March 22, 2015

My father-in-law was moved from the hospital to the hospice center today. It has been a long road up to this point.

On the 21st of January, we had to rush over to my in-law’s house as my mother-in-law was worried for her husband. We looked at him and called an ambulance. While in the hospital, they found that due to an infection on his foot that did not get treated, he had sepsis, something a lot of people die from. After several days, they got him stabilized and sent him to a rehab facility. 

While at the Cypress Village rehab center, the total scope of modern medicine fell to its knees. He was not able to feed himself, and all the staff did was put his food by him and then take it away after a while. Every person we talked to kept telling us, “I really don’t know. I’ve only been here a few days.” Yes, very scary. (Because he was here is why my wife could not go with me to Baltimore for my Dad’s funeral.)

The rehab center found he was not doing well, and sent him back to the hospital. After getting him over yet another infection, they sent him to a different rehab center. These people seemed to be doing better, but then he started slipping downhill again, and ended up back in another hospital.

Friday, we met with Palliative Care, and they explained that they were caught in this cycle of fighting infections that won’t go away. He had not eaten in over a week. He refused any food. They felt that there was no curing him, and that to try, we were only prolonging his pain. At that time, we decided to let him go. Up until that point, I felt that he was still in his body. In fact meeting with the hospice representative the yesterday, I still felt that way. She said he was showing signs of pain, which regular doctors and nurses don’t recognize. 

Actually, the concept is interesting. Hospitals work to do their best to make people better. There are signs they miss because they are focused on one thing, even when that one thing is something they can never do. Hospice people treat pain with drugs to relieve pain and drugs to calm one down, and keep them relaxed until they pass.

We did get over to the hospice after he arrived. He was sleeping, and I noticed that he was standing across the room from his bed. He was looking at his wife, and I had an overwhelming feeling of concern for her. She was still having problems dealing with it.

He did look much, much younger. In fact, it was like a picture of him back at the house, much younger, much thinner. I knew he was ready to leave.