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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dad - taken a downturn

Last night the hospice called at 12:10am and said that Dad has taken a turn for the worse. He had a good day and had his usual evening. He went to bed about 7pm but by 10:30pm, he called Janine to say that he was having difficulty breathing. She gave him some meds that should have helped but an hour later, he was worse so she gave him some more meds. That didn’t seem to help either so she called me to let me know. I woke Bena and told her what was happening and that I was on my way to the hospice. She came with me and we arrived about 12:40am; Janine and Chandal explained what is happening. You may surmise that I am blogging from the hospice.


Dad’s breathing was quite laboured but he was sedated. His lips, and tongue are quite swollen to the point that he can’t close his mouth. The left side of his face is also quite swollen too and it’s kind of purplish red. We sat with him for a while and during that time, his breathing was definitely laboured and it has indeed changed significantly from yesterday.

By 2:15am, Janine came in to give him some more meds because he opened his eye and looked at me as if he was really scared but I was not sure that he could focus on my face. I told him that Bena and I were here and after some more agitation, he settled down. I felt that something else changed again so I decided to call Karran and Sophie to tell them to come to the hospice. They arrived about 3:15am and we filled them with the details. When I left home, I decided not to say anything to Mom because I had no idea how the night would go and I did not want her upset.

Janine and Chandal came in every hour to check on Dad. We pulled out the sofa bed and Bena had a couple hours of sleep. Karran and Sophie paced out and in the room and I sat in the recliner trying to see if I could sleep but with one ear on Dad’s breathing. I watched him for two hours and finally decided to shut my eyes but each time he stopped breathing, my eyes popped open and I stared, waiting for him to resume breathing. He did but he is struggling. Finally after 20 minutes of watching him, I decided that it was time to go home and get Mom because things are changing rapidly. He is struggling but cannot talk and his arms are flailing as he becomes agitated.

I brought Mom back to the hospice and she thinks that Dad was waiting for all his family to be here so he can go. I don’t know what to think. I just don’t want him to be going through much more of this. It’s agonizing to watch and disheartening to know that I can’t do anything except swab his lips and tongue with a sponge.

I have had no sleep in 27 hours but somehow I don’t feel tired or sleepy. I’m sure we’ll all crash if this keeps up longer but I can’t sleep even if I felt tired. I’ve told myself that I cannot be at Dad’s side every minute of every day but I am afraid to leave because I saw the frightened look in his eye this morning. Mom has been crying steadily and I don’t think that’s a good thing to sit at his bedside and be crying so I asked her to leave the room and compose herself.

Sharm and Robin came about 8:45am. Sharm talked to Dad and he squeezed her hand very faintly but he must have heard her. Darwin arrived with coffee for everyone and although there is coffee at the hospice, it was thoughtful of Darwin to do that. Gaye the day nurse came in to check on Dad’s meds. The staff is so good to him and the way they talk, I can sense that they really care about his well-being. From what the nurses are saying, he may have a few hours to a couple of days left. We are all here and I think he knows it.

I will provide updates as Dad’s status changes.

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