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Too late... - Unbeliever's Land
...The continuing chronicles...
unbeliever64
unbeliever64
Too late...
I'm back at work today, so I'll keep this short.

Today is the "swallowing test". So long as Harold can chew and swallow food, then he's out of the woods, and the next steps are physical therapy, and a nursing home.

I still haven't had a chance to speak with him directly -- he's still in Intensive Care until he passes the swallowing test.

Part of me feels like I've failed him -- I'm not sure if there WAS a window where we could have legally let him die peacefully, since he was already on the breathing tubes by the time we learned of his condition, but if there WAS a window, it's virtually closed now. Now, he has no choice but to live with the cards he's been dealt.

If he CAN'T swallow, we still have orders not to insert a feeding tube -- but even that is a bit dicey, now that he's awake and responding fairly well. I doubt this will come up though. The docs apparently think he'll be able to swallow just fine.

So that's it. Even if he were to continue to assert that he wants to die, all they can do is put him in a nursing home and let him spend his remaining time alone, half-paralyzed and miserable.

We are still going to be in the loop for deciding WHAT facilities he ends up in (if he's going to live, he only wants to be in the VA system -- he wouldn't have gone to the hospital where he is now at all, if he'd had any choice). And I suspect we're going to have to have his bills forwarded to us and arrange to pay them out of his bank accounts. And figure out what to do about his house while he's alive, but not living in it. (Probably have a neighbor empty the fridge and pantry, and unplug the fridge. And then probably continue paying for power, for the rare occasions someone needs to enter the house for some reason).

But the current Harold health crisis seems to be over. I just wish I thought this was the outcome he'd have chosen..

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Current Emotional State: blah blah

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Comments
kshandra From: kshandra Date: April 10th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so sorry, Reed. I still can't quite bring myself to wish someone dead, but clearly he isn't living like this.
unbeliever64 From: unbeliever64 Date: April 10th, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's where we are. It feels ghoulish to have fought so hard to let someone die, especially as they "recover" so well.

If he hadn't specifically told us that he'd never want to live, dependent on machines and other people in some nursing home, we could have never done it.

We know it wasn't *US* "wishing him dead"; we were just following his instructions. But still, it's a hard thing to fight so hard for someone you care about to die.

You can't HELP but love the old coot.

All we can do now is hope he doesn't suffer in the nursing home, and that his NEXT stroke kills him quickly, so he (and, yes, we) don't have to go through all this again...
krascal75 From: krascal75 Date: April 10th, 2007 11:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
What a hard situation. You're right to attempt to follow Harold's wishes- even though it's very hard on you and Angela.
amaebi From: amaebi Date: April 11th, 2007 01:39 am (UTC) (Link)

FWIW

I honestly think you've done the best you could with the situation as you have found it, at each point. And-- most unusually-- I think that "the best you could" applies in pretty much any sense you or I would be likely to take it.
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