night falls fast- dad's last days?
I'm a first-time user but have been following your posts over my Dad's two-year battle with cancer. They have been an incredible help to me so far and I hope desperately to get some answers today, as night falls fast.
A potted history... My Dad was diagnosed in 2004 at the age of 57 (in the week my son was born) with stage 4 colon cancer with metastases to the liver. He has had a resection, chemo, an open-and-close liver op, ablasion, radiation- the works! When nothing slowed the relentless march of the cancer, he became quite heavily involved in the alternative health scene. I am a fan of alternative medicines but in this case what has proved ineffective has also proved damaging.
His strength and faith throughout this long, desperate ordeal has been exceptional and I believe it is this spirit that kept him alive for so long beyond his sell-by-date. My step-mother, however, believes that the homeopathic medicines did the job. Now, here's the dilemma...
He last saw Hospice in October last year and is taking the morphine and other pain medications prescribed then, when he was a much 'healthier' man. He has deteriorated very quickly now- his eyesight is going, he can't hear properly, he shakes consistently, he doesn't sleep for more than 30 minutes at a stretch, he is struggling with his speech. I never knew a human being could be so thin- all teeth and eyes. In short, he is dying. He is in such incredible pain (both physical and psychological) and is literally begging me to get Hospice in to ease his suffering. My step-mother is dead against Hospice and just today received a 1000 South African Rands worth of medicine from her"guru"- a package including vitamin B2, wintergreen, rescue remedy and iodine. He is in critical condition. I don't mean to sound so bitter but I am so angry that I am powerless to help fulfil his last wish- to die peacefully and with dignity.
I have twice broached the subject of Hospice with my step-mother and twice she has flatly refused to entertain the idea. I do understand how dearly she loves him and how different a wife's letting-go is to a daughter's, but is this not torture?
Are there any thoughts or suggestions on how I can convince her that he is already gone and an easy passing with the help of Hospice is the best option. Is it the best option? How long can he live in this kind of pain (he hasn't eaten for 2 months now)? Is it worth having the BIG fight with my step-mother? How quickly will his brain shut down on its own? He knows I have let him go. I love him so much, the thought of a world without him is unbearable. But his body is broken and I want him to meet my mother and brother and his mother and his father on the other side, from whom he has been separated for far too long. Should I leave it there having personally released him?
Please help. I feel quite desperate today.
Thanks to you all out there for listening to a small voice from the bottom end of Africa.
He deserves more than witchcraft and leaf teas.
He demanded for a real hospital, painkillers and nurses?
Grant it. Make it written, or record a video and please, call the (real) doctors to take him to a hospital.
If your mother-in-law loves so much alternative medicine, tell her to wait her turn. Pain is no fun.
Thanks for the reply. certainly pain 'aint no fun to watch.
An update... I had the final confrontation with my step-mother today (strengthened by cardoso's rather unequivocal reply). She met me half way by agreeing to get the house doctor in this afternoon. He has upped the morphine dose, prescribed Aldactin and Lacex and has insisted on a daily update. I feel so relieved. A small victory for my very special father.
She's still giving him a truckload of Hulda Clarke's miracle cures though(despite his saying he would rather die than swallow another bullet of grass- he can barely swallow water for goodness sake!) Anyhow...those are the politics of family. I look forward to seeing a more peacful Dad tomorrow on Spring Day in South Africa.
Thanks again. It helped greatly to hear that my anger was justified and that it was not just the easy anger of grief.
Glad to know.
Just feel a bit sorry about the grass balls, but we canīt win all the time
Just wanted to say that YES you are doing the right thing. Your stepmother is not ready to let go and is not thinking right in this situation. I am sorry for your suffering. My prayers are with you.
God bless and be well....
Dx 3-17-05,breast cancer
40 yrs young, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, 2.5cm
ER+/PR+, Her-2/neu Negative, Grade and Stage 2
1 Sentinel node pos. 17 neg., chemo AC/Taxol ,