Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ups and Downs

So my visit home was as good as can be expected.  Things are what they are - my grandfather is in hospice.  He's lost a ton of weight.  He barely eats. He has good days and bad.  He's getting a lot of morphine to help with his breathing, sleeping pills every night, and has had both a hallucination the other week and a paranoid episode Friday night.  His mind is pretty sharp most of the time, but it's hard to understand him at times because his mouth is so dry that it's hard to talk.

I'm really glad I got to see him and spend time with him. I saw both good visits and bad visits during my brief stay.  I got to hear some more of his stories, see him laugh, hear him tell jokes.  Those things are a gift.  The rest is hard.  He's skin and bones basically.  He can't move without assistance.

I get daily updates from my family on how he's doing.  It's hard, too.  Monday, not good.  Tuesday, good.  Today, not great.

It's hard to not be there.  It's hard to be there.  I wake up every day afraid that I'll have a message with bad news.  My mom has already told me that she will wait until morning to call me if anything happens because a middle of the night call wouldn't do me any good.  I couldn't get there any faster.

In the meantime I'm here, doing all the normal things I can.  Monday was awful.  I camped out in my office with the door closed all day.  I was short tempered and sad and cried multiple times behind closed doors.  Yesterday was marginally better.  Today the same, marginally better again.  I'm trying to focus on the things I have going on here while continuing to get the updates from the family.  I'm trying to not play the guessing game of how long he'll be around.

One day we were there he really thought he was going to die that day and kept telling us that.  That day, when pressed by my mom, the hospice nurse speculated he had a few days to a week.  Later that weekend when he was doing better my mom decided that she felt he had longer than that.

My mom tends to spin things more positively when the day is not terrible.  I trust her version of things less than those of my brothers.  Oh yeah, I'm talking to the self-imposed exile brother via LinkedIn, pretty much solely about my grandfather.  The past is the past right now as far as I'm concerned, and I'm just glad he's been visiting my grandfather.

Today both brothers ended up there at the same time.  One brother gave me his take (Grandfather not feeling great.  Hadn't eaten anything again yet that day.  Had medicine for breathing, hard to hear when he talks, but he was clear headed.)  Other brother supposed to also update me, but we'll see. Mom will go tonight and will also update.  So many updates.  So much information that just jerks you in one direction only to jerk you in another a few hours later.  I both want and dread the updates. The bad updates are really upsetting, and the "good" updates feel so fleeting and like they are just the calm before the storm.

This weekend my grandfather told my brother and I that he hoped he went quickly.  He actually said, "I hope I go like this" and snapped his fingers weakly.  I hope he does, too, whenever it happens.  His body is tired, he's ready to go be with my grandma.  He's ready.


  1. It's time for him. He knows it. When my granddad was going we kept talking about what he was holding on to, why wasn't he going. He was so ready and sounds just like your grandfather. However, Granddad has dementia and kept forgetting Mimi has passed away, so we think he was holding on for her...he didn't want to leave her behind. Not realizing that where he was going, she was waiting for him. Prayers for these last few days.

    1. Thank you. Weirdly, he's had a better few days, so I really don't know what's going on anymore. Still having some paranoid hallucinations (telling people to look behind doors that aren't there), but he's eating a little. I'm glad he'll be around to see his son and his wife this weekend.

  2. I'm so sorry, this is such a rough thing to go through. I'm glad that your grandfather is in good spirits and accepting of the inevitable. Sending you good thoughts.

    1. It's so weird. Truly so many wild swings. My mom keeps thinking he's "getting better", but I think that's wishful thinking. I do think he'll be around longer than I thought when I visited, though.