This whole thing happened surprisingly fast, at least it did for my sister and myself. Mom had known he was failing for some time and even though we all live in the same town I hadn't been able to see them for quite some time because of my work schedule. Add in the fact that I work in an elementary school germ pit and dad had COPD and you'll get the picture. For some time I had settled for daily phone conversations rather than expose my parents to the latest crud that was making the rounds.
I had raised the alarm on June 7th when I went to an out of town family event with my parents. It was clear dad was in a lot of pain and needed to be hospitalized asap. I had asked him to allow me to take him to the ER as we were driving back and he had refused (a total of 3 times). When I got home I sucked it up and called Evil Sister. She had dad convinced to go to the hospital by the next morning. He spent a week in ICU then another week on the cardio-pulmonary unit. During this time they found he had a very fast growing form of cancer (a Type 2) that had already reached stage 4. He had decided to do chemo right before they discharged him to go home on the 20th. And then. On the 21st he suddenly changed his mind. He made the decision with mom to remain at home.
PSA for those of you with aging parents: CHECK THEIR INSURANCE COVERAGE. Mom and dad always said they had fantastic insurance; a great supplemental policy that dad had received as part of his retirement package. They are luckier than most - they paid hardly anything and it picks up all costs that Medicare won't cover after the Medicare deductible has been met. It does NOT, however, cover anything that Medicare doesn't. Medicare will ONLY cover inpatient hospice care. Nothing at home other than weekly visits by a nurse practitioner.
My sister and I had to make a lot of decisions on who would handle what and I do give her credit, she has thus far managed to behave like a human being instead of a raging bitch. Since I had worked as a rescue medic/EMT, I was the one who would stay and help mom take care of dad. I spent most of the last week there. Believe me, a nurse would have been helpful. Dad failed so quickly the last week and because of that we needed different medications that were a pain in the ass to get because of the nurse situation. We did not have the option of using an IV at home because our state laws forbid that unless a nurse is in the home for at least one shift daily. It took me a day and a half to get him cleared for a catheter because of fucking paperwork. The doctor finally intervened and just flat-out ordered the outpatient care service to do it NOW. I'll write about some of the specifics later because I really do need to talk about it but can't with anyone IRL. For right now I'll just tell you it was hard. Fucking hard.
You might read about me in the news after the next time I hear some idiot mouthing off on the evils of Obamacare and how we don't want socialized medicine here in 'Murica because we're the greatest damn country on earth, ya know? I swear I'll fucking beat that bastard to a pulp and before I do I'll let him know he's a moron and we'd all be better off living in Denmark.