Thursday, October 21, 2010

Decisions Today

I arrived in southern NH and drove to Maine yesterday afternoon, delighted to be in still-beautiful New England in autumn. So thankful for the friends who made it possible for me to come.

When Mom & I hugged it was pretty emotional, but after recovering from that, we went straight down the hall to see Dad. His eyes were closed, but he woke right up and was happy to see us. I gave him a kiss and he rubbed the stubble on his cheek self-consciously. He always liked to be clean-shaven.

After a short visit, he wanted to go back to sleep. Ten minutes is about all he can handle at one time now.

This morning was our meeting with Dad's care team. He was invited to participate, but declined because he can't hear. His hearing aid mysteriously got broken about two weeks ago. Ledgeview is filing a claim with their insurance, but doesn't think it will be covered. :-( They also promised to track down who was on duty that night.

Mom and I got a comprehensive report on Dad's condition. He is declining. Today was his last day of PT and OT, because he has lost so much strength and stamina. The therapy is a major ordeal, which is justifiable IF it is going to result in improved quality of life. But that is not the case with Dad. So, as the OT therapist said, "We're not into torture. Let's let him be comfortable."

Another significant factor is his weight loss. He was admitted to Ledgeview on Sept. 17 at 165. On October 1, he was down to 147, despite receiving full nutrition through the feeding tube.

The big decision before us is how Dad's care should be administered and paid for. His feeding tube qualifies him for Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) coverage in the nursing home for 65 more days. We had considered initiating Medicare's Hospice coverage now, hoping it would pay for part of the nursing home care. But we were told today that it would not.

So, we will request that Ledgeview bill Medicare for the remaining 65 days of SNF coverage. After that, Mom will need to pay for it. She could not possibly care for him at home, even with Hospice assistance--it is not comprehensive enough.

Dad has been asking, "When can I go home?" The answer has been "When you get strong enough." But we decided today to tell him honestly that he has cancer (he had been told, but didn't remember) and that it looks like the Lord will be taking him Home soon. He did not respond. I asked what he thought about that, and he said, "I don't know what to think." I tried to encourage him with some thoughts about how wonderful Heaven will be. Please pray for him to have hope and peace.

Mom is doing well. Dad is uncomfortable and unhappy, and she wants him released from his prison. I'm doing pretty well most of the time. Lois is planning to bring baby Daniel (5 months) and come for a short visit sometime in the next few weeks also.

Thank you for thinking of us and praying for us. We very much need God's wisdom and strength! How we praise Him for His goodness that we can always depend on, no matter the storms of life.

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