When I wrote the alzheimers post a month or so ago I didn’t realise I was inviting you into my life. But with the responses I received I realised that I had, that what I said connected with a lot of people. So now there is a follow up to that. There will be another, better thought out one soon, but for now this is it. Don’t expect any great insight or wisdom – it won’t be here.
Grandad is dead. He died at quarter to four Friday morning (it’s Sunday night as I write this). He died sleeping, of kidney failure. From the moment we were told it was the end he was not alone for a minute (although occasionally it was hospital staff changing bedding rather than family). As per his usual style he was later than had been said. It turns out that it really is hard to predict when people will go, although doctors can tell when someone is past the point of no return.
The staff that I met in the hospital – nursing and healthcare- showed how the job should be done. They were a credit to The Caring Profession. They were kind and considerate but not obtrusive, looking after grandad’s family as if we were patients too. I cannot praise them highly enough. (For those interested it was Lincoln NHS hospital with both EAU wards [we were moved from one to the other as it had a private room available] and Burton Ward). If you are going in there breath easy). We had tea and grandad had morphine and another drug to clear his throat when we felt he needed it. At the very end he was put on his side and for the last few hours was at utter peace. He had not woken since I got there Wednesday morning.
I am sharing this because so many people told me they were in, or knew of, similar situations to the one I wrote about. This is something they will face, be it sooner or later. I want them to know not to fear it. It hurts of course, and I will miss him. Both the person he was and the person he became who, although deeply annoying on occasion, was also the sweetest, most generous man, imaginable. So often he told me how happy he was, how comfortable and how much he loved us. That he had never been happier.
I am not worried for him now. I don’t know what comes next but I know if there is something he is among people who love him and if there is not then he is not suffering. There is no longer the worry on how to cope – or how to afford it. It feels mercenary to think like that but it is true, a weight has been lifted. I will cry and be unhappy, and reminisce and smile. I will grieve, because however it sounded in the other post he was, and is, very well loved. But I will not worry for him any more.
One thing that will not wait is for all you carers out there. You know the person you care for and you know when something is wrong, just like a parent with a child. It turns out all the signs for kidney failure were there. But we didn’t know to connect the symptoms and the doctor brushed off our concerns. We should have insisted but didn’t realise there was anything to insist about. In this case it would have made no difference other than to give us more time to prepare. That wouldn’t have changed anything for him but might have given my aunt a chance to say goodbye in person. Don’t be brushed off.
Thank you for your time in reading this.