The beginning of the end

Dad had a bad fall this morning. He landed hard on his rear and got a gash in his arm. Elaine called hospice and they called an ambulance. Lauryn and Rob rushed over.

Putting Dad in the ambulance

Lauryn wrote to tell me that the EMTs had asked if we wanted them to resuscitate Dad if needed. I told her that when the first hospice nurse did his intake, Elaine mentioned that he had a directive not to resuscitate.

Lauryn, Rob, and Elaine all met up in the ER waiting room. Dad had been taken into a room but no one had called to Elaine to let her know she could go in with him. They sat and waited there for a while before Lauryn suggested that Elaine go check at the desk. When she did, they let her go in, but they would only allow one person at a time to be with him. Lauryn got a turn to go in later. I asked her if Dad had told her he loved her and she said she had told him that she knows he loves her and she was OK if he didn’t say it. She told him she loves him though.

Later, she wrote to say that the hospital wouldn’t X-ray Dad unless he was taken off hospice. She didn’t understand why they had to make a choice. When the hospice nurse had done his intake, she had explained to Elaine and me that if he wanted treatment for anything, it would mean he was hoping to get well and that would disqualify him from being in hospice. She said he could go off any time he wanted and then come back on, but he couldn’t get treatment and be on hospice at the same time because hospice is only for people who are at the end of their life. The two have very different purposes.

The hospital put Dad to sleep with medication and didn’t release him to go home until 8:30 this evening when he woke up. At that, they sent him home in a transport on a gurney and he is now in the hospital bed that has been waiting for him at home ever since he came home from the hospital a month ago. Hospice said they would send a nurse out sometime tonight because Dad is in a lot of pain. I suspect they will put him on a morphine drip and he won’t feel anything anymore. In the meantime, Rob is spending the night there because he was a medic in the military and knows how to administer morphine.

Lauryn is having a really hard time with this. She had hoped to take Dad to church and then out to lunch tomorrow and maybe for another drive this week. She says he seemed so lively yesterday and she had all sorts of plans of what she wanted to do with him. She’s been trying to figure out how he fell and why things went so badly after that. I feel for her. She didn’t see what I saw before I left. Dad’s comeback yesterday was truly a miracle, an exception to the rule, but she thought that it would last at least as long as she plans to be there. I am so glad that she was able to spend one good day with him and I hope she can keep that day in her memory always.

Please pray for Dad and Elaine, and pray especially for my little sister. It’s hard to see her suffering like this. She says she feels like the rug was pulled out from under her. It was! At least Dad and Elaine had time to get used to the idea, but Lauryn was caught off guard. She didn’t get to spend as much time with him as I did and I ache for her loss.

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