My father was diagnosed with throat cancer a year ago. He is 89, agreed to try radiation and chemo, They placed a gastric feeding tube before the radiation, knowing he would encounter problems eating etc from the treatment. He started treatment in January and by Feb he was using the tube 80% of the time, radiation had killed off his taste buds and salivary gland function, only able to swallow juice and maybe milkshakes. By summer, he was pretty much only on the tube feeding. In July, he was told the treatment had failed and there was no more to do. He was having a lot of pain by then, so hospice was called in. Initially, we thought this was "too much too soon" but started the process. One of the consent forms, besides DNR choices, has an option for feeding tubes. Since his was already in, he checked that he wants it. He did deteriorate quickly and within a month, he became mostly bedridden. We (me and hospice) have continued his feeding by tube. All his medications are administered by tube. He has become more and more disoriented, still has significant pain even with hospice meds. He hasn't eaten anything in over 6 months. If he did not have this tube, he would have passed already. At the risk of sounding heartless, I just cant see still tube feeding him when he is basically 'gone" but just keeping his body alive for years. As it is, he's already down to 115lbs. He is fading away, even with the feedings. I just feel like this is prolonging his suffering but not feeding him is not an option. He does not have enough of his wits about him to change the directive. I want some peace for him .. feel like I'm on a tightrope. I am caring for him alone, just me and my 13 year old grandson.
I guess I erally didn't have a question, just need to vent in a safe place! Thank you!