Wayne Green

Wayne Green

Sunday, September 6, 2015

September 6, 2015

The last full day of my dad's life was one year ago today. He died in the early hours of September 7th 2014. Again, scroll to the bottom of the September 6th posts and read up. The most significant memory that I have is the very last post........I was between having a father and having lost a father...........there is an incredible difference between the two. The words are so similar, it seems like a smooth transition. The truth is, it is like night and day between having a father and having lost a father........forever more I have lost a father, forever more I will miss his laughter, his hugs, and his lofe for me......forever more I will cherish who my father was and be grateful for everything he gave to me.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September 6, 2014 - Late night

.......I am not privy to what is in his thoughts, what it is that keeps him ticking.......a few years ago when we talked about his thoughts about being put on a ventilator, he had a strong opinion that if he were ever to be put on a ventilator or life support...............................that there should be a spare machine outside of his room in case the one he is on stopped working. It was a bit of a joke, however I believe it highlights his desire to live as long as he possibly could. 

He obviously doesn't want to go home nearly as badly as I want to go home right now........I don't know what he is gaining by waiting......I do know, after he is gone it will all make sense and I will know..........but right now.......knowing that life is just continuing on as if this man is not dying......makes me feel as if I am in a vacuum....even in this room.....with my family, waiting....out of stress or something.....conversation is just continuing as if there is not a dying man laying in the middle of the room.......It is nearly surreal. They are not being disrespectful.....I am simply somehow disconnected ....... in some form of limbo......between having a father and having lost a father........ 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September 6, 2014 - 10 pm

And so it goes. We have not given my Dad any morphine for at least 90 minutes and he has not changed since the last update. He continues with a loud "rattle" with his breathing, unresponsive, and stubborn. The lack of sleep is wearing on me a bit. I packed up my car so I can head home to where it is safe and warm, so I can repack for a funeral. I thought earlier tonight that September 6 2014 was the date that would be etched in my heart forever.......now.....it may not.......Even without the morphine increasing his oxygen levels, he is fighting until his very last breath.  If you are old enough to remember how coffee used to be made in a "perculator" that is what his breathing sounds like.

So many thoughts run through my head....wondering what thoughts are running through his head........I know he is comfortable, meaning that he is not feeling any pain, that he is not struggling and grimacing. His face is relaxed and even an occasional smille floats across his face as if he is seeing something wonderful and beautiful. I hope all of his thoughts are wonderful and beautiful.

My brother who was 4 hours away ...driving to just be able to say goodbye to his father's body....is very likely going to arrive before my Dad's soul leaves us.......I am hoping the coffee is ready soon.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September 6, 2014 Game time Update

About 6:30 tonight the fluid in my Dad's lungs increased significantly. He has a very strong "death rattle". I assured all that it is far more uncomfortable for us than it is for him as he is resting comfortably.  His lips and tongue became blue and cyanotic, he had mottling up his abdomen to his chest......all those close to Cadillac were called in.....the one brother who wishes to see my father before he leaves for the funeral home was called to drive the 4 hours back up............another dose of morphine was given.......

His lips are now pink, the mottling is gone.....and another "expert hospice nurse" prediction has bitten the dust. I think that he heard my predictions and used them to set his "goals" to aspire past......I can hear him saying it...."oh no you don't, I am not dying in the next 30 minutes".......tick tick tick.

We turned the game on and sit here with him..... admiring his resolve..........listening to the fluid rattle in his lungs as he struggles for each breath, in and out........

The truth is, the morphine increased his oxygen levels.......as long as he isn't coughing I won't give the morphine again.......but if he coughs, I can't allow the suffering that he endures with that and so it will go........

Updates as soon as possible........

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September 6, 2014 - Afternoon Update

In all the time I have spent working in hospice there is one thing that often takes me by surprise. As a hospice nurse you expect through the experience you gain in caring for those at the end of life, that you will be able to manage every patient's symptoms and keep them peaceful and comfortable until the end and that you are fairly good at predicting when that end will be. then comes along a patient that doesn't follow the "rules" of dying. It is not that there are well defined rules, however there are the generally accepted ones. As a hospice nurse you try to figure out why this patient is not following your "rules" for dying......and then it hits you...........

My dad is stubborn, strong, loved life, and wanted to live his way. As a insulin dependent diabetic, we heard him more than once have a snickers candy bar and then just say....I just give myself more insulin. He wasn't one to follow all of the rules, he wanted to do it his way. 

The truth about dying is this.........you die how you live. That is exactly what my dad is doing, he is dying exactly how he lived......stubborn, strong, loving life and doing it his way.

His heart rate is normaly in the 60's. It has been in the 80's most of the week, this morning it was 92 and just now when the hospice nurse came it was 110. This is a significant change. His lungs have wheezing sounds which means that he is beginning to collect fluid in his lungs. 

All of the physical signs are there that his time has arrived, but he is in control now....it is up to him when he is going to leave this world. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September 6, 2014 - Light Hearted Post

Many of you are aware that 5 years ago I donated my kidney to my father. It was on his 70th birthday, July 1st 2009. I remember being in recovery and barely having my eyes open and asking how my dad was doing and they said that he already had urine in his catheter bag. Tears of joy streamed down my face. My selfish act was successful, I was able to keep my father on this earth longer.

What you must know is that the apple does not fall far from the tree.....at least not when it comes to his sense of humor. Thus, I had them take this photo in surgery so I could send it to him every year as I figured it was going to be his birthday gift forever more. :) (I still bought him gifts!)

So yesterday during a very moving moment with all of the family that was present around his bed for a prayer with my uncle Terry.......after the prayer with my 3 children standing around me at the end of the bed. I said ....."you know part of me is dying with grandpa"....my kids had sad faces and rubbed my back and said "it will be ok momma"....and I said......"no, really a part of me really is dying with him".....*pause* then they got it as a smile broke across my face.....they were a bit indignent saying "Mom, now is not a time to make jokes like that!" I said....Grandpa would have done it! And they laughed and said...."yes he would have!"

The truth is, the small physical part that once was mine and now belongs to him...will die with him......but another intangible part of me also will die with him.....that is how it feels you know.....as if something is dying inside of you knowing that you will lose him.....and you know nothing will ever be able to fill that hole. How could there be anything to replace the giant of a man he is and the love...oh my.....the love. He is "my person". I hope everyone has a person.......when I say "my person" I am refering to the fact that he is the one person that, no matter what I do, what I say.....nothing.ever.changes.his.love.for.me. He loved me fully and unconditionally. He was proud of me and didn't hesitate to show that. I often felt embarrased by his enthusiasm about his pride in me....(the hospice nurse that came last night had come before and when i talked with her recently she said...I think your father worshiped you....HA!) That is how it would seem to those who listened to him brag about me....but I wasn't the only child he did that with.....I know that, but it doesnt take away anything from how he allowed me to feel his unconditional love beyond measure. Nothing will ever fill that hole.....I wouldn't want it filled.....I want to remember, every day that he loved me without any boundaries....he just loved me.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September 6, 2014

Every time I type the date in the title, I wonder if this is the date that will be forever etched in my heart as the date I lost my Dad. So far, none of the dates are that date. I don't know if today will be. He has beaten all of my predictions to date.

Jeremey who is the eldest son of Spencer (one of our siblings who is waiting in heaven for my Dad) is very special to my Dad. Jeremey lived in Hawaii for a bit as a soldier and now has a fancy job in North Dakota with an oil company. (we are all very proud of him and what he has accomplished, he also has one of the sweetest wives I have met, Amanda and 2 very polite and well behaved children that he adores). Jeremey went through a lot losing his father. In some ways I think he and my Dad have the closeness of a father and son. We really didn't know if Jeremey would be able to make it to see Dad. He was flying in for the ND vs Michigan game that is on today. Those of you who know me know that I am a huge homer for Michigan (with bragging rights since I actually attend the University of Michigan). My Dad, who loves  beyond measure, doesn't wish ill will to much. (nothing that I am aware of). The fact that he has remained a die hard lions fan all of these years, tells you something. *smile*. So when Jeremey called him on Thursday my dad told him, "I love you so much that I will even cheer for ND on Saturday". Seriously. *shaking my head*. ha!

So Jeremy arrived about 12:30 am. My dad who had only a few lucid moments yesterday awoke for him and fought to free his hands and arms from under the sheet covering him so he could wrap his arms around this young man that he loves. It was touching like so many other moments we have had the past few days with other family members as well.

By the time that everyone got to bed, it was 1:30 am. I relinquished my bed to Jeremey after his long flight and took up on a recliner in the living room with my Dad. At about 4:30 am, I look over and he is pushing the sheet off his legs and I see his legs start to swing towards the side of the bed. I jumped up and asked what he was doing. He said he wanted to sit up. I asked why he wanted to sit up. He said "so I know that I still can" I tried to convince him that Sonja and I needed some sleep and we could check on his 'sitting up' status in the morning. He was having no part of that......so he sat up in the bed, but didn't dangle his legs, we fixed his wedge and pillows and hoped that would be enough. Not so fast. "I have to pee" we discussed that he was too weak to stand. He then gave in to the depends, which I explained was underwear with a pocket to catch his pee. He had a few coughs and asked why he was coughing. I said, well I didn't wake up every hour to give you your medicine. He said "you are fired".....oh my......ha ha.  I said to him "so you are still fighiting this aren't you?" " he said, " well yes I am". He was concerned that his legs were getting weak from not walking or having done any exercises. so Sonja suggested she rub his legs....he liked that. Finally we got him back to sleep but I think it took us well over 30 minutes.

He just woke up again at 6:30 and I got his medicine before he could get to sassy again. I did ask if he was mad at me. He said no.

He has beaten the odds yet again.......I beleive he is holding out for a miracle. If anyone can get it (or deserves it) it is him. However with multi system failure (heart, lungs, kidney....) the odds of that are slim, although, who is going to tell him that....again. He is a fighter, he is fighting with every thing he has. As long as he is not suffering in pain or discomfort. I can take being wrong in my predictions..........tick, tick, tick.............

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