Everyone knew already in March 2020 that Peter’s cancer was well advanced. So, it was only a matter of time, when his bladder cancer would spread into other areas.
By June 2020 the head oncologist at the hospital advised Peter, to bring his affairs in order. It looked to him, that the cancer had already spread to his bones. A few months later a nuclear test was done, that showed without doubt that the cancer had well and truly spread to his bones, which meant then, that in all probability Peter would have only a very short time to live anymore. It was obvious, that he was in the last stages of cancer and so was in need of some palliative care. . . . Soon, it was organised to give him palliative care at home with adequate pain reducing medication administered by Hospital staff who came to our home at scheduled times. To make the total care possible, quite a few family members were involved in helping to give this, plus we did get some subsidised respite care.
I would say, very often it was very difficult work for all the family. For sure it took a lot out of them, whereas overall I, the 86 year old wife, had not to do all that much physical work in looking after Peter. It was so amazing, how all the children did very lovingly look after their Dad! Also there was a constant stream of visitors by other family members, and a lot of friends were showing that they cared for him very much.
Somehow, all of us had finally to be prepared that is was highly unlikely that Peter would still be alive by Christmas. This prediction was close enough: Peter died on the 12th of the 12th 2020 and was cremated on the 21st of December 2020, our 64th Wedding Anniversary!
But now back to March 2020. By that time, Peter had enormous kidney pain. A solution was found, to drain the liquid around the kidney and his heart: A stent was inserted by an urology team. The stent went from the kidney to the bladder. The stent did its job quite well for a while. However we knew, the stent would have to be renewed after a few months. Finally this was done in August 2020.
On my birthday, on the 21st of September, Peter could hardly walk. I think he realised then that he probably would not last much longer. But somehow he may still have been in a state of denial. And I believe, one of our daughters and her husband were both in a state of denial too. The way they acted and looked after him once he did get palliative care showed to me a denial of very closely impending death.
I, on the other hand, I was already in 2018 convinced, that either his bad heart or his cancer would be the cause of his death. For instance, once the BCG treatment (Bladder cancer: What to know about BCG treatment)
was stopped, there was not much left, that could be done. It was said, that because of his heart trouble, it was not possible for Peter to survive a five hour bladder operation!
So Peter’s cancerous bladder could not be removed. That meant, Peter’s cancer would sooner or later be spreading outside. . . .There was just no denying it!
I think my sadness started already in 2016, when Peter first found out about the tumour in his bladder. I did not want him to die before me: He would have been able to cope without me so much better than I can cope now without him!
I was sad, that Peter developed a terminal sickness, of course I was sad. But for sure I was not in denial that eventually the sickness turned out to be terminal. I was just grateful, that we could still have a few good years together, for Peter was most of the time still pretty active and not in severe pain since he was always well medicated.
Yes, there was sadness, but we were also grateful that we were still able to enjoy a lot of togetherness! Really, most of the time life seemed to be still quite enjoyable . . . .
Come to think of it, the five stages of grief somehow may not have effected my life so utterly, since we had such an early warning, and I was never in denial of the situation and learned to accept it early on. The grief may have effected our children much more. So, I would like to know, how I can help my children!
Very recently I found out, that as early as March 2020 our son was extremely depressed and in tears about the condition of his Dad. This was the time when his wife decided she did not want to see him anymore. I think she had not seen his tears, but she saw his neighbour who had recently moved into the house next door. This neighbour is a very compassionate woman and willing to be a good friend to Martin, however she is due for some rehabilitation for she drinks too much. She keeps telling over and over again, that she had quite a lot of bad experiences and suffering, partly because of her mother.
This neighbour is divorced. However she has a very lovely daughter from an earlier relationship. The daughter is divorced too and has a new partner, she also has a very good job. The neighbour’s 27 year old daughter has a sweet little four year old daughter and shares that little girl with her ex-husband. And when she is feeling well enough, dear grandma can look after the little one for a couple of nights as well. I met the whole family. They are all very nice.
My son lives in Victoria and is already retired, whereas my two daughters still work full-time. The daughters live in NSW both of them close enough for fairly regular visits, and one of the granddaughters comes to help too, whenever her work schedule allows for it.
So, the son lives some 600km away in Victoria. But he’s come to visit quite often whenever he was needed for something or other and when it was possible to visit without having to go into quarantine!auntyutaArticle, Copy, Diary, Life in Australia, Old Age10 Comments 5 MinutesEdit”About Grieving”
We are in the midst of HOLY WEEK 2021. So tomorrow is GOOD FRIDAY, a holiday. Sitting in front of my house in the early morning sun – this is what I am looking forward to for tomorrow.
I am not looking forward to asking someone for a lift to the MEDICAL CENTRE. Do I really need a change of the dressing on my lower leg? We’ll see.
Sitting in the sun. This is all I am longing for . . . .
Last Sunday I returned from my two weeks holiday at my son’s place in Victoria. With the help of one daughter and one granddaughter I was able to go to the MEDICAL CENTRE on Monday and on Wednesday. I was able to use the ROLLATOR, which was really a great help. Right now, I do not feel confident to walk with my walking stick!
And anyway, I get some more visitors on EASTER SUNDAY. This is in only two more days!
I wonder whether I can adjust to be living totally on my own. My brother reckons, I sound alert on the phone, Then what about my mobility? Has it become better or worse? I would say unfortunately at present it is a lot of the time quite bad. But maybe this has to do with this terrible infection I had in my leg. And this infection may also have to do with my constant tiredness.
Yes, always feeling tired. However when my brother rang from Berlin, my tiredness soon became less and less. After a while it felt good talking to him and his wife.
I like living in my own home. Every Thursday I get two hours home help. There are a lot of plans, that I should get some more help in. Strangely, this makes me feel even more dependent!
Is this kind of dependency really better than living in an AGE CARE HOME? Living in such a home, how would that make me feel?
Maybe I should look into some kind of HOSTEL type accommodation? What a HOSTEL is like, I described in a blog I wrote many years ago.
I had a friend, who lived in a HOSTEL for many years. She died before she needed to be transferred to a NURSING HOME. I think, she was very lucky in this regard. She was 93 when she died.
Well, this was 17 years ago. Maybe what used to be called HOSTEL is now being called AGE CARE HOME. Why then do I have such a horror of ending up in an AGE CARE HOME?
It was acknowledged some time ago. that the house I live in needs a lot of changes and renovations, especially the outside area. I think it would be increasingly difficult for me to look after it even with some extra home help.
Why can’t I just organise everything myself? The two weeks away from home were good for me. I discussed with my son and his friendly neighbour that it would be good for me to join a SENIOR’S CITIZENS CLUB that organises outings and trips to holiday destinations. But since we are not out of the woods yet with COVID 19 maybe this is not such a good idea. Should I just stay as much as possible totally on my own?
What can I still do? I can still shower and dress myself, even if it takes a long time. I can still go for slow walks with my rollator. I have often trouble with my eyesight. However, I can still do some things on the computer and I enjoy some TV programs and listening to music. When I can get hold of a shopping trolley, I can still do my own shopping. I love cooking (mainly vegetarian meals), I have a good appetite and I do not mind doing the dishes. I definitely can do the dishes. I can do my personal washing. The home help on Thursdays hangs out the bigger washing for me and does a lot of the cleaning and sometimes drives me to the shops.
Recently some friends gave me a lift to go to Mass. But I have not contacted them yet since my return from Victoria. A while ago I took up joining my friends again for our Friday afternoon games: Scrabble and Rummy Cub. Well, of course for the last two weeks I was away, and this week on GGOD FRIDAY there won’t be any games.
For the next few days I’ll be sitting as much as possible outside to enjoy some sun, and maybe I can do a bit of walking too with my rollator. If I get sick of being by myself for every meal, I can walk with my rollator across the road to the bowling Club for some lunch. I do like their prawn cutlets!