CCS research has told me that one result of the brain tumour is intercranial
pressure (ICP). These are the symptoms of this. I know that Dad had shown these
symptoms over the course of the past eleven months, since his tumour was
1. headache – often occurring early in the morning and made worse by coughing, bending or straining
5. vision problems
6. difficulty speaking
9. drowsiness and decreased consciousness
10. trouble with coordination
11. loss of muscle strength
12. loss of the ability to move a body part (paralysis)
I went in to see dad before choir practice in Orillia. A PSW had just changed dad’s sheets. I had seen her from the parking lot as I looked up at dad’s window. His Valentine decorations were a bright spot in an otherwise bland institutional building.
Snow has piled up and was quite a chill in the minus 15-degree brisk winter air. Once I made it up to his room I found him in his chair, with his head lolling over to one side.
I mentally kicked myself since I had washed his Obus form cover and had forgotten it at home. I had forgotten to send Brian in with it, too. It would have helped him greatly. He won’t lean back and put his head on the headrest.
Occasionally his head would shake with tremours. It pained me to look at him.
He was trying to form words but could not speak clearly. He spoke as if he had
marbles in his mouth. I thought I heard, “Yie down.” meaning he wanted to lie
down. He spoke this phrase several times, too ill to gesture any more. He just
cannot relax. I heard him say, 'aaggghh.' I knew that there were two staff members
on breaks after the meal they had just served at five. I could hear staff
calling for help with ‘lifts’, putting residents into bed. I decided to sit and
wait until staff came, as I knew they would eventually.
PSW came into the room. The PSW mentioned that she had just changed his bed, as
it was quite messy and smelly with bowel movements. I thanked her for doing so
and showing such concern. We spoke of his ear problem. There were crusted bits
in it. I told her he had big wax problems and she thought that he had an ear
infection. I told her that I though he was in more pain than the medications
they began to change his adult brief there was a big problem. Nursing staff
had given him a laxative, since he had been constipated. He hadn’t eaten
anything in ages, but I am just the daughter.
The ladies began to lift him; he
groaned as they did so. He could be having any number of symptoms, but I am
sure he was in pain. He had been nauseous for months. I could see the bones in
his back sticking out. He was as gaunt as a holocaust survivor. He had pressure
sores from his bones digging through his thin buttock skin into where he sat on
the cushioned wheelchair. They wiped and washed and changed him several times,
as he was still evacuating his bowels. The kept their sense of humour and
smiled. He grunted and moaned. I know the man is in pain.
this difficult scene I got into the car and drove to choir.
I was shaking after
the 35 minutes drive. It felt good to have something else to do, sing and read
the music. I couldn’t get the smell of dad’s feces out of my nose. I wondered
if I smelled this bad or if I was just remembering and worrying. M sits
beside me at choir and she listened while I vented. I explained that we are
having trouble advocating for dad. She is married to a pharmacist. She said to
keep advocating. We know Dad best and know what we want done for him. I came
spoke to this pharmacist, with experience in such matters, and he strongly
suggested that Dad could go on morphine at this point. I will always be grateful to Wayne Cox for helping me! On the way home I popped
in to see if dad was asleep in the care home. It was ten o’clock, very cold and
dark. The place was deathly quiet. He was sleeping and I was relieved. Off I
I sat down with Brian. He listened to my story and agreed and
suggested I either call the doctor or call the Charge Nurse. I did all of the
above the next day. The Charge nurse was unable to get hold of the doctor. They told me to do so.
It took three days for the doctor to prescribe morphine. He was unreachable at his office, or his clinic. I reported him to the College of Physicians after Dad died a day later.