Friday, January 8, 2010

A Sad But Necessary Ending!! :(

Hey Ya'll,

Sorry that I haven't posted in so long!!  Come to think of it, some may be relieved, as I post so much!!  Anyway,  My SIL, DH & I drove to Carson City, NV, Monday morning to go to my FIL'S bedside.  As soon as we walked into the room & saw him, we knew that he would not be coming out of the Hospital this time.

He was unable to respond verbally, & I am not even sure that he knew that any of us was there.  He would occasionally open his eyes when one of the Nurses was taking care of him, but no real indication that he was aware of who was taking care of him at all.

Shortly after we arrived at the Hospital (noonish), my MIL, & other two SIL'S left the three of us to stay with him.  After 8.5 hours, my DH & I were going to go to my SIL'S house nearby for the night, while my SIL that drove up with us said that she would keep vigil through the night.  By this time, we hadn't eaten since about 11 am & we were starving.  So we stopped at Taco Bell for some food & barely finished eating, when we received a call from my SIL at the Hospital, letting us know that since my FIL may not make it through the night, & they had some private rooms available, they were going to move him into one, so we could have some privacy while he was dying. 

My SIL didn't want to stay alone after my FIL'S prognosis worsened, so the three of us stayed the night.  By about 3-4 am, my DH & SIL were really tired, so I convinced them to take a short nap while I stayed awake keeping vigil.  The room was fairly large & had plenty of room for two chairs (one that opened up like a recliner) & a long sofa.  Because it was obvious that he would not be getting better, the Doctor changed his care to "comfort care" only.  So he was given Morphine for the pain at 2 hour intervals & oxygen.  I stayed in the chair that faced the bed so that I could watch him. 

His symptoms during this time was just labored breathing.  Because he was dying of Cirrhosis of the Liver, he was filling up with fluids faster than could be taken out of him.  Plus, since he was in the later stages, they were no longer trying to drain him of the excess fluids.  Throughout the night, we noticed him moving through different stages, each one getting progressively worse.  By about 1 am, his throat started making occasional gurgling sounds (from the fluid in his lungs, etc.).  So we just sat there, talked some & watched him struggle for every breath he took, while praying that his suffering would soon end.

We didn't expect him to last the whole night, but he did.  We believe that he was waiting for my MIL to come back.  She finally arrived at 7:40 am.  My SIL had gone down to get some coffee & when my DH saw that his mom was out in the hallway, he went to go update her of my FIL'S condition.  As soon as he was out the door, my FIL opened his eyes (unseeing of course) & made movement like he was in distress (his throat had been making the gurgling sounds more constant through the night, and by this time, it was constant).  His breathing had changed substantially, so that it was obvious that he was almost gone.  So I ran out to the hall to advise them that I thought he was about to die.

With five of us there in the room with him.  My DH, SIL, MIL, her friend & I, he began the last stage of his fight for breath.  My MIL'S friend was a Nurse in the Hospital ICU Unit & advised us of what to expect.  After about 10 minutes, the gurgling noise stopped & he was just opening his mouth like he was gasping for breath, but no sound could be heard & no breath was being taken in.  His lungs were totally filled with fluid by this time.  So we watched him take his last breaths.  My DH & I had not planned on being there for the actual death, but it came so sudden, that we couldn't leave gracefully.  It was a totally surreal experience, but one we hope to not have to go through again.

We spent the next 20 minutes saying our goodbyes while waiting for the Head Nurse to come in & officially declare him dead.  Once this happened, we were expected to leave, so they could ready the room for the next patient.  Once we left the Hospital, we were to meet the family at my MIL'S house.  BUT, when we got out to our car, we realized that when my DH had moved our vehicle around to the Emergency Entrance late that night, he forgot to put up my Handicap Placard & we had been cited with a $250 fine!! 

So, on top of what we had just went through, we had to find the local City Hall to see about the ticket.  Luckily, the girl working the window could see that we were in great distress (I had been crying for over two hours by this time) & when we explained that we were from California & had forgotten to put up my placard & that my FIL had just died, she waived the fees, once I could show proof that I had a placard & that it was mine!!  What a day so far!!  By this time, we had been up for about 27 hours & it was only 11 am!  We didn't get to bed until about 11 pm so that made it 39 hours up!!

We started out the next day Wednesday, getting the cremation setup.  My DH's family cremates their deceased family members & has them buried in the family graveyard up in the Pine Grove, CA area.  Then, we took a long drive along the East side (Nevada side) of Lake Tahoe as a family.  Walt, Susan & I were so glad to be able to come home today!!  We really wanted to sleep in our own bed & together!

Oh, I almost forgot!  We took my MIL'S car for the drive yesterday as it is all wheel drive & I had a MAJOR ALLERGY ATTACK!!!  She has a long haired dog that rides in the car & we believe that the car has never been cleaned since it was bought, so the dog hair, etc was extreme.  My nose was running like a faucet!!  I couldn't go more than a few minutes between blows & my nose was raw way before evening!  We had to stop at a store to buy me a large box of some Kleenex with Aloe to try to help & I went through 1/2 of the box by that evening!

Also, we couldn't believe the amount of snow & ice at their homes!  They lived a few miles out of town & only the main streets were plowed.  So we wished that we were in our 4x4!  We were slipping & a sliding for two days!!  Well, I better close this post as I am sure that it is more information than you wanted to know!!  But we are glad that he is no longer in pain & is at rest.  When they removed his rings at the Hospital after he died, my MIL gave Walt the ring that his dad loved.  It was made for him by his sister using a diamond stone from his mother's wedding rings.  So Walt is now wearing it as a wedding band.

Aloha My Friends  :)


Dinnerland said...

I am so sorry for yours and Walt's (and your family's) loss... I hope that you and your family will find comfort in happy memories of better times now that he has gone...

Gen said...

That was a heartbreaking description of your FIL's passing, so sorry.

Linda said...

I'm sorry for your loss Debi.

Debi said...

Thank you, it was sad & at the same time a relief. As he was in so much pain for the last several years of his life.

THE DASH! said...

Oh Deb,

My heart goes out to Walt and you and your family. Even though you knew it was coming - its always a shock to the system. And what a time you all had. Fines, allergy attacks.. it just seems to get worse before it gets better.

I'm thinking of you in your time of loss. Very sad. xxx

Debi said...

Thank you Cara, I know that you of all people can really relate, as your loss is so fresh as well.