Palliative care (from Latin palliare, to cloak) is any form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms, rather than striving to halt, delay, or reverse progression of the disease itself or provide a cure. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to improve quality of life for people facing serious, complex illness.”
— Definition taken from Wikipedia
It’s just after midnight, early Thursday morning. I have to say that I feel like I’ve aged a whole month over the past few days … and probably three of those “weeks” were as a result of the last 36 hours.
First of all, I swear … I think between Hubby & I, we’ve had a combined total of 6 hours of sleep since Sunday night. Pure exhaustion has taken over at this time and auto-pilot mode kicked in by Tuesday evening.
First off, it’s a sad state of affairs when … getting into our car Tuesday evening for a quick jaunt out of the hospital for a much-needed shower and some fresh air … I actually commented that the car seat had been the most comfortable thing I had sat in all day long.
Secondly, squishing yourself (well, actually my big bootie) onto a small cushioned foot stool just so that I can feel as if I was laying horizontally on a bed is not very comfortable. So much for that awesome full-body massage Hubby and I had this past Saturday …
But mostly, I think the sleep deprivation was more because of the constant anxiety of having my Dad in the ICU and not knowing exactly what could happen next. It was the constant worry that Dad’s prognosis was not (ever) going to functionally improve. It was the fear that we wouldn’t know exactly how my Dad wanted us to proceed in his care … especially because he wasn’t “awake” to tell us. And even moreso, because my Dad did not have any Advanced Directives. He had not written down any of his wishes for us.
By Tuesday afternoon Mom, Dr. Bro and I had a very frank discussion about what we all felt should happen next. We discussed, as his immediate next of kins, what we all believed Dad would have wanted us to do. The good thing was that he had had the same discussion with all of us at one time or another. The sad thing was knowing that if we respected his wishes, we would run the risk of losing him sooner than we were ready to let him go.
In the end … and after discussion with the rest of my Dad’s siblings, we decided that we would respect my Dad’s wishes. We would remove the G*d-awful “Breathing Tube” and see how he did without the respirator. We would not … other than provide comfort measures only … perform any extraordinary measures to extend his life.
So today, just before noon, we removed the breathing tube. And the entire family stood around him praying … saying our good-byes to the incredible man we all loved so fiercely. And we waited … and waited.
And as of right now … we’re continuing to wait. Except we’re no longer in the ICU … we’re in the hospital’s Palliative Care/Hospice floor. Which is where we’ll continue to be until Dad’s finally at rest … where I hope his grand-furbaby Rain is waiting patiently to cuddle next to him.
Thank you all for for “cloaking” us with your kind prayers and positive vibes .. it means the world to me and my family.