My sister and I got called into the hospital yesterday afternoon (my sister visits everyday anyway) supposedly to talk with social services about a care plan for my father (how to get him back home and make sure someone is checking on him, etc). Meeting was arranged for 16:00. 16:00 comes and goes as does 16:30, 17:00 and at about 17:30 my father’s renal consultant bustles off and takes us into a room.

We question where social services are as we thought this was going to be a big meeting with everyone to get a plan in place only to be told that social services aren’t going to be needed. Red flag. The doctor goes on to explain that my father’s narrow heart valve has got narrower still (this has been going on for a while – he’s not eligible for surgery as the mortality rate for renal patients in his age group is 100%). Coupled with his weak heart his blood pressure keeps dropping. It’s now so low that they can no longer put him on dialysis for the renal failure (he’s withdrawn consent anyway so even if they tried it would be assault).

All of this means that his life expectancy is being measured in weeks (she originally said months but this got gradually downgraded until she said that she didn’t think he would be with us in 2 weeks’ time). The toxins will gradually build up in his system until he goes into a coma. There is a small window where he will still be (relatively) lucid, so we’re contacting family and friends that might want to see him. Apparently after hypothermia renal failure is supposed to be a pretty good way to go. There might be some nausea and pain but that can be managed with IV drugs. Eventually he will just drift off.

So it’s circle the wagons time. Work has been told not to expect me for a few weeks, phone trees have been activated and I will be relocating to Brighton for the duration so that my sister and I can travel in together and sort out stuff (plus wi-fi here).

Yes, it is all a bit shit, but at least this time we’re been given some warning (though facing him will be hard since he doesn’t know and we’re not going to tell him – what good would it do?).