Sunday, 18 December 2011

What kind of week has it been

I have been meaning to update because this is a crucial time. However, I have not had the heart to do it, even though there is plenty to say.

My dad is still with us, albeit just barely. He had a couple of good days at the beginning of the week. He would get up, sit with people, and, although he was not really with it a lot of the time, he was responsive. A few days ago, however, he crawled into bed and hasn't really been up since.

We moved my father's bedroom downstairs on Thursday. Basically, the house is all staircases and it involved two flights to get up to my parents' bedroom. Also, the bedroom is dark and not very friendly. We got a lot of medical and mobility equipment from a wonderful charity in Israel that lends stuff out for free. Wheelchair, oxygen tank, toilet chair, urine bottle, etc. We also managed to blag a hospital bed very quickly and we put it all in the room that looks out over the pool. It's bright and nice to sit in and my father likes to spend time there. The bathroom is very near and we adapted it into a makeshift wetroom. We rearranged the furniture so that it's a bit like a studio flat now. There is a seating area, a dining area and, of course, the bed, with an air mattress that prevents bed sores. Every evening we bring the fold-up bed in for my mother and she stays with him. I feel as though this is a happier place to be, although there was some opposition to the idea, mostly because certain members of my family believed that this was a statement of defeat that would not encourage him to move around.

Yesterday my father got out of bed only twice to go to the toilet and otherwise mostly slept. His oncologist says that, in the best case scenario, he will simply sleep more and more until he doesn't wake up anymore. He has had trouble breathing over the last 24 hours, although our Doctor Friend says that his lungs are clear. Mostly, his liver is enlarged and is pushing on the rest of his organs in his abdomen.

Weirdly, in the little time that he spent awake yesterday he seems to have been much more lucid than previously, and, although he only said about 2 words, he often winks at me.

Doctor Friend says that he can't put a time limit on it. Consulting Oncologist says 7-10 days, although he is in America and can't see him.

I had a fright a couple of days ago when I was on the phone and suddenly heard my mum sobbing uncontrollably downstairs. I ran down to find her hugging my brother so I rushed down further to check on my father. He was there, happily sleeping, but, at that moment, I believed there to be a real chance that the end had come. And I realised that I wasn't ready. Not at that moment, not completely randomly and without notice.

Another vignette was yesterday, when my mother voiced what has been plaguing me for months: we all die alone. The thing that has upset me more than anything else in the last 2 years has been the thought that he would die alone and afraid. I don't know if he has found some peace in recent days or that he is just too tired to be afraid anymore, or maybe he is still very scared. I think, though, that maybe without fear it is not so bad to be alone, as we all are. But there is nothing any of us can do to help that.

There are moments of laughter, some totally inappropriate, but each member of my family is coping in different ways. My grandmother is more or less falling to pieces, which is probably justified. My brother has been unbelievably angry at everything. It is his birthday today and he resents the shit out of it, because he doesn't believe he has any right to celebrate and got angry at his wife for organising a small party. If I had one prayer, it would be for my father to get through today, if only to spare my brother feeling as though he had in some way contributed to his death by daring to be born on the 18th December.

Littlest brother and I are playing a lot of computer games to keep us busy, although I do have a lot of work to do but no concentration to do it.

My mother knows that she is keeping it together (mostly) right now, but can't possibly vouch for how she will be after the funeral.

I honestly don't know how I feel. I don't feel as though I am in denial about anything and I am keeping it together for everybody's sake, including my own. I don't feel as though I regret not having more time with my dad, or that I needed to say something really important to him before he dies. He knows that I love him. I tell him every day and he winks at me. Maybe that is why I don't feel as though he is afraid. He winks, and that wink is for me.

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