D.N.R

Last week I wrote To chemo or not to chemo that talked about Dad’s latest dilemma (unsurprisingly, whether to have chemo or not) and the real life implications of patient choice for him, my mum and his family and friends. Dad has chosen not to have chemo and to wait and see what happens. This week he had an appointment with one of the nurses from the palliative care team to discuss his end of life options. Him and Mum have talked about this a little, I’ve had one or two conversations with him about it but mostly I think Dad would prefer to not think about it.

He has made two decisions that I imagine will turn out to be critical – he has decided that he doesn’t want to die at home. Everything I read seems to suggest that people wish to end their days at home but not my Dad, he’d prefer to be in a hospice, the hospital or a care home. I think I understand his logic – my parents home is where they’ve lived their entire married lives; it’s where we all grew up and I hope, for as long as she wants to, it’s where my mum will remain; my grandparents, in their 90s, live next door; and I suspect that Dad doesn’t want it to be the home of sad memories (even as I type that I know I’ll return to this point at some stage).

The other decision Dad made was to sign a Do Not Resuscitate, a D.N.R. The practicalities of this mean that he needs to make an appointment to see his GP and sign it with him, but they had the discussion this week and he’s decided that he doesn’t want resuscitating, should anything now happen to him. I think I understand that decision too, he knows that he is terminally ill and so why would he choose to prolong his life – and yet – he is also desperate to not just sit back and accept his fate. It’s a strange old balancing act knowing that your time is limited but not wanting to give up hope.

This week he is finishing off building a Wendy house for my niece, her daddy left for Afghanistan last week, so I’m sure my sis has appreciated the company as much as Libbie will love it and I hope it will last for years to come. It’s my mum’s birthday later this week and rather than come back for it Dad is going down to my brother’s for more DIY! I think my ma is trying to adjust to life in the future, she keeps talking about needing to try and get used to life without Dad, I’m worried they’re passing by what time they have but Mum says she is happy as long as Dad is happy….so there we are. I’m determined we’ll get together for mine and mum’s birthdays next weekend so it won’t go completely without notice – I’m not as grown up as mum about things and I’m feeling the need to spend some time together as a family while we can.

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4 thoughts on “D.N.R

  1. The post brings back to me how odd it felt when my mum had cancer and we were having to go in to normal decision making mode about this odd end of life stuff. On the one hand having to talk about who would call the undertaker (I was the chosen one) and then be confronted, i suppose, by the fact of having that conversation with my mum.

    It still feels odd, but in a way I treasure. Looking back I am so glad we did talk it through and make decisions. Some of the decisions weren’t the right ones, but making them together was so important and remain with me as some of the most mundane and yet most special moments with my mum.

    kind regards

    Noel

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