coming home

by Bella Rum

I’m losing track of days. All I know is that Dad is coming home today. I believe it was Friday night when Shanna relieved us around 5:30 pm. We had to go home and get our medications, some papers and clothes. I told her I was reluctant to leave him. He did not look good.

Shanna is a nurse in Dad’s doctor’s office, and I have complete confidence in her. She is overqualified for this job. She called on Saturday morning to  tell me she couldn’t bring Dad around. She performed a sternum thump, which is very painful, and he didn’t respond. When the EMTs arrived, a six-foot guy performed the sternum thump and only got a low murmur out of him. Shanna said he was dehydrated. We had tried to push liquids on him for a couple of days, but it obviously was not enough.

At the hospital, they revived him with lots of IVs, ran tests and kept him for several days. He is very weak, and there was some confusion the first day or two. He can barely talk, but he knows what’s happening now. The confusion is gone and he is sharp again. He’s aspirating – food and liquids go to his lungs. It’s all going to his lungs. There will be no stomach tube this time. He is seven years older and seven years more debilitated. The biggest difference is that he no longer has the fight. He is so debilitated. Even though no one told him, he told my brother and me that he was dying and wanted to go home. He will be transported home today.

Sweet Shanna has directed us every step of the way. She chose the best hospice organization and set everything up for us. She told me when I was being manipulated by the hospital doctor and the language to  use to get what I wanted. She has offered to come by this week and stay with Dad for a couple of hours if we need to get out of the house. She’s done everything she could to help while never getting in the way. She is an angel.

We will bring him home later today. Unless his swallowing miraculously returns, there is no hope. We will feed him if he wishes. We will give him water if he wishes. As always, he will bait his own line and call all the shots.