As I hear the stories of my dad aspirating as he eats and being downgraded to pureed food I am beyond saddened.
Dad was born into the Great Depression, where food was scarce, but his family didn’t know it, as food was scarce for them long before that. Later Dad joined the army during World War II, boot camp was set around chow, and the importance of food was further ingrained into Dad.
Now, it may not surprise you (if you have really imagined his life to now) that Dad has been known to lick his plate at the end of a good meal. Some may find this gross, but in his own way, it is the highest of compliments.
He has survived 89 years eating this way, but now his body is defying him as he aspirates while eating. You may think of a horrific choking spell, but these are silent aspirations, food slipping directly into his lungs with no indication of the damage it is causing.
My dad, the lover of all foods, never turning down a single one, now it could be the very thing that ends his life. Putting him at risk of pneumonia and all sorts of other complications. As if being diabetic isn’t enough.
Couple all of this with his advanced age and confusion and I feel like I have lost him already. Maybe this is how it is meant to be, to allow us to grieve with him rather than for him, but really!?
I want Dad to fight, to take back his life, etc., but the realistic side of me knows it’s too late … It is too late to turn back now … Soon the day will come that this is all a memory.