I'm on a roller coaster and I can't get off.

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hi all. I will try and keep this brief but I probably won't be successful. 2 weeks ago my 83 year old father fell, fractured his hip and had surgery, which went really well. had to have breathing tube in for anesthesia, went to ICU to be monitored. Dad had been making small improvements each day. Was there for 5 days. some dementia due to pain, lack of sleep,stressful environment. then we had "update meeting" with ICU medical director, one of Dad's doctors, his nurse and a resident. Long story short, they suggested that he wasn't getting better and we should start considering hospice. This is because Dad has clot in arm and ct scan taken day before fall showed a mass in colon "suspicious for cancer." they can't do a colonscopy/biopsy because he may not tolerate it. so he is "presumably diagnosed with colon cancer." Said they cannot treat clot for fear of bleeding into hip surgical area. My family was not expecting this whatsoever and we thought this decision had been made too quickly.Dad had some confused rambling but every so often he was "there". He recognized that 8/22 was their anniversary. and various things like that. Sister in from NJ (psychologist and has been thru this before with partner's stepmother.) Very take charge woman (almost too much) and is not taking care of herself. Brother wife and toddler son flew in from Scotland. both siblings are very helpful in their own ways. We expressed our disagreement with the doctors' decision. Had a second meeting with palliative care nurse practitioner and hospital social worker. MUCH better. asked many questions about what Dad was like before fall, which we appreciated since Dad is a retired optometrist and although was showing gradual decline, still was "with it" in many ways. ICU doctor released Dad and moved to Palliative Care. my mother, sister and brother are taking "shifts" being with him. It's a heckuva lot quieter, he'll be getting massage therapy and my dog (therapy dog) will be able to visit. Family members can stay overnite. I believe hip wound healed enough so that he could be put on blood thinner for the clot.
I am in graduate school (last year) and I reduced my class load to part time (Mom wanted me to have a distraction.) Sister returns to NJ Monday (although doesn't want to go), brother returns September 11 but he can extend trip if needed.
Since he 'presumably" has colon cancer but can't have any diagnostic tests they can't tell us exactly how long he has.
It is really hard for me to keep everything straight because it all is happening so fast. Especially the medical stuff. I think the hardest part for me was seeing dad's dementia. God I hate that word, even though I know it's just a clinical term.
Thanks for letting me vent. I'm not worried about bills - Dad has HMO and I have an insurance background so I'll make sure insurance behaves themselves. This is probably a good time to be added to my parents' medical power of attorney right? Is that a very involved process?
I've always said on here that "I am not a caregiver yet" but it looks like I just went to "not a caregiver yet" to having to get ready to say goodby to my beloved father. Anyone have any advice for me? Has anyone had this happen only to see their parent recover, or is that wishful thinking? thanks so much for reading. Love to all.

1 Comment

not much consolation but i read the newspapers and your dad has been blessed with an additional decade that the average man doesnt have . it comforted my mom somewhat when id remind her that she was fortunate to live to 81 and my aunt always gets a wry smile when i remind her that 90 years is a long time .
id suggest letting or prompting your dad to talk about his long life . his legacy is probably his biggest concern right now and people should listen and acknowlege his accomplishments..

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