Dad called this morning and we had a nice, long chat. He was sitting at the bedside so Ev could hear him talking to me.
He said that Ev's breathing seems harder now and she is breathing with her mouth open all the time. The nurses are giving more medication to keep her comfortable. Dad feels good about how good the hospice is to keep a patient comfortable, without pain. He said, "I guess it's their trademark".
Dad doesn't want to leave her side now. He asked son in law Al to keep an appointment for Dad's hearing aids at the VA. Dad's "ears" have needed some repair for a while now and while he did not want to miss the appt, he also did not want to leave Ev's side. So, Al was going to take the hearing aids to the appointment.
Dad slept well last night, he said the nurses even commented on that. When he woke at 7am he could see Ev's arm was 'flying around', so he got up and got over to her side. He said he sat there for over an hour in his underwear while holding her hand and the nurses teased him a little.
Dad said he has had "sufficient" coffee. It's the first thing everyone wants to do to help :-). But, Dad says he never turns it down because he can see it makes everyone feel better to do something to help, especially the volunteers. And if the coffee comes with a couple of cookies, he can't turn those down, ever.
The hospice people continue to be at the top of Dad's list. He said that he thinks they have a special gift to work there.
Jeff, Ev's youngest son, is there early every morning. He's taking care of many of the 'tasks ' that need done. Dad's grateful for that. Dad mentioned that Dad had called the lawyer in Belmond that he has used and feels very relieved that this lawyer friend has assured Dad that he can help with all necessary steps that will need to be handled down the road.
I'm not sure if all of you knew that last Friday night, Ev went with some of her kids and Grandkids to The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, IA to see The Temptations. (Dad and Ev ballroom danced at The Surf many many times!) Ev has always told me that she loves the music of her kid's generation. Ev called me the next morning and told me how much fun the concert was. Ev was so proud that she had even taken some pictures of The Temptations with her cell phone. Fast forward to Tuesday, when Dad's home health care nurse, Nancy, stopped at the hospice to see Ev and Dad. Dad says when Nancy asked Ev if she liked seeing the Temptations, Ev responded with a silent 'ya'. But now, when Dad talks to Ev, he gets no response at all.
Dad was remembering to me about how it went when his mother, Frederikke, died. He and Ansgar were at the hospital with her. I bet it was a comfort to my Grandpa then to have Dad there with him. And I'm glad that the O'Toole kids are there with Dad now. Medicine has changed a lot since then. Thank goodness for hospice care.
One of Ev's granddaughters sat with Dad for about an hour last night and just visited. She's not very old, but has her own car so said she could stay after the others went home. Dad really enjoyed that and said "those kids were raised right". It's cute because Dad's not sure of those kid's names, says the girls look too much alike, but that didn't matter, he enjoyed the visit.
Dad's a Dane, ha! He's calm, kind and knows his own mind. He said Ev's kids have been wanting him to eat, and he hasn't been hungry. But last night "they brought a quart jar of fruit, and I ate the whole thing!" They also are often suggesting he lay down. To me said "I'm not going to lay down". I bet the O'Toole kids are catching on to that. :-)
Well, this got much longer than I expected, but since we can't all be in Iowa or have a chance to talk to Dad, I try to capture most of what we talk about when he calls me.
I'm attaching a photo from Ev's 80th birthday party. She had so much fun planning her outfit and her speech, and all the crazy stuff. She managed to get everyone there too! It was a fun weekend.
And so it goes...