This is not something I wanted to relate piecemeal here, as my dad’s decline consisted of one problem after another over the past month or so. That’s why you hadn’t heard about it here before. So here it is, all at once:
Dad had stage 2 Alzheimer's and had been deterioriating mentally more rapidly over the past seven months. In May he lost his appetite, wanted to be in bed a lot, said he was cold. Had him checked out; he was losing weight, had kidney and ureter stones and a very enlarged prostate. He had a biopsy which revealed no prostate cancer. He got a lithotripsy; got rid of a stone but wound up incontinent. I helped my 80-yr.-old mom care for him at home as much as possible, but it was exhausting. He needed 24 hr. care. We hired nurses to help us out but that got very costly very fast. I was trying to be his night nurse but I could hardly get any sleep. In June we were about to have a procedure done to shrink the prostate, but he got a DVT (blood clot) in his leg and that was more critical, so he was in the hospital for a week. Very agitated and aggressive to the point of needing restraints and sedatives. He was pulling out tubes, trying to get out of bed, batting at the nurses, etc. They put in a foley catheter because his prostate had blocked his bladder output. Got out of there and went into skilled nursing/rehab for a week. They treated the bedsore he'd gotten in the hospital, got him a low bed, kept him busy and cleaned him up; kept an eye on him since we could not do so at home anymore. He had to go back to the hospital, ICU this time, because his blood pressure went too low and he would not drink enough fluids. (He often refused them from us and from staff.) He was there a week. By this time, he'd had so many IV drips that his arms were dark purple from them. Back to rehab and seemed not too bad for a few days, though he wasn't interested in eating and he was rambling a lot; and he didn't really know where it was and didn't always remember our names. His blood thinners had been reduced and we were hoping to get the prostate procedure done eventually. Also, he had been taken off the horrible psychiatric meds which had not helped him at all. He could not take Alz meds due to allergies. Then he had a severe allergic/anaphylactic reaction to an antibiotic called Nitrofurontoin (sp?) which he'd been given for a UTI. He'd had this sort of problem several times before, but not to this degree. They gave him oxygen and Benadryl in the ER, suctioned him, but still he seemed "Air hungry" for the next 24 hrs. I am pretty sure he wore himself out from gulping for air even though his blood oxygen level was around 95%. Hospital called us in when it was clear he was going quickly. He passed just a minute or two before my mom and I arrived, but he had been so far gone by then that he might not have known we were there. My brother came with his fam and we spent 4 hrs. sitting with dad, taking turns in the cafeteria, making phone calls, etc. Then picked up all his stuff from rehab, got food for all and spent time at home. He had a DNR and had already specified that he wanted no extraordinary measures taken. We had told his dr. a few days earlier that we did not want him to put in a PEG (feeding tube) since it was against dad's wishes and it would have been another tormenting procedure for him and us to go through. So...it's been a very emotional time, of course, and I have been emailing and making phone calls, eating whatever and trying to keep busy. Mom is holding up pretty well, relieved though still grieving. We look at it this way: no more struggles for dad: no more IVs, needles, tubes, oxygen, catheter, meds, nurses, doctors, hospitals, rehab, diapers, etc. No more stress and worry and flurries of phone calls and trips to the ER or ICU for mom and me and brother. One good thing is that Medicare and the folks' insurance paid for everything, and they did not have to go on Medi-Cal. The folks had also arranged and paid for the mortuary services several years ago. It will be private and then a cremation, just as Dad wanted. I have left out some details, but it's all such a blur now that I probably couldn't remember them anyway. There was way too much going on here over the past month, as you can surmise. We were not shocked that he died, but stunned that this last bout was so quick. Just wanted to tell you.