My Dad remains hospitalized this morning. Monday evening I had the opportunity to speak with several friends and trusted advisors, including the nurse-facilitator of my Alzheimer's support group and a surgeon friend whom I first met in Boy Scouts almost two decades ago.
After reviewing everything in my mind over and over again late last night I am convinced that Dad is writing his final chapter and it remains to be seen how many pages it will contain. I was told that the death process in Alzheimer's can be very ugly but I take some solace in hearing that it is usually harder on the loved ones than on the one who is dying.
Dad has been losing his mental faculties for years now and early this year it became apparent that Alzheimer's Disease is now ravaging his body as well. Although we could be wrong, it seems that we have reached the point where his brain no longer is totally able to direct the functioning of some critical physical processes. One system will start to shut down, and then another, and then another, until eventually the next one brings an end.
Dad is very weak so at some point you have to think the last ounce of strength and will to survive will ebb out of his body. But we just can't predict with any certainty when that will happen and how he will surrender his will to survive.
I am not sure how long it will be appropriate for him to remain in the hospital so I am beginning the process of getting him qualified for hospice. It is also clear that he cannot return to the memory care facility where he has been living with Mom for almost two years so they will now be separated for the first time in 62 years of marriage.
Hospice is necessary for Mom and for us as well because I have no idea how to handle this with Mom since she too is a victim of Alzheimer's Disease, just not as far along in the process.