On this Valentine's Day, my Dad lays in a hospital bed in a rehabilitation center, where he does not belong. My Mother is by his side. Dad had been in a hospital for the past 8 days. He is laboring to breathe as a result of advanced emphysema. He is also aspirating fluids into his lungs. (He also struggles because he had lung cancer surgery in 1999 that resulted in the removal of a lobe of one of his lungs.) The rehab staff has been rude and inattentive. They say he's too sick to be there but the hospital people said they had done all they could do and he needed to go to rehab. A social worker told my Mother this afternoon, "I guess this is not a good fit for your husband", as though he were choosing a country club?! So, it's okay to throw the patient to the curb because he's too sick for your facility???
These past days have been the saddest of my life. My Dad is usually a fiery character, opinionated and grumpy (and also, a good and giving Dad and hardworking man) . But now he is passive, barely able to speak or stay awake. I never thought I'd say this, but I've missed his grumpiness. I want my Dad back. My poor Mother is sad and quiet and my heart breaks for her. On February 20th, they will be married for 53 years. I think sometimes they wonder how they ever put up with each other, but their love has endured, and now they are planning a great escape from the rehab place tonight. Dad just wants to go home and Mother wants to take him home. If she is going to be the one giving him the care he needs at the rehab place, then why not do it at home? (that's what she said) They aren't really going to escape but there was some discussion between them about doing it. When I first heard about the plan I was aghast, but then I realized Mother is right.
Mother will be meeting with someone later today to arrange for hospice care.