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Life-limiting illness

Looks like we're nearing the end. ? Last few days

108 replies

VivaLeBeaver · 13/11/2013 19:18

My dad is ill with terminal cancer and has taken a turn for the worse. They gave him a few weeks about eight weeks ago.

He's now stopped eating. Drs have said it may only be days now.

He's getting discharged tomorrow and we have a care package in place. Overnight carer, other carers three times a day, district nurse.

I've been visiting him this afternoon and he looks quite well. Was sat in a chair, talking. He's forgetting some words and gets frustrated as at times he can't say what he wants to.

I know its really hard to judge but I'm struggling to know when to not go into work. I initially told my boss I wouldn't be in the rest of the week as from what I was told on Monday I didn't think he'd be with us by the weekend. But today he's looking so well I've told my boss ill be in tomorrow, which she says its good as I only get so many days off allowed.

As it stands I haven't had any time off yet. Dad is only ten mins down the road so I can visit in evenings. Will I know when I need to be there?

My gran died very quickly and even though she was only ten mins down the road and I left as soon as I got a phone call I didn't make it to the nursing home in time. Ideally I wouldn't be going to work this week as I'd like to spend as much time as I could with my dad but if he did live for another two or three weeks I don't think my boss would be very impressed.

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daisydotandgertie · 13/11/2013 19:22

Cancer can take people pretty quickly. For me, work would be less important than being with my Dad - this will only happen once.

ecofreckle · 13/11/2013 19:23

What a sad time for You. Wishing you strength for these next few weeks. Personally I'd risk annoying your boss and maybe arrange to take some holiday. You won't get this time again. With my mum if we'd left when docs advised she'd have been alone without us so that colours my judgement a little. Thinking of you and your dear dad.

IDismyname · 13/11/2013 19:25

I'm sorry to hear your news Viva - It's a terrible situation to be in.

I would maybe go to work tomorrow, and visit him in the evenings, until you or the carers feel he's close to dying. They are very good at knowing these things...

I lost a very very dear friend earlier on this year, and I never made it to her bedside for her final few hours. However, we had some really good chats, some funny emails and some reminiscing, too.

When she died, I felt that I had done my bit to make her final few weeks a bit more bearable. If I had made it to her, I'm not she'd have known or acknowledged me being there, anyway.

I hope that helps - a bit.

VivaLeBeaver · 13/11/2013 19:27

I think I might take next week off as compassionate leve then I'm on annual leave for a week.

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toffeesponge · 13/11/2013 19:28

Work is just work and I can't believe they are being so heartless Sad.

What do you want to do? Then do that.

FurryDogMother · 13/11/2013 19:34

My Dad has terminal prostate cancer (and Alzheimers and vascular dementia), so I do empathise with you. For what it's worth, if I were you I'd take the next week off work and spend as much time with your father as you can. In years to come you will be able to look back on this time you spend with your Dad - that's the way I'm looking at it when I have to decide whether to be at home (in Ireland) or over in the UK (with Dad). I consider every minute I spend with him to be precious. Work and other commitments are 'fixable' after the fact.

So sorry you're having to go through this - it's not easy, I know, and I hope he passes peacefully. Be with him as much as you can.

Thereisaplace · 13/11/2013 19:35

What a shame your boss didn't just say take more time. Is there a chance you could work reduced hours and make the time up when work need extra cover?
I wish I could have been with my Dad more in his last weeks,but he was hours away in hospital and we weren't forewarned that he was actually dying.
My mum was with him every day and one us children visiting in the evenings.All of his children were there on his last day and it is of great comfort that all this day one of us was holding his hand and talking to him on that last day with his favourite classical music playing as he passed away and that it wasn't a struggle for him.

almondfinger · 13/11/2013 19:36

Call in the morning and see how he is, then decide whether to go to work or not. He could go downhill v fast. They usually do perk up a bit close to the end. As everyone above says, you will not get this time again. While he is still lucid and able to chat is when you want to be with him, to talk, tell him you love him etc.

It's a very sad time, but you can use it to make lovely memories.

Dad's are great. If he has stopped eating he will probably fade quickly.

Was just thinking of my own lovely dad and feeling very sad today. I was in a café and saw a couple of men his age having a coffee and thought, why cant he be here? I miss him everyday. Having spent his last week with him and being with him when he died was horrible to watch but comforting that I was able to care for him.

NorbertDentressangle · 13/11/2013 19:36

Sorry that you are going through this.

I think you have to do what you feel is right, even if it means pissing off your work. Take it on a day to day basis.

Also, though, can I add.....if you're not with your Dad when he passes away then please don't beat yourself up about it.

When my Dad died we'd spent the day with him on the ward but went home in the evening as the hospital had thought he would be with us a few more days but he actually passed away that evening before they could call us back in.

So many people (including nurses who have seen this happen many times) said that people will often 'choose' to slip away when they are on their own. Maybe thats what they're more comfortable with, maybe they don't want to upset their loved ones, maybe they just choose a quiet moment when they're ready...who knows?

NotALondoner · 13/11/2013 19:38

I'm sorry to hear about your father. Could you speak to your GP and get signed off work?

VivaLeBeaver · 13/11/2013 19:39

Thanks everyone.

I've just been looking at some websites which state the things people have when they're in the last few days. Bad confusion, sleeping all the time, breathing difficulties. He doesn't have those yet.

The websites said that not eating is a sign they're in their last few weeks but not always the last few days.

But yes, I want to be there while he's aware I'm there. Not just when he's unconscious and struggling to breath. Sad

So sorry for you all who have been here already.

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LovesBeingHereAgain · 13/11/2013 19:40

With my dad, I wouldn't have made it with a call. As it happens I was only there as my manager told me to take a few days off.

If you can take some time.

NotALondoner · 13/11/2013 19:41

I have heard that too, Norbert, about people choosing when they are alone to die.

starrynight19 · 13/11/2013 19:44

I agree with those that say spend this time with your dad. Whilst he is still talking the time is even more precious.

So sorry but work will always be there what a shame they aren't being supportive.

daisydotandgertie · 13/11/2013 20:00

Viva - my DH died of cancer in April. His very last day was as you describe, but the day before we were gambling on the boat race and the day before that he was at work.

Palliative care visited the day before he died and said all was well. They don't always get it right and I would not run the risk tbh.

Queenofknickers · 13/11/2013 20:04

I'm an HR manager and I would tell any manager to tell someone not to even think about work and just be with their Dad. If your boss is annoyed that's really unreasonable. So sorry for what you are going through Thanks

VivaLeBeaver · 13/11/2013 20:46

I'm kind of worried that dad thinks he's right at the end. My brother can't come back till Saturday and as we left he shook my brothers hand which he never does. So I'm thinking is he thinking he might not see him again?

I'd told my brother that I was thinking of taking tomorrow and Friday off work and he asked me what on earth for. Said he didn't see the point.

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Mintyy · 13/11/2013 20:49

Am so sorry. Just wanted to say that my ddad stopped eating about 5 days before he died. His passing was quicker than we thought it would be ... we thought he had a month or two judging from the way he was, when infact it was just a week.

Do please err on the side of caution if you can.

Thanking of you Viva.

toffeesponge · 13/11/2013 20:50

Make your decision on what YOU want to do. Not what your brother thinks you should. I suppose he could be in denial.

VivaLeBeaver · 13/11/2013 21:03

Not much point me been off work tomorrow as dad won't be discharged until the afternoon.....probably late afternoon if I know hospital discharges! So I can go to work and see him later.

I might see if I can finish early Friday so I can go in the afternoon and evening.

I think my brother thinks he wouldn't sit there for hours and hours for days as you kind of run out of things to say. But you don't need to say anything do you?? Just been there is good. Plus its not fair to not support my step mum.

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toffeesponge · 13/11/2013 21:14


VivaLeBeaver · 15/11/2013 20:32

Saw dad yesterday and he was discharged back home same day.

Popped into work this morning then went to see him but didnt actually see him as he was asleep. Sat talking to step mum for a while.

Going again tomorrow.

Have told work I won't be in next week and then I'm on leave the week after.

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toffeesponge · 15/11/2013 20:39

Great news he is home. I hope you can have quality time together.

MrsMcEnroe · 15/11/2013 20:39

I've just seen your update Viva. You have done the right thing. I wasn't with either of my parents when they died and I bitterly regret it.

I hope things go as smoothly and peacefully as they can, and I will be thinking of you. I'm very sorry that you and your family are going through this. x

VivaLeBeaver · 15/11/2013 20:43

Thanks both of you.

I guess there's still a chance I won't be there when he dies. He may die in his sleep, I could get a phone call tomorrow morning with bad news. I hate the uncertainty.

My boss said she didn't mean to sound awful but if he lives for a few weeks, so longer than expected, it may be difficult for me to be off all that time. I know what she means. It's just all stressy.

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