Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Update on my dad

Sunday I decided to forego the Superbowl party I had been invited to because I wanted to watch it with my dad. He has continued to rapidly go downhill. It started a couple years ago with prostate cancer and then the cancer spread to his lymph nodes, bones, lungs, and now (I suspect) to his brain. The reason my cousin and her husband came in several days ago was to see him once more before he left us. He decided to treat the cancer alternatively. I'm not sure what my final opinion of that will be. The clinic he went to was in Seattle, and to my knowledge the doctor has not checked up on him. My dad was taking about 20 different supplements and on a very strict diet. The past several months Cindy and I have noticed him becoming less sharp. He started cheating on his diet around late November and into December. It was about that time that he took a big turn for the worse. I have kept after him to see someone locally so that they can keep tabs on his progress. I let up a little in January because he told me he had an appointment February 6th with the doctor who treated his lungs. He has not left the house for several weeks because of his back pain, so I had volunteered to come over and take him to the doctor on the 6th.

When Cindy and I went over to my parents' place to watch the Superbowl I asked him what time his appointment was so that I'd know when to show up. He had forgotten about it and simply said he couldn't go. I told him I'd order an ambulance ride. He said that would be too expensive. I said I was confident the insurance would pay for it and would cover it myself if they did not. He refused. We went "several rounds" on it and I finally let up. He soon fell asleep due to being so weak. After the game I brought it up again and said I could rent a wheelchair which would cost much less than an ambulance ride. He refused that as well. I left very frustrated.

It is my opinion that he knows he is dying and he wants to go at home where he is comfortable. This may be selfish, but I am looking at things in terms of how I will deal with it when he does go. If I just let him wither away at home, will I feel tremendous guilt for not intervening and forcing him to get treatment? If I worked it out for him to go to the doctor (who would definitely hospitalize him) and he died at the hospital, would I feel guilty for not allowing him to go at home? I am quite certain that he is beyond the point where conventional medicine could help. If he had not crossed that point, I probably would have worked it out for him to be hospitalized, but I didn't. The thought of being hit with the reality of his condition and being amongst strangers and an unfamiliar bed may be scaring my dad, so I let him miss the appointment. Thus far, his appointment has not been rescheduled. I hope I did the right thing. I have these nagging thoughts that maybe he thinks he is doing okay and does not realize how bad he is. If that's the case, maybe seeing a doctor and getting a dose of reality would be good. The doctor could order whatever treatment is necessary. I just don't know what's going on in his head. Any thoughts or suggestions? Anyone been in this situation before? It's all new to me, so I'd very much appreciate your prayers and any insight you may have.

9 Comments:

At 2/09/2006, Blogger Kitty Cheng said...

I was only a teenager when my dad passed away. My mum had been in this situation before. She chose to let my dad spend the last days of his life at home.

Sure will pray for you and your dad.

 
At 2/09/2006, Blogger Patchouli said...

Martin, I believe that God loves us so much that He gave us the power of choice. Sometimes it is all we have left.
Maybe it is time to let go of getting better and allow the good-byes to begin.

 
At 2/09/2006, Blogger Aim Claim said...

I think you handled it the right way. I feel like people so often keep family members alive because they don't want to say goodbye, not because the dying want to stay alive. Being with your dad and being supportive of what your dad wants to do is important right now. I will keep you and your father in my prayers.

 
At 2/09/2006, Blogger pomegranate said...

I'm in a similar position and fascinated to read how you're doing with your dad.

 
At 2/09/2006, Blogger wilsonian said...

Mark- I'm sorry that you're in such a difficult position. There are no perfect answers. But you already know that.

I also think you've done the right thing.

 
At 2/09/2006, Blogger Patchouli said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2/09/2006, Blogger Patchouli said...

Mark, my apologies for calling you Martin. I blame multi-tasking.

 
At 2/09/2006, Blogger CJ said...

i think you did the right thing as well. i know it wasn't easy and it won't be. but you have to trust that he will be taken care of. praying for you...
cja

 
At 2/10/2006, Blogger Patti said...

My father died last August from cancer. He never had the chance to go back home. He spent 8 months in a nursing home. He always wanted to be home. It was physically impossible for him to come home. A friend of mine husband died and she brought him home. If he knows he is dying,it's ok. I believe we need to respect the person's wishes. While saying this, I know it must be hard on you. The best thing I did was to buy a small portable DVD player and watch the movie "Oklahoma" with him. He loves musicals. He was fading in and out-but always woke up when the songs came on. I also was able to tell him things (while semi-conscious)that I could not tell him if he was awake. Our family is not a touchy-feeling type.
It will hurt. I'm crying as I type this. I will pray for you, your dad and your family.

 

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