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My dad died Wednesday evening and I don't know what to feel


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I don't even know where to begin. While he was in Hospice care, this was totally unexpected. The night before he was doing everything for himself and laughing and eating dinner with us. He woke up in pain and unable to breathe. I had the on call hospice nurse come out and then his regular nurses. Nothing went as it should have.

We couldn't get his pain under control so we decided to transport him to the Hospice inpatient unit and try and get it under control there. We had an ambulance service come to transport him to the Hospice unit. I told them I would ride separately so I could take my kids.

We went to the inpatient unit and waited... and waited... he never showed up. Nearly two hours after they picked him up we finally located him at the hospital. The drivers asked him if he wanted to go to the hospital and of course, being in pain and having had insanely high doses of pain killers he said yes. I had to bring my kids back the 25 minute drive each way to the house cause they wouldn't let them in where he was. By the time I got to the hospital he had been there around 3 hours.

What I encountered when I was there was horrific. Thank god for his Hospice nurse. She went there and tried to advocate for him. She had them standing there with the paperwork to release him and put him back in Hospice. They had stopped all of his pain meds to try and "figure out what was wrong and fix it". He had nothing for three hours. He was scared and upset and in pain. I don't know if I will ever be able to describe to someone exactly what I encounted. It was horrific and I am still struggling to understand it. I demanded that the nurses bring me his box of meds and told her if they didn't give him morphine while waiting for the ambulance I would. She got meds and injected them in his IV.

His nurse had been there rubbing his back by his lung the whole time and trying to comfort him. He left the hospital at 3:20 in the ambulance and we got him to the Hospice and on a morphine drip for pain. He passsed away at 4:05 while my husband and kids were in the elevator on their way upstairs to say goodbye and while my mother was on an airplane taxiing to the terminal in Dallas to catch her connecting flight to come here for the next few months to be with him. I was able to get a phone call off to her to say what she needed to say to him right before he took his last two breaths. I never thought it would be like that and I was not prepared. I thought he would gradually become more ill and we would have some indication that it was coming. My kids did all come in and say their goodbyes after he was gone.

The Hospice was kind enough to keep him there until my mom's plane came in and I could bring her to see him. The only thing I feel like I suceeded at that day was that I was able to ensure he died free of pain and relaxed. I don't know how to come to grips with the fact that he spent 13 of the last 14 hours of his life in excruciating pain. We think it was a pulmonary embolism orsomething of that nature.

I am struggling with anger and frustration. I am so thankful that mom is here to help go through all of his things here and help me sort them. We have so many medical supplies and he wanted to make sure those got donated. Apparently one of the community clinics will take them for the needy.

Anyway, I know that is probably riddled with run-on sentences or typos. My contact lenses are constantly cloudy from crying and it hurts to try and read the screen I just needed to get that out.

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Loosing someone under any circumstances is the most painful thing we have to face in this life time. To lose someone suddenly and under such terrible circumstances makes it much harder to get past the anger and the shock. I totally understand though my experience was quite different it is still a hospital horror story.

I am so sorry for you loss. I know that you are in deep emotional pain right now. The anger is really hard to deal with but in some ways it gets you through those first excruciatingly painful months. Just know that there are many here who understand both your pain and confusion as well as your anger. Please come here when ever you need to vent. We have all had times like that and we do want to help you in any way that we can. Lillian

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Erin I am so sory to hear this news tonite. I wish i had all the answers, but I don't and won't. i am sorry you lost your Dad that way. My situation wa similar so I can relate a little bit. You have taken the first step by writing it down. That helps a little. Keep writing until your fingers hurt. You will feel better. DO NOT LET THE GUILT TAKE OVER You ahve done everything you could do and more!!!! only god decides our fates no other single individual can do that!!!!!! Cry scream yell do what ever eases the pain for now. Thats what I did. Howl at the moon !!! I am serious. do not keep Grief bottled up inside though.

Thoughts and Prayers tonite and always and remember. WE are always here!!!!!!

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I am so sorry you lost your Dad. I am also sorry he had to be in so much pain before he died. It shouldn't have been like that . I guess there are memories that all of us would like to erase , but only time will make them less painful. There are no words I can say to you today to take away this pain, but you and your family will be in my prayers in the days ahead. Remember that this group is here for you and we understand.



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Thank you all. I am trying desparately to figure out how to make this all okay in my head. Dad's absolutely amazing nurse called me wanting to get together and meet mom. She said that she felt we had left a lot sort of unfinished and needed some closure after the chaos that occured. I hope that she can help me understand some of what went on. I overheard her telling the ER nurse that the fear of something like this happening is why they are working on setting up their own ambulance service. That is great but there are several other Hospices in town that have inpatient services, plus who knows how many in the state. I feel like maybe I need to check into the legislation that caused this to happen. I mean, the ambulance drivers did what they were required to do by law. They stuck close by to transport him back to hospice as soon as they got the word. They apologized profusely and were very distraught themselves. Everyone involved was amazingly upset.

I don't know if it is possible, or if I have it in me to do it right now, but I want the laws that caused my dad to go through that to be changed. I want them to make it illegal to ask someone who has just been dosed with such a high level of painkillers to be asked to make medical decisions for themselves. Before leaving my house he had been given .4ML of morphine repeatedly until he had more than 250 mg of that in him, plus 20 mg (four pills) of percocet, plus 3 mg of ativan over four hours. I will have to get the notes out his nurse practitioner made while she was here in order to verify the exact amount. Could he really be expected to answer anything but yes when asked if he wanted to go to the hospital? Could he be expected to differentiate between the words hospice and hospital or even understand that he revoked consent for hospice care? I had durable medical power of attorney, and he was on massive amounts of painkillers, so why was my decision altered?

I guess I hope that his nurse will be able to help me understand what happened since she stayed with him. I want to find out if the hospital and ambulance service will provide any records from that day if I or my mother produce the death certificate. I want to make sure no one ever has to go through that again. Most of all, I want to know that the ER was justified in making the choice they made to withhold pain medicine in the interest of "fixing" him. All I was told was that they weren't giving him pain meds BECAUSE they were giving him lasix, but I don't understand that. If there is a medical reason for that fine, but he was quite obviously dying and anyone who looked at him would have known that yet he hadn't been given pain meds for 3 hours and 45 minutes when it was all said and done.

Right now, I also want to get over the unbelievable fear I seem to have developed about going to the ER. To make matters worse, I had to take my daughter in on Thursday night because we thought she was having an appendicitis, and I nearly had a panic attack. As it turns out the reason she had pain in the lower right side of her chest/upper right abdomen is because she had bacterial pneumonia. I had to take her to a different hospital for my own sanity.

I am sorry this is so lengthy and includes so much rambling. I have been wanting to post here for the last two days, but I really didn't want to upset or scare anyone who was living with this disease. Finally I realized that you all would either understand or be able to ensure nothing like this ever happened to yourselves or your loved ones.

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I don't know if it is possible, or if I have it in me to do it right now, but I want the laws that caused my dad to go through that to be changed. I want them to make it illegal to ask someone who has just been dosed with such a high level of painkillers to be asked to make medical decisions for themselves.

Meet with Hospice nurses. This is what they are trained to do. They understand the whole grieving process more than regular nurses I think because they deal with it more so, I think!

After the funeral when things settle down, contact your local state official and ask about what you have mentioned above. That would be a wonderful thing to do in memory of Dad. Remember what I said above It may help. It helped me a lot. A loss is a loss......

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Erin-I'm so sorry to hear the way things turned out for your family. I can't even begin to imagine the pain and heartbreak.

I wish you much comfort with your family in the days to come


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I am so sorry for your loss and for the way things were handled at the hospital. Please accept my condolensces and know that you will be in my thoughts and prayer in the days ahead.

Please take care of yourself.

Hugs - Patti B.

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Please accept my deeepest of condolences on the passing of your dad.

When i read your post I was cringing at your description of what your poor dad went through.

I am so sorry you had so mucy anguish going on and my heart went out to you.

Thank G-d you got him back to hospice and he was fianlly able to pass painfree.

I wish I had some words of comfort for you but all I can tell you for sure is that I know he looks down upon you with so much love. You were there for him and took care of him. He is so appreicated of all you did for him.

I pray you find some relief for all the pain you went and are still going through. I promise at some point you will start to fell again. At least your were there with him and your mom got to say her goodbyes.

You were a wonderful daughter and you stuck to your guns and did what had to be done.

Thinking of you Erin and praying for you to feel better.


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I am so sorry for what you and your family went through. It is hard enough to lose someone but to go through such a hard time at the end just adds to the pain. I am sorry for your loss, my sympathy to you and your family.


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  • 4 weeks later...

I am so very sorry that your Dad passed that way but glad he went without pain.

I too just lost my Mom on Friday @ 1:15 AM @ my home. I will pray that we both find the peace we need in the days, months and years to come.


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