I sat in our living room and said to Les, "just make sure that all that positive thinking isn't masking denial..."
He responded, "don't worry, I know it's denial...I just still hold out hope that he's gonna beat this too."
Shoulda listened to myself. Pretty sure thanks to Monday and Tuesday, Les was better prepared than I.
On Sunday, Dad was still coherent. I gave him hugs and said I'd see him next weekend. Told him I was leaving my Superwoman cape with him, but I'd be back with pompoms...I'd be his beating cancer cheerleader. I was deeply worried about the inability to eat and how very thin he'd gotten, but I've been around pain management folks of different stripes for years now, so I just assumed he'd rally. We'd get him eating more, they'd start this new medication regimen, and maybe, just maybe, the word "remission" would enter our lives.
Melanie's world of denial...the idea of him dying...it wasn't registering with me. Yes, I saw how sharply his health had declined since we saw him at Christmas, but...I couldn't let myself think that we'd lose him. One father every 5 years is plenty. Thank the gods I didn't follow through with my cheerleader package idea; they would have been unwrapping a 6-pack of Ensure and some other silly gifts in the mail from me like, 2 days after he passed.
I left for home Sunday, had to get back to work. Les stayed, and thank the gods he did. Sunday night, Dad's pain was so lousy, Les spent a chunk of the night sitting next to him, Dad in bed, Les on the floor, pushing the bolus for his pain medicine every 8 minutes. While Dad moaned. The next day they got nursing back out there, where it was determined that he needed a drastic increase in his pain meds. Turns out it didn't need to be quite that drastic...Monday night, he was mentally altered and suffering from what in retrospect may not have been panic attacks. They managed to get a Valium into him after several episodes of paranoia where he thought the wife and kids were trying to slip him a mickey. Tuesday morning, the nurses were back out, fixing his medication and ordering a hospital bed, because they were concerned all the lying flat he was doing was putting strain on his heart. His sister also visited, thank goodness. But as the day progressed, he stopped responding to their requests, and they catheterized him. Les was so busy, I barely talked to him Tuesday, so I was assuming he was slammed with Dad's care; I didn't even know he'd become bedbound. He texted me Tuesday night that the new medication regimen had been decided against, because he was just too ill. I remember that, because it made me realize that he was going to die, that we were out of options. But I had no idea it would be so soon...I was telling my sis and bro that it would be weeks now.
The call came at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning.