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The End Stages of Life

Father and Daughter

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My Dad and His End Stage of Life

This is a very personal account of my own father in his end stages of life. I am sitting here in his hospital room and watching him sleep. I could very easily walk out of this room and go home, go shopping or do some insignificant task. I choose to sit with him even though he does not know I am here in his room with him. Occasionally he opens his eyes and looks at me long enough to share he is not doing well. Yes, it is depressing, yes it is tiring sitting here hour after hour, but moslty it is a privilege.



Family

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Father and Daughter

I sit here and think of all of the moments he held me and walked me as an infant or a toddler. I think of the times he held me when I was sick or sad. It is my time to give back to my daddy as he is now the one in need.

I also think of the times when I was broke and he unselfishly handed me some money to tide me over. I think of the times he let me cry on his shoulder when I was sad.

I am very honored to be here to feed him when he feels up to eating. I just finished giving him a hair cut even though he does not know what he looks like. He always cared about keeping himself groomed. I gave him a shave until his face felt smooth. He was always careful to do so in order that he would not scratch my face on his rough beard. He also did so for his grandchildren as well.

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Decisions

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Tough Decisions

My father was brought to this hospital because in the middle of the night he could not stand, as he was in great pain. We learned his kidneys had shut down. He has congestive heart failure, his heart is functioning at ten percent, he has diabetes and has been getting leg ulcers. Presently they have healed to an extent, but this has been an ongoing challenge in the past two years.

My siblings and I were faced with the decision of whether to support my father going on dialysis. We first opted out but changed our minds. We got the feeling that the doctors did not concur with our decision. We understand their opinions and why they feel this way. We are operating from the perspective of it being our father and are not ready to say goodbye.

My father is responding well to the dialysis in respect to his kidneys but he is lying in his bed very uncomfortable. I debate my decisions in my mind. Still our father has come back from many other health challenges and I want to give him that opportunity once again.

I keep praying and trusting that at some point we will get clarity on whether we are making the right decision for him. He is somewhat coherent and is on board thus far with our decisions. I wonder however if he is doing that for us and not for himself.

Decision to Give Up on Dialysis

My father finally made the decision to end his dialysis treatments. I whole-heartedly supported his decision. We had a long talk about quality of living. My father was in pain daily. He kept stating that his tailbone hurt. It turned out it was not his tailbone but his tissue had broken down on his scrotum due to incontinence. Being a female I was unable to know this. I do not want to place blame. I do, however, feel this was up to the medical staff to know and convey this information to the family. My father is now at peace. I do not wish to go back and point fingers. I only share this, as if even one person reads this it may help them to know this information.

I have not one regret about the time I spent with my father. As difficult as it was working full time then driving to the nursing facility and spending my evening with my father it is a time I will always treasure.

Did I ever complain? Of course I did. I vented to friends who understood it was a challening time. Allow yourself to do that. It will be challenging. Still, I am here to assure you that when your loved one passes on, you will be completely happy that you had that time together

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