Thu 3/27/2008 9:19 AM
My 2 cents is to not have surgery at all. I agree with all that Mary has said about Dad's last pacemaker wound not healing for 18 months, and the scratch and resulting sore on his butt not healing for 6 months now (it's still there). I think if he didn't die on the table, then he would succumb to nonhealing wound issues (i.e., infections), plus he's be in pain from the surgery, and then the wound if it got infected.
I still have bad dreams of Aunt Jay crying out in pain with her open wound. She had a very painful dying, and they had to give her morphine in last few days, which in my opinion should have been started a lot sooner. Dad has no quality of life now. He doesn't even watch tv any more - even sports - and watching the neighborhood go by doesn't interest him either. When his eyes are open, he's just looking at Mom's picture. He gets unconfortable in his bed and he can't sit up longer than maybe 1-1/2 hours at the most. Sometimes he tries to pull the feeding tube out.
Sometimes he seems to get really frustrated, and tries to get out of the bed, like by breaking the bedrail, and other times he grabs us and squeezes us really hard, like so hard I'm afraid that he's going to crush my fingers. When I say to him something like, "Gosh Dad, you're really strong, and you must be really frustrated", he relaxes and looks at me, like "yes, you understand". My definite impression is that he doesn't want to be in the situation he's in. I also give him kisses on the top of his head first telling him it's a kiss from Eleanore or his mother, he says "Yeh" and he relaxes and looks at peace.
I personally would not feel guilty by not doing anything. I think he would just eventually fall asleep and not wake up. It would be a peaceful and painless death. Just like one of his apnea episodes but he wouldn't come out of it. I agree with Tom that I myself absolutely do not want to be in a similar situation where I need care 24/7/365. Pull the plug or whatever. Actually I think of doing nothing for Daddy as a great kindness. I've often thought what a blessing it is to be able to put down an animal in pain with no possibility of healing. I think this is the equivalent situation with Daddy. I also would feel very guilty if Daddy had bad complications from the surgery, which I think would be inevitable given his fragile state.
Well, let's talk soon. XOXOXO Anna
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