My father is dying.
Slowly. In bits and pieces. There is no One Thing we can point to. Just a slow decline over the past couple of years. Throw in a few near misses, multiple hospitalizations, surgeries, a-fib, a small stroke, circulation issues, infections, anemia . . . and the slow decline has become a rapid descent with periods of stasis, but not much hope for major improvement. This is the hardest thing to face. How much more time do we, does he, have?
Physically Dad is a shadow of his former meaty self. His muscles have wasted away, he is barely able to walk, or even sit up for any extended length of time. His body belies his mind which is sharp as ever. This has to be killing him inside.
It is now left to my step-mother, my brother who lives in town, and brother’s girlfriend to tend to the day-to-day care-giving, doctors’ appointments, medication dispensing, phone calls, and errand running. Home care nurses, wound care techs, case workers come and go.
Phone calls and texts fly back and forth between me, my long-distance brothers and those with boots on the ground. I hesitate to call the house, not wanting to add any more of a burden to my already stretched-to-the-brink mother.
I did call last night and Dad answered the phone. He was good for about five minutes and then suddenly, like air escaping a balloon, his energy left him.
“I’ve got to hang up now. I’m really tired.”
“Oh, okay. You go rest, Dad. I love you, Dad.”
“I love you too, Baby.”