Friday, August 21, 2009

Palliative Care

There was an article in yesterday's New York Times that is long but well worth reading, about palliative care doctors and end-of-life treatment and counseling. Aside from one amusing quote about whether it's worth it to spend $400 on Victoria's Secret lingerie, the article itself is a little off-topic for this site, I guess, but in relation to my own life, it hit me hard today. I spoke to my mom last night and the latest info is a little vague but it is now sounding like my dad could be going downhill faster than we thought. And what I'm about to say will sound very callous in this context, but the only silver lining to this cloud is that it now seems very unlikely that we'll have to worry about paying for a nursing home for my dad, as he'll probably go into hospice care, which is covered by Medicare.

So now I just have to worry about other stuff for a while-- getting up there to see him, how long I'll stay, what exactly is happening, and how my mom and sister and I are going to deal with all of it.

28 comments:

Rapunzel said...

I am so sorry that your father is terminal. I hope you will be able to spend as much time as possible with him, caring for him in the way he cared(or you may wish he cared) for you. The more you can do for him, the happier you will be when it is all over IMHO.

My father chose to die at home in the end stages of prostate cancer. We had hospice come in and they provided furniture for the bed and bath, medications to keep him comfortable, and visiting nurses and aids to bathe him and offer practical suggestions and teach us how to turn him in bed.

After the cancer was diagnosed and treated years before, my father researched dying at home and was prepared to for his wishes to be carried out.

In addition hospice sent a social worker to talk with each of us 4 kids and my mother. We fooled her good, she thought we would be fine after his death.

MissAnne said...

I feel your pain; I lost my father earlier this year.

Praying for peace and blessings at this time for you and your family.

frugal zeitgeist said...

Sending strength and best wishes your way.

mgaltier said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I really don't know what else to say.

Anonymous said...

I hope things aren't as bad as it sounds from your mom, but it is time to start making arrangements regardless. I wish you peace and know that you and your family are in my prayers.
-Tasha

Jo said...

Sorry to hear about your dad. My dad also has terminal cancer and given about 6 months. While he is doing well now and responding well to treatment, I have been researching palliative care and such on my own. I don't want to freak him out and act like I am planning his death, but just to be prepared to be able to take care of him the best I can.

I guess to some the nursing home comment can seem callous, but there are just so many money details to deal with that I hadn't realized. Things can be expensive and we all have to figure out who and how we'll pay for it all.

And the funny thing is that you can't really plan, because you don't know exactly how the illness will progress. So do the best you can.

mapgirl said...

I don't think that's a callous thought. There are so few bright spots in prolonged illness. I hope he is safe and comfortable when the time arrives. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Mme. X, I am so sorry to hear this. I agree with mapgirl, I don't think it's a callous thought at all. Good luck and much strength to you and to your family.

-K.

Brooklyn Money said...

Really sorry to hear that, MX. Wishing for the best for your father, you and the rest of your family.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry, Madame X. Please know that you and your family will be in my thoughts. You will do your very best.

Sweet Kitchen said...

I am so sorry.

Sicilian said...

So sorry Madame. . . . it was an issue we dealt with 3 years ago with my mom. . . . we kept my mom home and cared for her ourselves with the help of a hospice nurse. The hospice nurse came twice a day, and we had to make sure my mom had someone there 24 hours a day. There were 4 of us so we spread it between us, but since I lived the fartherest away. . . . when I came . . . they all got a break. . . .I did it 24/7. . . . she died in our home. . . in our living room. . . . in our arms. . . . two of us were with her and we told her how much we loved her and what a good mother she was.
I wish you peace. . . . it is a life changing event to lose a parent.
Ciao

1001 Petals said...

You never know; he could pull out of this just fine and keep on for another 10+ yrs.

It seems odd to me that you'd be concerned about money more than holding onto your father's life(?) Or perhaps you aren't sharing your grief as this is a PF blog. I find it odd that Americans often bring up money when it comes to health -- more than odd, downright disturbing and skewed.

It is none of my business but if that is where your concern for your family mainly lies, in their finances, perhaps it would be best to take a step back, let the chips fall where they may, and seek to provide love and suppport outside the context of finances. Your mother is a grown woman, she can take care of herself even if that means seeking support from the state.

T'Pol said...

So sorry for your dad Madame X. Just make sure you can spend plenty of quality time with him as much as you can. If that means you will need to use of your vacation time beside his bedside, by all means do that.

I lost my dad within one day due to an aneurism many years ago. I had returned from the US a year before and was living with my family at the time. To this day, I am very glad I had returned and not chose to stay in the US which I loved dearly.

Karen said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. Keeping you in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Madam X,

We are in the same boat, my granpa is in the hospital and is very ill as we speak. Stay strong and all the feelings you feel are natural.

1001 Petals- I must say you sound odd, downright disturbing and skewed. I don't care if you come from America or anywhere else, but suggesting pawning off a mother to "seek support from the state" shows that that your concerns lie not where they should - helping your FAMILY, financially and otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Wish you all the best in what is a most difficult of times. Do your best for your father and family, taking it one day at a time. Most importantly, once having done the best you can, don't beat yourself up on whatever decisions you make.

Ashie said...

*hugs and best wishes*

Amy K. said...

Very sorry to hear about your Dad.

Someone above mentioned vacation time, I'd like to add that FMLA (the Family and Medical Leave Act) is an option. I have no first hand advice, just wanted to chime in as another reader who supports you.

Revanche said...

I hope that however this plays out, he's just as comfortable as possible during the process. My grandmother "lived" for many long years, bedridden but it was no real life for her. As mapgirl said, there are few bright spots in prolonged illness.

David@DINKS Finance said...

Sorry to hear about your father. Your family will be in my prayers.

Diamonds said...

I’m familiar with this blog; I’ve been an occasional visitor since my mother’s death and identify with a lot of what she writes…but couldn’t find the short stack post.
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Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for what you and your family are about to go through. I know it's hard to be far away, as I just went through a similar situation with my mom.

Please call hospice and have them meet with your dad, sister and mother. They will talk to you on the phone, if you can't be there in person. I wish that I had called sooner for my mom, just to know how everything worked before we really needed their services.
If my mom had been in their care, we may have been able to keep her out of the hospital. Fortunately, with their help we were able to bring her home, where she passed away peacefully.

My mom was only in hospice care for three weeks, but it made such a difference to all of us, but especially my mom and dad. We know that she was given the best care and the most comfort that she could have gotten.

If I had know she would pass so soon, I would have stayed at their house for her last month. I was there for her last few days, and I was able to tell her I loved her.

Everyone may be uncomfortable making the call, but the social worker should be able to help the three of you work out what needs to be done.

Best wishes.

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Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for what you and your family must be going through. Well wishes from a stranger.

Jerry said...

I'm sorry to hear about your father. It is a silver lining, though, to not have to be burdened financially with nursing home care. It's good that medicare insurance will cover his hospice care. End of life care is not something anyone wants to think about but it's so important. I hope it leads to some relief and comfort for the rest of his time.
Jerry

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Jerry said...

This is something I need to think about as my mom gets older. I need to buy end of life care insurance for my mom because I will only be able to care for her for so long. It would definitely lead to peace of mind on my part.