When care changes over time – Daphne


When her father had a congested cough, Daphne realized he was dying.


Anyway, dad had four clots. I think if he was intubated, trached, he probably would have lived, but what life would that have been for my dad. He couldn’t talk, and I don’t think my dad would have wanted it. So the night, he did a congested cough, and nurses know that there’s a death cough and it’s really deep down, but you really can’t suction it at all. And I thought, “Oh my God Daphne, your dad is dying.” But he was comfortable; he wasn’t on too much pain killers, no morphine or anything. And finally I said, “Good-bye dad,” and I said, “I’ll be back tomorrow.” He said, “Take care, drive home safely,” and all that. “I’m just tired.” So, we did him up and he was more comfortable and positioned and I drove home crying and I thought I should have stayed there. But I had my mom at home too. So, there are no right and wrong answers when it comes to sick or being an advocate; it’s doing the best you can and God will forgive all the other little incidents, or your guardian angel will help you or somebody. But when I got home I didn’t sleep, I phoned my husband at six o’clock in the morning I said, “I think my dad is dying [name husband], and he did this congested cough.” And at seven o’clock in the morning we got a call.

So I went up, and I drove my mom up, and it took forever to get her going. We have an interesting relationship our family. Well, my mom didn’t want to see him and she hadn’t visited him that much either. And if you want to go see your relative, don’t let any relatives tell you—your mom or dad, grandma—that you’re not allowed to go see them, because they’ve past away. You need to have closure. And I went in there and hugged and talked to my dad even though my brother was there. And he goes, “Do you need help Daphne?” “No, I don’t need help. I need to be with my dad.” And […] when my […] mother and brother decided to make funeral arrangements, I wasn’t allowed to go, and eventually my brother said, “Maybe we should let Daphne go because she’s been so involved with dad.” There was a game going on there, but anyway, when I went to the funeral home with my mom—another lesson learned—he said, “Is there anybody coming to see your father?” And they had chosen the coffin and all that, and she said, “No,” and I put my hand up to my mom and I said, “Stop right there. You’ve said everything you’re going to say, right?” And I looked over at the funeral director and I said, “I want to see my dad in his legion outfit, and I want to say good-bye to him. I don’t care whoever else doesn’t, but I do.” And my daughter and my husband came down for the funeral and they came and saw my dad with me.  And my daughter put a note in my dad’s jacket to look over her in the future, and I brought my dad’s prayer book because he was Catholic from home, snuck it out, and I put it in his hands with his rosary. I took a lock of his hair. They’ll do anything in the nursing home or in the funeral home. [What] you want done they’ll do. I said, “I guess this seems odd.” And he goes, “No it’s not; you can take anything you want. You can put a picture, anything, in that casket you want.”

And he had a little funeral out in the country, very simple, and the legion came and my dad wanted to be buried—this is another thing—with veterans. He wanted to be buried with the British flag. I thought, “Where in hell am I going to find a British flag at this?” So I phoned my husband. He had a place in [a city in BC] here that sold flags. I was going to put a little flag on there if I could. He found a British flag. So I said to the funeral director, I said, “And we made a shaft of wheat because he was a farmer, to put in front of the coffin.” He said, “You can’t put it on the Canadian flag.” I didn’t know that. “Nothing on the Canadian flag.” So, we put it in front. So, what the people did was, after the legion did their little last call and explained about it all—it’s beautiful—and have the legion come. A lot of my uncles, all of them, were in the war and none of them did this. And it’s such a nice last remembrance for the legion to do the last call and that. And they took the Canadian flag off, the girls, and then the British flag was flowing on a pole in the wind, and they took it down and they put it on dad’s coffin, and as the coffin was going down into the ground he was buried with his British flag, because he flew under the British flag.

That’s a lovely closure for all of you.

And I talk to my dad still. And we still have issues, and I still have my mother who’s going to be a different kind of issue, but I have learned a hell of a lot from everyone around me, people in the hospital, people I’ve worked with, people on the phone, doctor—good and bad. I’ve learned a lot and I have a lot of stories to tell and people seem to listen. Because I’ve come through a small town’s hospital, to a nursing home, to another nursing home that finally he only stayed about three to four months, and that was his final place.

Now ending, another thing I could recommend—my dad wanted to go home. My mom said she couldn’t handle him. Well, I guess if I’d lived there I probably could have took him home and got 24-hour care. You can do it. But what my dad wanted was to see his farm. When we were packing up his things at the [veterans hospital] after he passed on—because nobody else was going to do it—that I could have took my dad home with [name caregiver] in a rented van thing from [veterans hospital], and we could have took him home and wheeled him around his farm when the grain was growing and maybe made it in the house, we’re not sure, with a plank. But that’s all he wanted really was to see his farm. Because I told dad, “You can’t stay there. Mom can’t look after you.” But that’s not what he meant. And I promised him I would bring him home a different way. But I’m sure he’s flying up there with his buddies—he’s the last one of his group—and I bet he’s got a smile on his face and he’s looking down and saying ,“I got what I wanted.” Yeah.

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