Apparently no matter how precipitous the fall into hospice care the results are varied. You may crumble and dissolve quickly or you may linger. If your loved one lingers, then you will need patience.
In my dad’s case, going home and being care for by his excellent-wife-with-superb-attention-to-detail means that he has actually improved. Now that he is off the “cumadin” (blood thinner) he is not bruising as much and his lungs have cleared. He is still bed bound, but she found a way to help him into a wheelchair for an hour or so each day (how she does it, I do not know). He is still weak, without core strength, unable to feed, dress, bath, or care for himself, but other than that he is fine.
Weird right? That’s why now we wait and hang out and pass the time.
I’d like to say that waiting is turning out to be a beautiful thing, but in my case his lucid moments bring back the behaviors that I’ve always had a hard time dealing with. It’s almost easier dealing with his slightly demented moments (like when he tells me that he had a brilliant idea to put his clip on eye shades on his glasses so he can keep the shades open for the 10th time).
The hard part is not correcting him when he mentions that perhaps he should sue the store for causing him to slip. (Believe me, if you saw how he was walking prior to the fall you would know it’s not the store’s fault…he stubbornly refused a walker, so it was no surprise). I figure it’s “a teachable moment” so I ask, “so how did they cause you to slip?” and “why do you think you slipped?” but he just brushes my inquiries aside and suggests I start a Facebook campaign to prop up the little guy. I try to tell him kindly what the doctors think…”hey dad, the doctor’s think you fell because your heart is weak and you are not getting enough oxygen to your brain and your limbs.” Of course, that makes me feel cruel.
I ask my friends, is it cruel? Perhaps. It’s what my mom would say, but then again, they got divorced because she never humored his assertions. His current wife is much more forgiving of his ideas. She is convinced he understands his situation and there’s no need to dwell on it. I think he’s in denial. I know for sure she is better equipped than I to care for him.
Sigh. So I feel very much like my mother’s daughter and the distance gap grows again. It’s so much easier to love and care for someone when they are helpless and afraid. Stubborn and opinionated is an entirely different thing.
I always go back to thinking, dear god, let me die suddenly. Let my children grieve and know that that’s the way I wanted it.