jaelmara (jaelmara) wrote,

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And the patriarchs thin out again.

No one could see this one coming. My dad retired 2 years ago, battling cancer, incurable, but treatable non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which had attacked two vertebrae. It was a lucky sort of thing, since, if it hadn't almost paralyzed him by the pressure to the spinal cord, they might not have found it. His bloodwork and many screenings tested negative. So, the pain was what finally caused the tumor to be recognized, lymphoma being a silent killer.

But who would think that dad would come back from stage 4 cancer, into remission, be enjoying his retirement years and then die of a prion disease. Probably Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, we'll know in a few weeks. Strange thing, that took my dad within 2 months of the slightest symptoms that we could recognize. It was a high time in my life, by which I mean, I was actively engaged in finding out what was wrong, trying to get him into the right physicians and facilities while considering that he was too young, strong, and paranoid for the Nursing Homes to take care of him, and insurance considerations, all the while not having a definitive diagnosis, since, diagnosis is made after an autopsy and biopsy of brain tissue. So, not knowing (but suspecting CJD) made decisions very difficult. Does he have 4 months (wikipedia's AVG death) or 8 months or a year? Certainly we could see it progressing rapidly. It was odd, and it was a process that fastforwarded my understanding of aging. Because by the time I had figured out how to deal with the Alzheimerish symptoms, we'd be one step down the road. Well, now he can barely walk, and becomes increasingly agitated at night. So, how do we bring him home from the hospital, and why would they sent rehab nurses, when his condition is inevitably downhill? So each step brought new challenges, also different caretakers, some great some pis poor. Such that, instead of trying to feed my dad stuff he could eat, like apple sauce, and contrary to our instructions to anyone who would listen, they tried to feed him a pork chop and green beans (when on the front of his chart it says, allergies (PORK, CODEINE). So, they labeled him "combattive" because his motor cortex was shot to hell and caused his body to do something called myoclonic jerks. They told us he was combative and refused to take his medicine or eat. Gee, guys, we've been telling you for a couple of days now, HE CAN'T SWALLOW!!! Crush it up and put in in apple sause, he'll eat if you give him something he could manage down the pipe. You know, as soon as you open the chart after the PORK warning, There is a living will, which stated that he didn't want any artificial hydration or feeding. So, when we showed up one day, and he was hooked to an IV, with a guard at his bedside, and mits on his hands so that he couldn't remove the IV, and he thought he was in prison, because a man in a blue uniform kept him from moving outside of his bed, it was just all too much.

Obituary, Douglas William Devall:

Brilliant engineer, musician, husband and father, he died Monday, July 20, 2009, at The Carpenter House. He was 61 and split his time between his home in Baton Rouge, fishing retreat at Toledo Bend and the piano bench at Grace Presbyterian Church. Wake service at Rabenhorst Funeral Home East on Friday, July 24, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visiting continues at the funeral home on Saturday, July 25, from 9 a.m. until religious services at 11 a.m., officiated by James Alexander, pastor. Interment in Devall Cemetery. Doug is survived by his wife, Georgia Ann; mother, Doris; daughter and son-in-law, Julie Elizabeth and Jordan Siverd; son, Douglas Christopher; brother, Dennis Keith and wife Sue; sister, Margaret Ann and husband Cecil Harris; nephews, Jeffery, Jeremy and Matthew Harris, Alexis Leigh, Joseph IV and Chad Hebert, and Michael and Brian Devall; aunts, Nonie James, Margaret Baily, Mercedes Hopson and Sandra Devall; and uncles, Jimmy Hebert and George Devall. He was preceded in death by his father, Archie Devall Jr. Pallbearers will be Joe V. Hebert III, Joe Hebert IV, Devin King, Ronny Baily, Jeremy and Matthew Harris, Michael and Brian Devall. Honorary pallbearers are Bruce Barth, Jeffery Harris, Chris Devall, Chad Hebert and Jordan Siverd. The Devall family thanks The Carpenter House and all the wonderful caregivers.
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