their plans because hospice had come and with medication, stabilized him somewhat.  Patrick was in Naples for work and stayed, with Kelly flying down on Saturday.  My niece Jill flew in from Cincinnati on Friday.  

All these plans fell into place and we were still trying to figure out which path to take.  Airfare was $2000 for the next day and if we got a call during the night, we were holding useless tickets.  The airlines are not generous on using leftover tickets.  There is at least a $150 per ticket change fee and in some cases you can use the balance to buy a cheaper ticket but there is no refund of the difference.  So that was no guarantee of anything as far as timing went at quite an expense.

I also had a calendar full of events that I needed to clear up.  Kristin called when she arrived and said he recognized her, asked for me twice and ate a bit of food.  She felt we had some time.  I canceled Shanghai here at our house on Saturday, got a sub for bunco on Monday, changed my eye doctor appointment for Tuesday and Donna said she would find a sub to work for me at the Thrift store on Thursday.  

With all that handled, we used Friday to finish up with the work people and cleaning people, Ted got a haircut and went to the store to fill our cooler.  We packed our clothes and got ready to head out at daybreak on Saturday.  Neither of us like night driving any more, especially at high speeds in unfamiliar territory, so we didn't start out until it was light outside, all the while praying we would arrive safely and in time to see him and everyone before they all left for home.

We drove 12 hours to Tallahassee then left at 5 am and drove another 6 to arrive at 11 am on Sunday.  My Dad had been terribly restless, combative and hallucinating on Friday night.  Poor Kara and Bill did their best to quiet him but he was trying to take his clothes off, climb out of bed, swinging his arms wildly, seeing things, etc. so they called the hospice nurse who came over.  They started a different regimen of meds and he calmed down but was heavily sedated by the time we arrived.  They insisted he could hear us.  If so, he knew we were there. If not, I doubt he did.

Larry, Kelly, Pat, Kara and Bill all had flights home Sunday and one by one they said what they knew were their final goodbyes.  Sunday evening and all day Monday was a constant bedside vigil.  Jill had to leave and we waved to her plane as it flew over the  house.  The Crisis Care Hospiice nurses were excellent and we could not have asked for better care for him.  They told us everything they were doing and why.  We also leveled with as he transitioned from life into death.  Monday night we were told to call anyone who needed to be there.  But by 11:30 she said she thought he would make it through the night and we should go to bed.  Kristin was staying up and helping with the turning of him on a regular schedule.  I woke up at 5 am and went out to see what was what.  At 8 o'clock we got a new nurse and the old one said it would be that day.  One and a half hours later he took his last breaths.

Hospice made all the appropriate phone calls and the chosen funeral home arrived.  There will be no visitation, just a service when his cremains are interred in Cincinnati later on.  They left a white rose on the hospital bed, placed him on the gurney and covered him with the flag.  We were all allowed to say our goodbyes before they took him away.  I felt so sorry for Edna and Laurie.  They are both losing their  best friend and biggest fan.  He was married to Edna for 31 years and Laurie has always been a Daddy's girl.  The rest of us were quite emotional as well.

Since there was no service there was no reason to stay any longer.  Everyone was exhausted and Edna's daughter was due in.  We stripped the beds and remade them before leaving.  Time alone with her daughter was the best thing for Edna.  We drove to Tallahassee for the first night and onto Lake Charles the second.  On Thursday morning we arrived home at 10:00.  

As for the other medical situations, Tim was recovering nicely from his appendectomy, Ted's biopsies were negative, my mammogram was normal.  Kara is scheduled for an ultrasound and poor Charlie is having difficulty in his recovery.  Please pray for this young boy who has been through so much.

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