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Examiner
  • Sandy Turner: Making difficult decisions for dad

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  • We were coming home from the third evening meeting of the week. I was lost in a slow-brewing pity party when I checked my phone. I had missed a call from the nursing home. With a pounding heart and sweaty palms, I called them back.
    I was hoping it would just be the usual call report he had fallen and was already up and at it again. At this time of the evening, it could have been a number of things, since Dad tends to be a night owl. The nurse said he was pacing, although this time, they believed it was because he was in pain.
    The doctor thinks Dad has prostate cancer and those sensitive places on his body are swollen. I made the decision to not put him through a biopsy and tests to confirm the diagnosis. I'm hoping this is the right decision, but that's all I can do is hope, because at this point, that's all I have. Having hospice involved in this process helps in so many ways, from making sure Dad's comfortable, to reassuring me it's OK not to rush him to the hospital every time a new symptom appears.
    When cancer was taking away mom's life, she was capable of making the decision herself to deny treatment. With a diagnosis of less than three months to live, she wanted to be home and we made that happen. Hospice helped guide us through those last days and I was thankful for their support. The main goal was to make sure she was comfortable and I didn't hesitate giving her the medicines she needed to be able to leave us peacefully.
    With Dad's care being in the hands of someone else, I feel helpless. I want them to give him whatever he needs to be comfortable. With him not being able to verbalize, I need to make sure he isn't in pain. He still wants to be mobile, so it's a fine line to know what to give him because he's already prone to falling without being drugged up, although he's really at the point now it takes two people to get him up out of a chair or bed, he's become so weak.
    My heart aches and although I wish he were in the state of mind he could comprehend how much I love and miss him, I'm also hoping the dementia has taken away any fears he might have.
    I was quiet on the ride home, aside from sniffling back tears. Knowing I wouldn't want to talk about the inevitable, my understanding guy turned the radio to the baseball game, one of the many background noises I consider to be soothing.
    Dad loved everything about baseball. He'd sit for hours and watch every game he could. I miss the days of writing in the notebook I'd leave for him every day with the times and channels of games to watch and then come home that evening to hear him rant and rave thinking he had missed all of them because he'd already forgotten that days' events.
    Page 2 of 2 - I think Dad is getting ready to make a run for home base, and I'm not ready.
    Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at sandydownhome@hotmail.com
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