Can't anyone get a moment's peace?


In the end, it was nothing like I expected.

My dad has been declining slowly over the past year due to heart problems (yes, he was an incorrigible smoker). I’ve posted here about the grab bars and cane he began using (albeit reluctantly) over that same time period.

I always assumed he’d end up on oxygen (from Cape Medical Supply, of course), which occasionally kept me awake at night worrying he’d continue to smoke and therefore, set himself, the house or mom on fire.

In the end, all that overthinking was for naught. On Sunday, he watched the Super Bowl. On Monday, he had a heart attack; on Wednesday, they took him off the vent and he was awake and breathing on his own; by Friday, the cardiologist said it was time to talk about hospice.

The hospice nurse that afternoon began making arrangements for dad to be discharged, to come home, hopefully the next day. On Saturday morning, that same nurse called to tell us he had taken a turn for the worse. We agreed and so we left him where he was.

That afternoon, we called the hospital for an update before we headed in to visit with him. He was comfortable. We arrived 30 minutes later to find he had died quietly.

Almost…too quietly.

Me: Hi Dad.

Mom: We’re back!

(Several minutes pass, during which we settle in)

Me: I don’t think he’s breathing.

This pronouncement was followed by the two of us attempting to find a heartbeat or pulse. However, his heart function was so low and he was on morphine to boot, we thought maybe we just couldn’t detect it. We did everything short of holding a compact mirror to his mouth to see if we could catch a bit of fog.

Fortunately, his nurse arrived and save us from further embarrassing ourselves.

Now, some folks might find my relating the above scenario macabre. However, the visual of my quiet, long-suffering father trying—and failing—to get a moment’s peace, even in death, while the chatty (long-suffering) women in his life poked at him, pretty much says it all.