Archive for July 27th, 2009

Good bye

My step-father died early this morning – peacefully. At 5am Sunday morning we were called by the hospital as his condition was deteriorating. We stayed with him until the evening, when we left he was very, very poorly but his condition had not radically altered since our arrival. Keeping vigil around his bed there were times of sadness and tears, moments of silliness and episodes of silence, what is the protocol for behaviour when accompanying a person through their journey to death? Should everyone maintain a respectful silence or was it right that we would joke, encourage Ref to relax and then sing his favorite songs to him? There were also moments of annoyance with those who were caring for him (generally caring very well for him). Why, why take routine bloods from a man who was dying, who wasn’t being given any fluids because of concerns about fluid overload? I asked the extremely junior doctor this, and he replied that they were checking electrolytes. Why? He’s obviously dying. He will be dehydrated. He will have an electrolyte imbalance but does it matter? The doc responded that on Friday the senior doc had requested that the test be done on Sunday. After some verbal badinage (me) and condescending explanations (the doc) he flounced away, without the bloods. Sometimes sense disappears. The results would not affect my stepfathers treatment or condition. The taking of the bloods may have caused Ref more discomfort as his veins had collapsed and, the processing of the bloods at a weekend would had cost the hospital more, for no good reason.

This morning the phone call came just after 6am, my Mum, sister and her fiancee were there 10 minutes before Ref died, I arrived half an hour later. His death had been peaceful, and for that we are all really, really pleased and very grateful to the nurses.

Now the next nightmare begins. There will be a post-mortem, but it will be by a Home Office pathologist as this is now a criminal investigation. Today there has been a call from the coroner; a visit from 2 police officers; a social worker and a bereavement counsellor, plus a visit to the funeral director. Tomorrow the police are meeting with the CPS and then coming back to talk to us and then next week is the preliminary coroner’s inquest. That’s just the official ‘stuff’, there are still all the personal bits and pieces to go through, all those items which continue to epitomise my step-father.

It’s just all so stupid, stupid, unbelievable and ultimately a tragic accident. Taking the dog for a walk one minute, a man reversing, not seeing him, and his life is ended.

Good bye Ref.

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