Wednesday, 10 October 2012

But yesterday...

Yesterday, he walked to the radiology department.  Yes, he stopped to catch his breath, but he got there, and back.  Yesterday he was talking to his family.  He enjoyed his dinner.  He made his fire.  He had plans to go out with friends.

Today, he's wheeled into the department.  He can hardly catch his breath.  He can't talk.  He can't move his arm or leg.  He lifts his eyes to grab my attention.  He understands.  He moves the other hand, grasps onto the bed side rails.  He's impatient, he's uncomfortable and he's distressed.

In just over 24 hours, his life has changed forever.  That's what a stroke can do.  Take a proud elderly man, and force him into giving up his independence.  Stop him taking his medications which help his heart failure, make him breathless.

I read somewhere once, the question, 'would you prefer to have a form of cancer, or a stroke, a motor neurone disease?'.  The answer slightly surprised me, the reply was cancer, and today I see entirely why.  That man didn't want to live like this.  He told his family that.  He wanted to die at home.  His wishes will no longer be upheld.  But I certainly hope his passing is comfortable and dignified.

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