A Tribute to my GrandfatherA few days ago, I lost my grandfather after a two month long illness.
A very independent self-made man, he had completely lost mobility (especially in his legs) during his last illness. It was a huge emotional blow to him to have other people perform even the most basic and personal day-to-day tasks for him - feeding him, taking him to the bathroom, etc; even though we never begrudged him his needs. Weighing 80 kilograms (after having lost a lot of weight) and standing 5'10'' tall, it was extremely difficult for us to carry him to the toilet many times over during the day and night. Being a proud man, he found it humiliating to wear an adult diaper and would pull it off. So, the doctor recommended a urinary catheter. We also bought a wheel-chair with an attached commode, and a hospital bed which could be inclined at a 90 degree angle so that he could be fed in bed.
According to the doctor's diagnosis after looking at his MRI brain scan, he had Parkinson's Lite. The neurologist prescribed Levidopa and Carbidopa. (Parkinson's affects the dopamine receptors in the brain, so the drug Levidopa provides necessary artificial dopamine. The presence of Carbidopa makes it an extended release tablet)
We believe that it was the side effects of this drug which ultimately killed him. I would strongly advise everyone to research the side-effects of Parkinson's drugs before using them or allowing their loved ones to use them. These included build up of cough in his throat and lungs (He started wheezing horribly during the last two weeks of his life. He was too weak to cough out the phlegm accumulating in his throat and we had to slap him hard on the back to make him cough.), dry mouth (and consequent build up of oral thrush), altered sense of taste, insomnia and depression.
I am glad that my grandfather's suffering only lasted two months. I am also glad that I took care of him during his last illness. During this process, I realized how hard it is to let go of a loved one.
He died peacefully in his sleep with all his family members around him. I did not cry when he died because he wouldn't have wanted it. After his death, as they slid his body on the iron tray into the electric crematorium, never to be seen again, I burst into involuntary tears. He had been freshly bathed and dressed. There was not one wrinkle on his face. His limbs were still stout and heavy, his chest still broad and muscular. He looked as if he had just drifted off to sleep.