It seems my posts have been rather sad. I apologize for that. This past Saturday my husband's dad passed into glory. He had suffered many years from COPD, he had adult failure to thrive, dementia, and he had a number of falls. He wasn't getting any better in the skilled nursing so he was on hospice home care. The hospice nurses were really great.
We thought he had more time though. The hospice nurses had provided a handbook about hospice care and all it involved. There is a section that explains the signs of approaching death. Starting with a month down to minutes before death occurs. I didn't see the signs listed in the handbook or so I thought.
The book mentions one of the signs is talking to someone who isn't there. He was doing that a few days prior to his passing, but we thought he was talking in his sleep. He was sitting in his easy chair just chattering away. Then a week ago he had his last fall and it was downhill from there. He had this terrible cough for which his hospice doctor prescribed medicine for. I remember how congested dad sounded it sounded so rattled. I know now it was the "death rattle". I remembered that sound when my dad died from a heart attack many years ago.
There's another thing the hospice book mentioned the person asking about home. Dad had asked my husband Tim when he was going home. Tim thought Dad was confused about where he was so he explained he was home. Then the other signs were lack of urine output which I thought was urinary retention caused by possible constipation. He was on pain medicine but we also gave him medicine to prevent constipation. He ate very little and didn't even finish the ice cream I gave him that Friday. He loved ice cream. And the thing was he was very alert and was able to ask for things he needed. I gave him some cough medicine and pain medicine at 4 Saturday morning tucked him in and that would be the last time we saw him alive.
I woke up around 8:30am and he wasn't coughing and I assumed the cough medicine had done it's job job. I peeked in on him without going into the room and assumed he was sleeping and he was sleeping on his side. Again I thought oh good he was able to get comfortable enough to turn on his side to sleep so I decided I won't bother him yet.
At around 10 I decided I check to see if he wanted breakfast and perhaps get out of bed and sit in the living room. I walked in quietly glanced at him and noticed Dad's eyes were partially open I din't get alarmed right away but we he didn't acknowledge my presence I knew something terribly wrong. I touched his hands and they were cold. I grabbed my stethoscope and there was no heartbeat. Life had fled from dad.
The whole thing was and still is surreal. From the time the hospice nurses came to when the mortuary people came. That was really weird. I expected an ugly white van but instead it was a nice grey car. The man and woman who came were dressed up in their Sunday go to meeting clothes.
I realize this post has become a ramble and I apologize for that. Something I realized when I discovered that Dad has passed away is I wasn't squeamish. I didn't freak out.
Though my father in law is gone and we are sad, we rejoice his suffering over. It's taken me several days to write this post. It's just been very hard to write.