05 Nov Patient Experience Day 41: Restless Frustration
I spent half of Monday at work and then I spent the rest of the day working from my parents home. My mother was able to leave the home, go to a few appointments, and run and errand or two.
I stayed and worked remotely, taking calls, emails, and working on a few ideas for an up coming meeting.
As 3:30pm approached I went into the kitchen and open the cabinet where all of my fathers medication is stored. I reached for the box of morphine and placed it on the cupboard. For some reason I was intimidated by the vial. I grabbed it, drew it back, and watched the morphine fill the syringe. I double checked it. I looked again and tripled checked it. I then checked it once more as I was heading to the living room where my father was in his bed. Before giving it to him, I checked once again. I then spoke, “Dad, it is time for your medicine.”
He opened his mouth, I inserted the syringe, and pushed the solution into his mouth. He swallowed it and then motioned for water. I turned around, grabbed the glass of water, placed the straw into his mouth, and he gulped. One, two, three, four gulps. He then blew into the straw and blew bubbles. I removed it from his mouth, and he fell back to sleep.
I returned into the kitchen, washed the syringe, placed it back into the cabinet, and went to wash my hands. I had just given my father morphine. I am not sure why it hit me so hard. I had done this plenty of other times during my clinical days. Some reason, this was an enormous task.
I looked at the clock and sat back down. I said my Divine Mercy Chaplet. I talked in silence to my father after I said my prayers.
I then went back to my work.
My mother arrived home. My mother and I talked a bit more. I told her that I gave my father his medication at 3:30pm. She said good. Talked a bit about funeral arrangements, the appointment my mother had at the VA, and that she forgot to get laundry detergent and asked if I could remember to bring some the following day.
We then went to check on my father and he was a bit restless. It seemed as if he had to use the restroom, so my mother got the urinal and tried to help him go. For some reason in the midst of the drug induced fog, his body wakes up when it comes to bodily functions, and he thinks he can make it to the restroom. My mother raised her voice and told him to just relax and let it go, she had the urinal positioned. Again, he began to fight a bit and resist. As he did so he made an accident on his shirt, the bed linens, and the pad underneath him. My mother raised her voice and told him just to listen and why he couldn’t just listen.
I spoke to my father sternly, “Dad, just go. We got it. It’s okay. You have to go and it has to be like this. You’re okay.” He completed his task. I took the urinal and disposed of its contents.
My mother and I proceeded to change my fathers clothing, bed linens, pad, and repositioned him higher in the bed, covered him with the new sheets, and let him settle back in.
As we retreated back to the kitchen my mother began to cry. She spoke through her tears, “I feel horrible for getting upset with him. I shouldn’t have yelled.”
I responded, “Mom, it’s okay. He can’t hear you. He doesn’t know what you said, let alone who said it and why it was said. Dad’s spirit is someplace better. This is just his physical body trying to catch up. Don’t worry. You can yell all you need to Mom.”
My mother responded, “You’re right. It’s not my husband. It’s not your dad in there. It’s just his body trying to figure out where it is supposed to go now.”
We then hugged one another. She finished her cry.
I walked into the living room, approached my father, leaned over, wiped the sweat from his brow, and I kissed him on the forehead. It flashed into my head of all the times my father had done that to me throughout my life. I smiled. I rubbed his shoulder and said, “I love you dad. Be safe. It’s okay. You can leave. you will always be with me. I will always love you.”
I kissed my mother goodbye and said I love you.
As I sat in the car and the coolness kissed my face, I thought it was my father kissing me goodnight, blessing me to be safe, and watching me on my way home.
Perhaps my father’s restlessness was due to not knowing how to write the last few words to his final chapter???
As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM