Matters Concerning late February/early March 2009

Raymond Ernest Dickins
Market Harborough, Leicestershire, England, UK:
July 9th., 1919
- Ottawa General Campus, Ottawa, ON, Canada
March 2nd., 2009

There are a few "new" photos of the Ray and Peggy Dickins family HERE. Some of them I had never seen before, especially RED at school, at college, and the marriage quadruple. And the one with me as a child footballer.

FYI: obituary notice placed in the Harborough Mail for the issue out on March 12th. Loughborough University, where he went to college, have been informed.

March 1st; March 2nd; March 3rd

(2008 Diary and table; 2009 Diary and table)

Medications, Doctors, etc., shown on 2009 Diary and table (link above)


Thursday, February 26th: I returned around 14:40hrs. Dad is still in bed, but I can see him breathe in the dim lit room. However, I do not think that he has been out of his room into the living area since I went out on errands. Thinking whether to phone the doctor/call for an ambulance.

I called for an ambulance at 15:55hrs: a result of not being able to speak to anyone at the Ottawa City Paramedic phone numbers. I spoke with Dad and told him that I would, and that I had spoken to Lynn, and that I was told that he wouldn't have to go to hospital, as far as I know. They will check him out. We shall see.

The paramedics have taken him to the General: I have stayed here, and will go and pick him up when required, probably after I have eaten and informed family. They found nothing obvious, but insisted it would be better to have him seen by a doctor.

Info: I phoned Sarah (who, I discovered, is on a retreat) to talk to Prasannavira, and Lynn was not in, twice.

In the event, it took several hours, blood tests and an x-ray, for them to determine that he has an urinary infection, which, with him not eating properly, has damaged his kidneys. That's the main reason for having him there, (and they did mention the problems with bacteria in most hospitals. That was not unexpected, the staff were excellent.)

I shall return tomorrow, after doing the laundry, with his teeth and glasses and the Guardian Weekly.

Friday, February 27th., 2009: As it rains, and the temperature rises, to fall rapidly this evening, I ponder what has gone, lost for ever: doctors who visited their patients. This was the commonplace in England, at least until I left there. Nowadays, here come your friendly paramedics, who check one out and take the sick to the emergency where, usually, they wait and wait and wait. The fault is not with the doctors in the hospitals, its with the idiots who govern us: if one thing should not be forgotten, it is that local care, preventative care would remove much of the pressure. Lots of people end up in emergency areas because they simply do not have a doctor. This is not too difficult to fix. Pity the NHS in the UK: soon to be totally overwhelmed by the fat.

The visit to the General today determined that Dad has not been moved out of Emergency; no bed available. That to happen during the afternoon/evening. The doctors informed us that he has a sensitive prostate as well as the urinary infection. There is, as I mentioned, damage to his kidneys.

There will also be physiotherapy done to help him recover, since the normal physical signs that he transmits are good. He is fit, except for his excessive hypertension, and the deleterious effect his meds have on him every day. So, tomorrow will see the Montréalers come in and visit him, because they want to. That is nice.

The doctor told me that physiotherapy can be continued at home, should they think it helpful. That's good news. The doctors think that with the antibiotics, and the anaesthetic for his urinary tract, he should rapidly show an improvement.

Saturday, February 28th., 2009: Dad was pleased to see the three who came up from Montréal and also interested in the football scores, especially that Liverpool lost.

I came home to find a message from the General. I phoned back and heard that Dad may be discharged tomorrow, and that he will probably become a urology outpatient. That is to be confirmed.

Sunday, March 1st., 2009: I went out because I wanted to see whether he was to be sent home, and with odds and sods for him.

When I arrived at the ward, the bed was surrounded. My first reaction was these were interns, it's a teaching hospital. When I saw the doctor who had been on duty last night was there I nodded and he came out and told me that what had happened was totally unexpected.

Dad was found on the floor. They do not know whether he had fallen or passed out and landed hard on the floor. He was checked and found to be breathing. When the team came, he stopped breathing and they resuscitated him. They ran an ABG (blood gas levels) which was really bad.

He was shortly taken to ICU, and I saw him again after a talk with a Dr Hibbert regarding what to do in the circumstances. I decided not to stay, because there was to be a considerable time spent following his vital signs, and I could do nothing but sit.

If he is likely to be damaged or debilitated to the level where he is unresponsive then I advised the doctor that I would prefer that he was allowed to die. Dr Hibbert was of the opinion that the overall prognosis is poor. I told him about some of what Dad has been through in the past year, including the TIA, and how the bus strike affected him.

I phoned Lynn, and she was agreeable, as far as I can recall, with allowing him to pass in peace, should that be preferable under the conditions that transpire. This was after I had phoned Sarah and Michelle/Katherine.

Phoned the General, using the incorrect number that I was given. Now, I have the correct one, and was told he was slowly deteriorating.

Phone call: the nurse phoned at 15:07 to tell me they are weaning him off the machine, so there is now the onset of determining if he can fend for himself, or if he slowly disappears.

I was out at the General again. I saw a nurse replace his breathing equipment. Whilst it was disconnected, he could breathe on his own, if with difficulty. Then Dr Hibbert saw me there and told me that Dad's blood pressure was very low, and lessening.

In his opinion, Dad might not last the night. When I returned home, taking a little time off for a coffee, there was no phone call. Presumably, the regimen he is under, with the gradual removal of props, has not, so far, resulted in death.

Please forgive me, but I cannot stay there. He is inanimate, he is unaware of his surroundings, he is not who he was when the four of us saw him on Saturday, in the early afternoon. When, or if, he dies, it could come at any time, according to the doctor. It is likely to be swift, I was told. That is better for him, than perpetual cosseting and invasive medicine would be.

Phone call, 23:00hrs.: Dad is comfortable, has just been turned. The details are that his heart has been damaged by the cardiac arrest. The oxygen levels being pushed around are simply not high enough to maintain him. His blood pressure has improved a little, but that's his basic strength. However, something went wrong.

He will, therefore, slowly weaken over the next while. So, this is clearly the end, according to what they are telling me.

Sorry to have to advise you all of this. However, given what I have seen of his deterioration in the past couple of months, I could not see him lasting very long in any event.

The nurse in ICU told me she would call if anything happened.

Monday, March 2nd., 2009:

Phone call: Dr Hibbert called roughly 07:30hrs. Dad still there, but slowly sinking, the doctor surprised that he is so strong.

The idea is that the "team" will look at him today, also the palliative care group. It is likely that he will be returned to the ward where he was, which is understandable. There, he will be cared for until the end. There is no doubt that it is coming now, his blood pressure and oxygen levels, for example, are much too low to support him. There are no resurgent signals coming from him. Dr Hibbert said something else, but I forgot what it was. Will ask about things when I visit today.

I went out again late morning, to find that he is still in the ICU. The doctors have decided that, rather than take him up to a ward, they will keep him here as he slowly fades away. I am thankful for that show of compassion. They said he is comfortable with the sedation, and is showing no signs of pain. He looks a fragment of what he was, with his mouth open. He is breathing on his own, and his body is simply working without him knowing. He is deeply unconscious.

The nurses, doctors I spoke with have all said that he has a very strong heart. The extremities of his body are becoming colder, as it slowly shuts down. There are signs that his pulse and respiratory rate are slowing little by little.

I stood there and gave him all our love and best wishes, from everybody in the family. Not that he would have heard, but I felt that this was necessary for me to state.

I am expecting some news within a day or so. That he was to have died last night and did not is an expression of his innate strength. After all, he lasted this long, with all of that medication that had adverse effects.

On a personal note, I had my hair cut today, it has been rather scruffy: this to show respect, in actual fact. I found myself bowing in front of him: I really don't know where that comes from. I thank you all for your wishes, and signs of respect for him.

Phone Call: Dad died at approximately 21:20hrs. ICU, General Hospital, Ottawa, ON

Tuesday, March 3rd., 2009: I went out to the General to pick up Dad's odds and ends, prior to visiting the Funeral Director this afternoon.

The doctor present when I found the remainder of his goods on the desk that relates to his bed, was the same one who looked after Dad last week. He stated that Dad was one of the nicest guys, patients, or whatever that he had ever had. He said that Dad was in good spirits on Saturday, presumably after we had left visiting him. That was a nice thing to say about Ray.

I went to Kelly Funeral Home, the place that dealt with Peggy Dickins. They had trouble finding the paperwork, but it has been completed.

Note well that Dad wanted no service, and immediate cremation, just like Mum. That was handled and he will be cremated by the weekend. Then, the ashes will be sent to Kelly and can be collected with 24 hour notice.

That means my intention is to have spring arrive, and to throw the ashes into the wind in some National Park that is local and will not disappear within our lifetimes.

The basics were repeated in an email sent today to various parties.

Saturday, March 7th., 2009: I heard on Thursday from Kelly Funeral Home that the cremation was due yesterday. I have not had that confirmed as taken place, by 11:00hrs today.

I have been moving stuff in the apartment, and discarding shelving I need not now that I can spread out. Sad cause for the facility.

I constantly have the past week or so in my mind. Comes back when one least expects it. I doubt that I shall ever forget the events. Working at arranging things, and watching the box, and visiting the Library and, and  . . .

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