I went to see grandpa this morning at 8 and when I arrived, the CNA, Judie, from his hospice care was there. She was washing his hair and giving him a shave, all without any acknowledgement from Grandpa. After she got Grandpa cleaned up, she called the nurse on the phone and said that she smelled a faint fruity smell on his breath and that gramps had a slight fever. When my parents arrived, she informed us that these were signs that Grandpa had started the active phase of dying. Her schedule was to be Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 am; however, she did not seem confident that there would be anyone to see come Monday morning.
At around 10, we headed to work where we stayed for about an hour and a half. Then, we returned to visit Grandpa. When we arrived, Grandpa was not resting as peacefully as he had been that morning. His breathing was laced with moans, which we interpreted as him being in pain. We called the resident nurse who administered morphine. After about 45 minutes, Grandpa stopped moaning, and his breath became very shallow and deep. Around this time, the hospice nurse arrived.
She told us a lot of what we had heard that morning. This time, he had a couple more symptoms (the shallow breathing, some molding – I think that’s what it’s called, and a bit of sleep apnea – which he had the day before). We all sat around and Grandpa’s apnea seemed to get worse. He would take one quick breath and then would stop breathing for 10 seconds. Then a breath and another 18 seconds. And so on. Dad ran out to the car and I could see my mom start to look concerned. The time between breaths was getting longer. She went out to get my dad, leaving me sitting next to Grandpa thinking, “please take another breath, please take another breath.” Finally, dad came back in just as Grandpa gasped. Grandpa took two more breaths after that and was pronounced dead at 2:17 this afternoon.
Grandpa left this world with family by his side and surrounded with love, prayers and well wishes. I hope we made your journey a little easier, Grampy. Always. xo