Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Watching Your Parents Age

I see my folks are getting on and I watch their bodies change
I know they see the same in me and it makes us both feel strange

No matter how you tell yourself, it's what we all go through

Those lines are pretty hard to take when they're starin' back at you

Scared to run out of time – Nick of Time

It’s hard to watch your parents go through sickness toward death. My father is slowly dying because he is in heart failure and there is nothing they can do. He is so weak that the operation to fix his defibrillator would kill him. So they have him on hospice care and have turned off the defibrillator part and only the pacemaker remains. He has lost so much weight he is just skin and bones probably because the medication reduces his appetite over the last few years.

I went to see him on Sunday. He lives in Delaware so it’s a long way to go and I don’t get down there often. I speak to him on the phone pretty much weekly, and now a little bit more frequently, but it’s hard for him to string more than a few words together at a time. He was going in and out of sleep because it is hard for him to stay alert because of the weakness. But he was cognizant of my being there. He is on oxygen, which is helping some, but the organs are slowly shutting down and he doesn’t have much more time. My step-mother of course hopes for the best and every tiny change for the better makes her hope more. She is almost 15 years his junior. I don’t quite know why she would hope like that. It is so obvious that he is on death’s door and at this point they are just keeping him comfortable.

He made a statement to me on Sunday that the hardest part was the waiting. I agree. I can only imagine what he is going through knowing that he is dying soon and wondering why he is still alive. There is no quality of life there. I don’t hold out any hope that he will survive this, and that may be callus of me to say, but the man is 86 years old and has had heart problems since his 60s. Unless there was some fountain of youth that was discovered in the next few weeks he is going to go. Miracles like that just don’t happen to regular folk. I only pray that he doesn’t suffer and that he goes quietly and painlessly when the time come whenever that will be. In the meantime I have to contact him as much as possible and let him know I care despite our differences. He’s my father, after all.

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