Yesterday we visited Dad around lunchtime. He had been moved to a chair and had been able to sit for a few hours instead of lying in bed. We decided to let him have lunch in the dining room so he'd be among other people. He didn't say much as we sat with him. When the meal came he ate only about ten bites and had a lot of trouble swallowing, coughing after each bite. He then refused to eat anymore, turning his face away from the spoon (pureed food). He barely looked at us, but constantly stared into a corner of the room above the table. When I asked what he saw he said there was fog up there or that it was snowing. A while later, after he returned to his bed, he lay a while, again without looking at either Mom or me. He started talking about going back to the town they lived in when they were married. It finally became clear that he wanted to know where the man with the van was who was supposed to pick them up from a small town down the road and take them home. He also kept staring at a spot up above and was asking about a man, who he was and what he was doing. There was no one there.
Mom was silently crying and holding his hand. She kept asking him to turn his eyes and look at her so he'd know she was there. Once he asked "Where?" He would turn his eyes at times but still didn't seem to see us. I honestly believe he couldn't see us. Is that possible? He also asked where I was a couple of times. Then he asked for my Mom and began calling her name, something he did often while still at home. He called and called her name, would stop when she told him she was there holding his hand, then would start up again. He finally fell asleep.
Today around 9:30 AM the nurse at the NH called and said that Daddy seemed to be making another "decline". He only ate a couple bites of his breakfast and was just staring straight ahead. She said that his skin tone was also worsening. She had already called the hospice nurse. She also did not give Daddy his morning meds as she felt he might choke on them (powdered in pudding). We decided to try and get him up at lunch time to see if he "perks up". I don't think he will. She'll call me to let me know how he reacts. We've had sleet and snow all morning but it looks like its coming to an end. My husband (a Yankee who's used to the snow and ice!) is going to drive us to the NH in the early afternoon.
I know that the symptoms Daddy's showing indicate that the end is probably coming soon. I think the nurse feels that way also, she said it could be two days or two weeks. I don't know whether to be sad or happy. The last two weeks since Daddy broke his hip and had surgery have taken a toll on my Mom. She had just come to terms with him being in the NH. I think at this point that Dad's passing will be a relief for both of them. I know that sounds terrible.
Depending on what we find when we visit this afternoon we will probably decide to bring Daddy home and just have him on hospice services. They do such a wonderful job with him and I know Mom wants him to be at home when the time comes.
Please keep my Dad in your prayers.