Palace of Care – Please Keep Him Alive

Photo by Ricky Kharawala on Unsplash

I’m very worried about your father, I think he only has a short amount of time left.

The doctor yesterday said he might only have one to two weeks left to live.

That would have been right yesterday, but your father’s condition got worse overnight. He had a lot of pain, agitation and distress. I am worried that he might die possibly within hours to days.

Dying? You think he is dying?

Yes. You’ve noticed his breathing becomes faster, then it slows right down, and then there are gaps in his breathing. This is what we see when people are dying.

Is there anything that you can do to keep him alive? His son is on his way from overseas, he’ll be here by this evening. Can you give him food or fluids?

He’s unable to swallow anything. If we fed him it would make him choke. The safest way to give him fluids is to keep his mouth moist.

Could you put in a line, and give him fluids and nutrition?

We don’t do that as his body is too unwell to cope with food or fluids. Extra fluids could lead to painful swellings, or worsen his breathing. His body wouldn’t be able to digest food even if we put a tube through his nose, down his throat and into his stomach. He wouldn’t be able to digest the food. This might cause vomiting, and could lead to diarrhoea. We don’t want to make his tough situation even worse.

How about Oxygen? Could that help his breathing?

I’m not sure. We can check his oxygen saturation level. If it is low he might get some benefit from having oxygen.

Is there anything else you can do to keep him alive?

We are at the limit of what humans can do, it is now up to higher powers than us. We can make him comfortable though.

Will it help us to wake him up when he is sleeping?

Probably not, he is too unwell. He knows his son is flying over. He will try to hang on. I’m worried that they might not be able to see each other again.

He can hear and understand what you are saying. He will try to respond to you but he probably won’t be able to. We want to look after him well and get him and you all through this.

Thank you, doctor.

You’re welcome. Please take care and rest when you can.

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