Tuesday, September 30, 2008

too many decisions

I had a meeting at the hospital yesterday, with Dad's social worker, K, and the Palliative Care Coordinator, J.

Dad is still very, very sick. His lungs will be an ongoing problem because of the COPD. His heart, although functioning normally now, will also need to be closely monitored because of his irregular heart beat and congestive heart failure. Because of the blood clot in his arm, he will always need to be on closely monitored blood thinners. His liver abcesses have healed, but will always hold the potential for disaster. His kidneys and urinary tract are always in danger of failing and infection, as his prostate is enlarged to the point of needing surgical intervention. He is far too sick to handle surgery, so the only option is to keep him on a catheter. His feeding tube will keep him hydrated and meet his most basic nutritional needs, but it will not provide him with the additional energy needed to build up his strength.

He still wants to go home. He told us yesterday that he's going to be in the hospital for a few days, then go to rehab for a few days, and then he'll be able to go home.

His reality is that he'll never again go home. He will likely leave the hospital to go to rehab. But, he won't be able to keep up with the pace of rehab, and will be forced to a) leave the facility, or b) private pay (not an option). He will then have the choice of "going home" where he will need to private pay for 24 hour care, or going to a medicaid available nursing home. The only other option, which Grumps & I are discussing (but have not yet mentioned to Dad), is for him to come home with us. In this situation, someone could be with him round the clock, and he'd have the funds to pay for some specialized care (light physical therapy, specialized nursing care, nursing assistant to help with bathing, etc). Any of the above options would allow us to call in hospice, when the time is right.

My heart wants to go for the last option. I want to bring him home, and let him sit in his recliner and smoke his cigarettes and drink his coffee and watch a college football game. My head is TERRIFIED of doing this. Can I handle bringing my Dad home to die? Can Grumps & I handle the stress that this set of circumstances would undoubtedly put on us as individuals, and on our marriage? I would still need to work, so is it fair and right for me to ask Grumps to do SO MUCH of the care-taking during the day?

I honestly don't know what to do. There are so many options, choices, decisions to be made. And I'm simply incapable. I feel as though whatever path I choose will be the wrong one - either for Dad, or for Grumps & I.


Lori said...

Oh, Beth. It does seem to be too much, too many.

I am wishing for you that the resources you need come your way.

Kaci said...

(((hugs))) I wish there were easy answers.

Meredith said...

((hugs)) I am sorry for all the decisions you have to make. We are praying for you!

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

Thinking of you and praying that the right decision for all of you becomes clear soon. ((HUGS))

Jen Hanson said...

What would your father want ?

ICLWeek September 21st - 28th

Guatebaby said...

We are thinking of you, and all these tough decisions you have to make. I hope things go as well as they possibly can.

take care

chicklet said...

Ugh, I just don't even know what to say. You've got some terrible options ahead of you. If you can, take your time - this'll be big and deserves as much time as you can give it.

nancy said...

Oh boy. What a decision to have to make. Something no one would want to make. I wish I was able to help, but unfortunately, I can't. I can only tell you what you already know, which is do whatever the option is that won't make you feel guilty in the end.


Becky T-Florida said...

I just discovered your blog today and read all your posts (ok i did skimm a few!).
Are we sisters??? Your exactly one day older than me (i have infertility issues too, husband is also 5 years older than me and tons more) and some of your thought are exactly what i would say/think!!!! I wish you lived in Florida!
I know exactly what you are going throught with you dad. But Mine is 69, stage 4 cancer only has a few months to live, but he's 1500 miles from me and lives with my mom.
I wish your father well! keep up the awesome blog!!

Emily (Apron Strings) said...

Oh Beth ... I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. I know these are tough decisions to make and yet somehow, I have this feeling that you and the rest of your family will figure this out. HUGS!

Lorie said...

I know what you are going thru. too many tough decisions. Just take one day at a time. And be confident in your ability to love and your husbands to support you. I took care of my mother-in-law at home. Now she is in a nursing home with Hospice. Please if you have any questions Maybe I can help, it's a tough procedure. My mother-in-law has cancer.