My father has been through alot over the last years - heart valve replacements, minor surgeries, last year diagnosed with lung cancer and got through chemo sucecssfully this year. However, he has been struck with an MRSA lung infection and has been in hospital for last 2 weeks getting weaker and weaker. I don't want to give up hope but I am preparing for the worse. My biggest emotional struggle is that my father is still very engaged with the world around him - even though he is weak, needs ventilation support, he still can have a joke, write notes, scold us for staying too long - yet physically he is deteriorating. I don't know how to feel about this - it feels so unfair to him, and I feel confused. Just looking for advice on how to cope through this
If you really think that your father's time is drawing near, perhaps you can focus on helping to prepare. Does he have a spiritual advisor? Has he made his final wishes known? Are you prepared? Do you have his medical POA and DNR directive?
Maybe if you have all these things in order, it will help you to focus on the present and enjoy whatever time is left.
In the meantime, spend as much time as you can with him. Sounds like he is in good spirits. Focus on things that bring him joy....this isn't the time to express regrets. Bring him pleasant music or anything else he likes. Can he have any food treats? Let him know what a great Dad he as been but it is okay to move on to the next life. Sometimes family member hang on for their familys' sake.
Do you have a spiritual advisor or a counselor? It may help you through this difficult time. Also, everyone in this forum has been through all the stages of caregiving and are most generous about sharing their experiences.
There is just no "manual" for this time in life...I wish there were.
Use this time as a blessing. It sounds like you already are. There are so many people who must watch their loved ones lay nearly unconscious for long periods before they die.
This is precious time. Joke along with him, tell him you love him, share family photos, touch him, love him. You are making memories to last your lifetime.
We all die, and there's pain when we lose someone we love. These memories will help sustain you should this be his last illness.
Please take care of yourself, too. If you feel the need, visit with a spiritual leader of your choice or the hospital chaplain. They can be very helpful.