So eventually Doctor Fellow got around to getting his mind on track. He sat down and sighed seeming very frustrated that he’d totally lost control of ‘the interview’. What Rich doesn’t understand is that the Palliative Care Team needs to figure out things before they can continue.
Indeed. He asked what our end of life care concerns were. If Rich’s cancer came back ~ he is in monitor mode at this time ~ what would we want to do?
Rich piped up. “I will never go through that again.” Dr. Fellow looked at me. “That is his wish and I agree with it.”
Dr. Fellow asked, “What are your concerns then, if say you have pneumonia and need to be brought to the ER and admitted to ICU, would you want life saving measures? That is if we can get you better.”
I picked up on this one and stated, “We’ve got Living Wills, I have Medical POA for Rich. I can bring in the Living Will for you guys to have. No tubes, no feeding tubes, if the quality of life is deemed to be no quality, then no life saving measures, and just make him comfortable.”
“So you have had this discussion…” he started.
“Yes,” answered Rich, “we set up Estate Planning and end of life stuff like Val said. I am not afraid of dying. It will eventually be a blessing.”
Dr. Fellow asked, “Are you worried about life after your death and what will financially occur with your wife, family, …” he paused. His question sounded rehearsed and as if he were reading it from a ‘how to’ manual.
“We are set up financially, ….okay…” I said, “I can remain in the house until I need to move out or die.”
“You understand then if the cancer were to return or he was to get to that point it would become hospice and do you know what Hospice is?” This from Dr. Fellow.
“Yes, he comes home to die. And I become his Care Taker. If I need help or assistance Vernon County on Aging I think will be contacted and I would have a Hospice nurse come in to check on Rich or some such thing like that? But I’d be taking care of his day to day needs.” I stopped and tried to remember what my mom had said about her days with Don as he died.
I stopped and looked at Doc Fellow. He sat back as though surprised.
“You’ve done this before?”
“No. My mother has.” I shrugged and looked over at Rich who was staring who knows where. He still had those damned sunglasses on. Rich leaned forward and said. “No pain, that is all I ask.”
I sat back and Dr. Fellow said with a bit of wonder in his voice, “Boy you guys are way ahead of the curveball on this one, you seem, so prepared. I’m thinking that you Richard need to work with some issues with Dr. Faris here and we can then prepare for what else you may need.”
Rich sighed. I know he was angry, he just wanted to feel better.
I jumped in. “If I may, can we do this? Rich has PT and then Tia Chi, let’s give these things a whirl and some conversation with Dr. Faris and see where we should go from there?”
Dr. Fellow jumped up, I think he was eager to get out of our appt room. “It sounds like a great plan.”
Dr. Faris agreed to set up some appts to help work with Rich’s mental health issues and these dark days. Rich stopped and talked with Doctor LaConte who is head of Palliative Care on is way out.
I wasn’t privy to the conversation but Rich told me that he told LaConte that he was unhappy with them. LaConte said he’d work on his end and make sure that his Palliative Care team would be able to help.
I told Rich later that I felt he’d actually blown Dr. Fellow away and that Dr. Fellow was not prepared for him. I still think there is hope for Palliative Care, but I also know that my feelings had been hurt deeply. I also knew that my husband was not an easy person to get along with for most people.
The ride home found us silent. No conversation. The Country Music played loudly. I kept wondering if I was happy. I loved him, I despised him, and I cared for him.
And it seemed as though it was ALL about him and nothing about me. I get that because HE has had the cancer and the health issues. But sometimes I feel like he pulls the Drama Queen Card out and uses it.
So that is that.
And I am emotionally and physically exhausted.