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I think the end is near.


3boys4amy

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I have no way of knowing for sure, but I got to talk to Dad's girlfriend last night and she told me that he is going downhill fast. She said he has a major eye infection and he is very weak. The docs sent him home from the hospital with pneumonia, saying they had done all they could do and that he was safer at home away from all the germs. He already had the eye infection when they sent him home. She said he has been moaning in pain with his bones and joints. I asked her forthright if the doctors had told Dad he only had so long. She refused to answer the question, saying that is a conversation that Dad needs to have with me and that she can't get in the middle of it. She said I could take that as my answer. She also told me in November that the docs told them they were working on his quality of life now, not the quantity. How do I get Dad to open up to me and tell me the truth. I live so far away from him and have small children. My husband is in the Navy and can't take time off. I want to be there, but don't want to burden dad or make him tell me things he isn't ready to tell me. I think that I need to know what is going on, but at the same time, I don't have the heart to come right out and ask him. I have so much other stuff going on at home with my kids, I just feel so overwhelmed. I love my dad more than anything in the world and it is killing me not to be there with him. How do I get past this?

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Maybe you could pack a few bags, stick your 3 young boys in the car and drive up to dad's for a visit. It could make you feel a lot better to be there for your dad and for him to see you.

Then, no matter what happens, you'll have some nice memories with your dad towards the end of his life and for your kids too. :)

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Amy:

I was reading through your earlier posts just now, and it seems you have a pretty good relationship with your dad's girlfriend. Has she given you any details about the "quality of life" treatment he's getting at home? Has the subject of hospice ever come up? Your dad's pain control may be inadequate, and pain control is a major objective of hospice care, whether it's done at home or elsewhere. With some patients (and others) the mere mention of hospice raises major psychological issues that are difficult to overcome, but I believe it's a subject that must be addressed when quality of life has become the primary purpose of further medical care.

It's completely understandable that you're feeling helpless, trapped, torn, and totally overwhelmed. To feel otherwise would not be normal. Your husband probably feels a lot of this as well, being torn between the demands of military service and concern for the family at home -- I can understand that too, having been there myself. All I can suggest is to keep in mind that your main responsibility right now is to your children. The best you can do for your dad may be to work with his girlfriend to ensure he is as comfortable and free of pain as possible.

Beyond that, if you can speak with your dad on the phone, tell him you love him, fill him in on the things his grandchildren are into these days, and reminisce about some of the happy, fun, and even embarrassing moments you two have shared in years gone by. You may never get him to "open up to me and tell me the truth" as you put it, even though you both know the truth and figure the other person knows it too. Sometimes putting these kinds of thoughts into words is very, very difficult, and it's not really necessary. Also, he may be hesitant to acknowledge that he's misled you in the past, and that's not necessary either. Neither one of you needs a guilt trip on top of all your other burdens. Have a fun, loving, lighthearted conversation and you might be pleasantly surprised where that leads.

My best wishes and Aloha to all,

Ned

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Yep... It's time to go be with your Daddy. My husband is in the Navy too and I know how difficult it is to judge what to do when you're so far away and have all of the 'Navy variables' hanging in the balance too...

But, it sounds like your gut says go. I know that's not an easy thing, as if I remember correctly--aren't you in Japan? But if you can make it happen... Do it. Do it for YOU as much as for him and let your Dad know that is the case.

(((((hugs))))) to you. If you ever need the ear of someone with the 'Navy wife perspective' on things, shoot me a PM.

Val

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Amy:

Your phrase "I want to be there" and "it's killing you" not to be there... says it all -- find a way to go, now. If you've read any of KatieB's posts on what to do with dads who just want to be strong and hide info......tell him you need this and you need to know for you, not that he needs you to be there (seems to work from what I've seen).

Do keep us posted. Many hugs,

Linda

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Thank you all so much for your wonderful advice. I am going to see if I can find some back up for my kids, as they are in school and can't miss school, unless something would happen and I had to take them back for a few days. I work full time and my boss is really bad about me taking time off for even a doctors appointment. I think I am at the point to tell him to shove the job, my family is more important. I will keep you posted. And please keep the prayers coming.

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I hope this helps - have you thought about taking FMLA? Your job should be protected for 12 weeks through the Family and Medical Leave Act.

I've driven NJ to Florida and back and I just know that you can make the trip from Florida to West Virginia without much trouble. I have faith in you. :D

As for the kids, I'm sure 3 little boys won't miss their calculus classes! :lol: Fortunately, at that age, missing school doesn't have the same impact it does when high school rolls around.

Think of it as a nice week away with your boys and your dad - some good bonding time to say your good-bye's and feel so warm and complete that you and he had the time together. You'll never regret it for someone you love so much.

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I was in your shoes just a couple months ago. My husband is in the Air Force and we are stationed in Japan. I have 2 boys ages 6 and 2 and I was 6 months pregnant at the time. I dropped everything and the boys and I went home for eight weeks to stay. It was hard no doubt. I missed my husband, and we were living out of a suitcase for 2 months, sleeping on a different family members floor each night.

We came back to Japan for Christmas, and Daddy passed away December 27th. Believe me, it can happen anytime, he had been having some of his best days since diagnosis.

I wouldnt take anything in the world for the time me and the boys were able to spend with Daddy. I truly believe if you do go, your Dad will be more willing to talk to you about some of these tough topics. I knew that Dadd realized what condition he was in, and he was OK with it, he wasnt scared. He told me and the kids several times how much he loved us, and even gave me some parenting advice, LOL.

Also, if your children havent seen him recently, you might also want to think about what memories they may have of him. I am glad the funeral isnt something the kids really remember, it was the weeks before.

Sorry to ramble, but I was just so recently in your shoes. I wasnt there when my Daddy died, and regret that and it haunts me that I wasnt there to hold his hand. But at the same time, I know I did him much more good the weeks before, than being there the last few minutes.

If finances are making your decision harder. I know it was for us (3 roundtrip tickets from Japan=$$$$) try talking to your family Support. I know the AF offers interest free loans for emergencies. Also, there is a website www.unmetneeds.com set up for Military families. they have grants available for anything and everything. A friend of mine whose Dad passed about a year ago from LC was able to get a grant from them to pay for her and her children a rental car. It is def worth a shot!

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lewellen! Thank you for reminding me about resources for finances!

I may be wrong, but I do believe that the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society provides interest free loans for family emergencies when needed.... Or try calling Fleet and Family Support and see what they may have. Or check out military one source. All of those places *might* have resources to get you there without breaking your bank.

Praying for you.

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