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 Post subject: Trying to get back to life after the loss of my dad
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:31 pm 
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I know it is going to take time but everyday I think about him...
I went to a hospice interview for a CNA position in September of 2006. I didn't know if hospice was what I really wanted to do but I thought I would try it and see how things went. I had never worked at a more rewarding job and people do not understand what you mean when you say that. Knowing that you were able to help someone with a terminal illness and their families cope with your illness and to help you be as comfortable as can be and to help someone die with dignity is rewarding. I was called an angel so many times by patients family members who had lost their loved one. I ended up going part time and went to school and graduated as an LPN. I worked for hospice for another year until I decided it was time to take a break. Being a hospice nurse can be rewarding but can also take it's toll on your emotions and I knew it was time to take a break.
In October of 2008 my dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. He went through 8 1/2 months of radiation and chemotherapy and by the tests results and cancer markers the tumor was dead. Dad was working on building his strength back and getting on with his life. We were so relieved that he had beat this thing, pancreatic cancer does not usually have a good outcome and is diagnosed when it is too late but they had caught his early. This past November dad started having pain again, the same pain he was having when he was first diagnosed so are hearts sank and were praying it was may be his gall bladder or something else other then the cancer. He was admitting for testing and the CT results came back. The cancer had returned and it was now in his lymph nodes. We were devastated. The prognosis was poor may be 3-6mths or possibly by Christmas. My mom asked me to come to California (I live in Florida) on November 30th because she felt she wasn't doing everything she could be for him and just needed some comfort. Dad was not sure if he wanted to go through chemo again especially sine they were only giving him a few months anyway if he did. Mom wanted me to be there for his Oncologist appointment to ask questions. Dad decided he did not want the last few months, weeks, or days to be with his head in a garbage can sick from chemo so he decided no treatment and wanted all of us to respect his decision, which we did. Sunday the 6th I was supposed to fly home but Hospice could not get dad admitted until that day and so I changed my flight reservations so I could be there when they came to admit him into the hospice program. After they left he had a look of relief come over his face. They started dad on new medication, gave him a fentanyl patch and started him on ativan for anxiety. They would start coming out to see him on Monday. My mom and dad live in Auburn California where it does not snow but once in a while. Sunday night it snowed and Hospice was snowed in and could not make it out to see him. Dad became unresponsive around 8am Monday the 7th. We got him back to bed and made him comfortable, his last words to me were "I love you too". I became my dad's hospice nurse that day. It's because of my experience as a hospice nurse I knew what signs to look for if my dad was in pain and when I needed to call for new orders. I just wanted to be my dad's little girl and to be there to support my family. I had to become so much more. my mom and I worked as a team and we took care of my dad, it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I had told my dad when he was first diagnosed that when it came to the end I would move in with them and take care of him. He did not want me to see him sick or that fragile and told me no. My dad past away December 9th with us by his side. He was a hunter and so mom and I dressed him in his camo outfit put his bugle in his hand, and his elk call in his pocket. He was being cremated with his gear on....
I really truly believe that GOD knew that this day was coming and was trying to prepare me for this day when I accepted that hospice job back in 2006. I believe that he made it so hospice wouldn't come out until the 6th because if they would have came out earlier I would have been back in Florida, I believe the snow that came, came for a reason; Dad really didn't want strangers taking care of him so I believe he sent snow that day so I would be my dad's hospice nurse.
I am having a hard time getting the images of my dad lying in that bed out of my mind and being the one to give him his medicine over and over again. I find comfort in knowing he was comfortable and had no pain and that was his worse fear was to die in pain.
We knew this day was coming but did not realize it was going to be so soon. We really truly thought he would live to see another Christmas but that all changed Monday the 7th when he became unresponsive.
My dad did not want us to grieve for him and I am trying to get back to somewhat a normal life but how do you do that? I feel guilt for not spending more time with him or calling him more. I was very close to my dad but because of my husbands job we have not lived near him for sometime. I hope the guilty feelings diminish some soon, he is the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and last thing I think of when I go to sleep at night. :(

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