Today has been one of the most difficult days of my life. It is apparent that the end is nearing for my husband. We have the kids all at home and they have had their opportunity to say the things they needed to say to their dad. He is, and always has been, a great dad. Life has never been boring with him. As a partner he was good for me, as introverted as I am, he is the opposite, extroverted. I am fairly content and he restless. I was the more practical one and he was the more creative dreamer in our relationship. As a parent he was far more fun that I ever could be. The adventures he had with the kids are legend; they have stories to tell their children that are crazy and funny and larger than life in some respects.
This has been an emotional roller coaster that is coming to an end. I am tired, the kids are tired, but at present my husband is not. He is agitated and anxious. The disease has taken away his ability to swallow since the cancer has progressed to the nodes in his neck. His lungs are congested and he can’t breathe properly which exacerbates his anxiety. Tonight I called in the night shift visiting nurse to ensure that I was following the right protocol in administering anti-anxiety medication. We will see if we can settle him for the night, but I suspect that we will be on shifts for the night to ensure that my husband doesn’t get agitated and try to get out of bed. Quite frankly he is so weak that he would not be able to stand, and a fall is the last thing we need right now.
The visiting nurses today both commented on how rapidly my husband is declining. Although there is no certainty in how long this final stage will last it seems apparent that it won’t be long – perhaps that in itself is a small mercy. There is no doubt that he is suffering as his lungs heave and his breath comes in shallow gasps. I can only hope that the medication we have given him is sufficient to numb some of the discomfort.