For 3 months I had been driving to the hospital, taking in my one suitcase and pillow, staying for 3-4 days then driving home, only to return a couple of days later. My parents had been known all over the hospital because of their dual ‘residency’ that lasted for 5 weeks. Daddy’s stay lasted 13 weeks. Finally it was time for him to leave.
There is a lot that I don’t remember about that day. For instance, I think I took Daddy to the nursing home in my car, rather than the nursing home picking him up with the van, but I’m not sure. It seems that Daddy did have a radiation treatment that morning, Monday, June 30, and was dismissed from the hospital that afternoon.
Leaving was an emotional moment for both of us. The nurses on the physical therapy floor had been so wonderful and after those 6 or 7 weeks, were good friends. They all came to say goodbye to to Daddy, many with tears, knowing that his cancer was spreading quickly and that he did not have much time.
I am not sure about exactly how or when Daddy arrived at the nursing home, but I am sure of this one thing. After getting him settled in, I went to Taco Bell, ordered their Taco Salad, ate every bite, and then devoured a chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream cone-large. Yep, food helped me cope. It was my ‘drug of choice’. Not at good thing and I don’t recommend it. Eating for emotional reasons rather than hunger is a hard habit to break. I still struggle with it.
That evening we had our first hospice visit. The nurse came to set up Daddy’s medications. Our experiences with Hospice will be for another post, but for the sake of the story, let me just say my expectations did not match reality. Daddy and I did not realize that the meds given to him in the hospital could not be given at the nursing home. Daddy had his nighttine meds that helped him deal with pain and helped his sleep. We tried to help the hospice nurse understand that he needed those same meds. Because she had guidelines for medication that she had to follow, she would not fulfill Daddy’s medication wishes which we saw as needs. At the time, because I was looking at the situation with emotional lenses, I just felt that she was being uncooperative and uncaring. I also felt that we had been deceived.
I just began to cry. As much as I wanted to be strong, I just fell apart. Looking back on it, given the events of the day and the last several months, my tears were not inappropriate. It did surprise my parents, however, because they had not seen me cry during this entire crisis. In just a few minutes, I was back under control, strong once again.
The nurse finished prescribing the meds according to her guidelilnes and left. The day was almost done.
Tomorrow: Thank you,Sugar.