After 18 days in hospital, he improved enough to be sent to Heritage Lodge nursing home. He is in the 'high care' section, sharing a room with a lovely man who was in the same hospital ward with him — however they don't have much interaction, both needing lots of rest.
He is completely bed-ridden, having lost the use of his legs and the ability to adjust his own body in bed. He can move his arms somewhat, and his head just a little; that's all. The nurses check and turn him every two hours. Since he has been there, he has mostly claimed to have no pain — but when he is moved, it hurts him and he groans or cries out, 'No, no!' and 'That's enough!' Otherwise he says he is comfortable, and he looks peaceful. He still has the catheter. His food is puréed and his liquids thickened to prevent anything going down his airways, because he has lost the ability to trigger his swallow mechanism properly.
I know now that he is not coming home even for a visit. At first I think he knew that too. He knew exactly where he was. Today, five days later, he asked, 'Where am I now?' (It looks different from the room he had before.) I told him, explaining that he is not sick enough to be in hospital any more, but not yet well and strong enough to come home.
His two older children arrived from interstate late on the night before he was transferred to Heritage. The transfer happened in the afternoon. We all went to see him as soon as we got the call to say he had arrived there, and he was delighted to see us, particularly his kids, and fairly talkative although it was obviously something of an effort. (It is as if the thoughts take a long time to reach articulation.) Over the next few days, though, he became more and more sleepy and weak. They felt there was little they could do, and it was very hard for them to see him like that, so they decided to go back home.
That afternoon I went in on my own, and found him dressed and sitting in a recliner chair watching a movie on TV. I sat beside him, and he reached out his hand for me to hold it. It was obvious he enjoyed the movie. Afterwards he nodded off peacefully. Next day he was in bed with his eyes closed, but roused when I spoke to him.
Yesterday, though, he seemed barely conscious. Early in the evening the doctor phoned me to say he was very concerned; the nurses had called him in because they themselves were so concerned. My darling had eaten almost nothing, and was very unresponsive. We had the conversation which I also had earlier, in the hospital: would he want to be kept alive no matter what, or just kept comfortable and allowed to slip away? I know, because we have discussed it in the past, that he would want to be allowed to go. I gave my instructions accordingly. I said that one of his sons was planning to come up in mid-September, and asked if he should come sooner. 'Yes,' said the doctor. I phoned Younger Stepson immediately.
I was there at dinnertime and tried to feed him, but he closed his teeth against the food. The nurses said they wouldn't force him to eat.
Younger Stepson arrived this morning on the first plane. We went straight around to see his father — and found him awake and much brighter. The doctor had said he would stop one medication which had a sedative effect: obviously the right idea. Over the course of the day he has eaten; not much, but a lot more than he did yesterday. He was touched by how many visitors he had in the afternoon: four of us, YS and me and two friends.
'The world's here,' he said, tearful with surprise and delight.
'Dad, we're here because we love you,' said YS.
One of the other visitors is a very good healer who did some work with him, a gentle laying on of hands accompanied by invisible mental/spiritual techniques. She said afterwards that she had put him in a place of peace, joy and love, so that he would be awash with that, and he certainly appeared to be from the expression on his face as he fell gently asleep.
He is also getting ongoing absent healing and prayers from myself and many others. He is being looked after beautifully by the nurses. I watch them in action and could not ask for better.
'Death' my Reiki Master used to say, 'Is the greatest healer.' I believe his time has come, whether he goes soon or lingers. What I want for him is peace and comfort, and the knowledge of how much he is loved and what he has meant to so many people in his life ... and of course to go easily.