Letting nature take its course

Further to my last post about my granddad, he has since taken another turn for the worst.

His lungs, the nurses said, are beginning to fill up with water and any fluid or food which is fed to him isn’t going anywhere, and is simply getting stuck down his food pipe. A decision has been taken to stop all intake of food, and only medicine and fluid from a drip is entering his body. He’s half the size he was before he went into hospital over two months ago and an oxygen mask must constantly be strapped to his face. He’s sick of it.

We think these could be his last few days with us. The nurses are doing all they can to keep him comfortable, and out of pain, but other than that, they say that they’ve exhausted all other options to help him get back to life before his stroke.

My granddad is still attempting to convince us that he can walk, and has managed to muster the energy to try and lift a leg out of bed. A part of me believes that he can do it; he has the ambition to want to do it, but then again, we have to take the hospital’s word that he can’t. Unfortunately it’s got back to that stage where we cannot understand a word he says, and he’s getting frustrated by it.

Adding to the frustration is his inability to be allowed to visit the toilet. I can totally empathise with him. It must be self-depreciating having other people clean up after you and not being able to do anything for yourself.

Every time the phone rings I worry that it could be the call to say we’ve lost him. Somehow he’s still fighting, and each day we visit, we have to make the false promise that we’ll try to get him out of bed the day after, even though we know it isn’t possible to even try. He could do himself more damage than good if he tries to get up on his feet. Still, to be fair, he has been bed-ridden for over two months and that would be super frustrating for a man who could barely sit still and hated having to depend on others prior to his stroke.

He was restless when I saw him last night, but he was calm as he held my hand and managed to stay in one position for about ten minutes before fidgeting and trying to escape from his bed.

I’m really upset, but I’m also a little relieved that he won’t have to put up with all this pain, discomfort and frustration for any longer. As much as my tears flow, I’ve convinced myself that he’ll be in a better place soon, and I hope he leaves us knowing how much we all love and respect him.

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