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Death, a subject too close to home

As we age our needs and circumstances change, they evolve to create a space that is safe, comfortable, and supportive. In saying this I realise the vast majority of people would prefer their ‘normal’ to stay the same, unwilling to adapt to a new sense of security, one that allows for family to step in and help care for their loved ones as needed.


This was not the case in our family, our beloved Pop Pop came to live with us about 18 months ago and was more than happy to do so. He busied himself daily with poking about the yard, maintaining gardens and trees, chatting to anyone and everyone he came across, playing with our kids on their outdoor equipment and entertaining the family of dogs that share our home.


He was a constant and added so much to all of our lives, especially that of our two small children Zali and Harlem.


On the 17th of May, this year everything changed as our beloved Pop Pop went in for a scheduled, routine surgery.


Coming out of surgery he stated, ‘it was a breeze’, and was adamant he felt absolutely no pain whatsoever, he was ready to resume his normal daily activities.


The doctors and nurses were all so shocked with how he had bounced back so quickly and were fast to discharge him from the ICU as his persistent jokes and laughter were a little too much for the other critical patients that shared the ward.


He came home a swift 4 days later and although he was home in spirit he remained quiet and reserved, nothing like the usual Pop Pop we were used too. As per our usual routine we cooked his meals and checked in on him periodically, making sure he had everything he needed.


The days passed and we were sure it would not be long before he was back out trimming the council yard behind our property or popping into the office to have a quiet cuppa with our team whilst we were out and about.


The weekend came and as usual we started planning a fun activity for the kids, something to occupy their minds and give them a little adventure, that was until we noticed his lack of activity on Facebook.


Anyone that knew Bob knew how much he loved a good Facebook post or update, he would count the activity on all of our accounts to later reveal to us how popular we are, it was a running joke in the family.


As we knew his routine and daily movements it was particularly odd to see that he hadn’t been active online for the last 15 hours. This prompted us to check in with him and make sure he was ok.


As always he assured Shi that he was fine and was instead just very tired, we were sceptical but figured if something were really wrong he would surely let us know. As per his instructions we let him be for the next hour or so, when we again popped into his room Shi’s worry grew as she suggested he go to the hospital to be checked.


He refused.


Shi then called in backup, I attended his room and insisted he go to the hospital. As usual when I spoke up he knew it was serious so decided it best to concede and agreed to get checked.


It wasn’t until he made his way to the car that things to a turn for the worse, gasping for air and crippled over we made the quick call to an ambulance thinking it was the best course of action, especially seeing him so unwell.


We took him inside and made him comfortable, by the time the ambulance arrived they were unsure what all the fuss was about, actually asking us ‘is this really a situation where an ambulance was needed?’


Seeing his prior state, it definitely was but in their eyes all they were witnessing was an old fella having a good ol chat, he was talking about a mile a minute, which was usual for him, going on about the weather, his dogs, how he lives here with his grandchildren, and they make him so happy and how we wouldn’t even let him have a beer or give him a couple of dollars.


I’m not sure what those paramedics would have thought that day about these two inconsiderate people who trapped an old man in his room not allowed to do this and that, Bob always thought his a