Last Thursday, I stopped by my parents' house after work and hung out for a bit. My brother and my niece were there. My oldest nephew was in and out. Hilarity abounded.
On Saturday, my sister Julie went to my parents' house and fixed lunch for them. My father ate like a trencherman.
On Sunday (which now seems like a thousand years ago), my sister Sarah and I met there at noon to fix lunch, hang out, and cook an extra meal for dinner that the aide could serve to them later.
My father didn't come to the table because he felt nauseated. It's not like him to refuse food.
So we took him to the emergency room. He was admitted to the hospital with a bowel obstruction.
That evening, he was transferred to the ICU because of difficulty breathing. He spiked a fever.
Do you see where this is going?
The doctors asked us, "If it becomes necessary to intubate him, do you want us to?"
Wait. SHIT. What?
We said, "Yes."
Late in the afternoon on Monday the doctors told us that Dad had developed severe sepsis, and the situation was grave. We told them that we did not want intubation, chest compressions, or any extraordinary measures.
A priest came and gave him the last rites. I watched my father make a wavering, loopy sign of the cross. This killed me dead.
They began to try and keep him comfortable with morphine, and after that he was sort of out of it.
On Tuesday morning, the family assembled. When we were all there, the nurse turned off the medications that were maintaining his heartbeat. He died about 3 or 4 minutes later.
It was 48 hours from his first symptom to his dying breath, and for that I am thankful.