We sat around and the doctor gently filled us in on things. My brother took notes, I used a little recorder and most people wept. My poor stepmother flooded as she asked questions. My dad did ride very roughshod over her, I think, and, loving him as she does, there is no way she wouldn’t agree to have him home. But from the questions she asked it is obvious she is very scared about it because she has no idea about how it will play out. I, on the other hand, do, and I think the medical staff realized that because they asked me if I was a nurse! Definitely not but I’ve see a person die before and I’ve had a life time of growing up listening to my hospice nurse mother’s description’s of the deaths she assisted at.
Which, incidentally, they don’t do anymore. We will get one visit a day from Silver Chain; mainly, I think, to check that the locked box that has his morphine pump hasn’t been tampered with and to restock the next day’s supply. Actually nursing stuff? Family. Which in this case, means my stepmother primarily and me secondarily. They didn’t even offer hospice as an option. I thought there would be help. I thought we would be offered more. I thought at least we would be goddam asked if we thought we were up to this!
The doctor said a few weeks; I hope he is right. I have every reservation in the world about this. My stepmother cannot manage this on her own. I don’t want to leave her doing it on her own. But I just don’t want to do it, full stop. I want my father in a nice hospice facility, where he has professional care in a lovely home environment and we can be there and help but not do it all. I cannot, with the best will in the world, offer more than I already am. As I drive professionally, I can’t do night shifts before driving in case of possible liability issues. The physical support is hard enough; the mental stuff is so much worse.
Today, my father was adamant he was coming home and yet there was no hospital bed at home. Silver Chain (who can supply the beds) take days to get him into the system so I was dispatched to get a hire bed from an agency so that he could come home sooner. I tried to explain he could come home when procedures had been followed and we had the necessary equipment but he looked at me aggressively and started to talk to me in a hostile tone he has never, before this illness, used to me, accusing me of deliberately keeping him away from his home. He meant it, too.
I never even got to hold his hand or to kiss him today or a word of tenderness. Instead, I got hostility and suspicion and the chance to focus on details and medical hire and constant changing of plans. I spent literally hours this afternoon, tracking down a bed that we can get for tomorrow. He is adamant he wants to be home, and J is going to make it happen, no matter how hard, so home he is coming.
I dread the coming weeks. Cancer has already eaten my father and it feels like it is nibbling away at the structure of my familial relationships as well: communication is so hard when everybody is under stress. I am so angry all the time. At objects, at people, even at concepts. I constantly feel like a pressure cooker, leaking little bits of steam, via rage, in order not to blow sky high. And I am not grieving. Why is this? Why am I not losing myself to this grief like my daughters, my sisters, my siblings? What kind of monster am I that I just want it to be done?