My Dad is dying. I spoke with the doctor today. He’d be gone within days, but my mother and siblings want a feeding tube. For now. So I pretended I want it, too. But I told them I’m worried “for now” will extend into something hideous. The doctor told me she thinks the tube won’t extend things for more than a few days. So I slid in line, and let them feel the decision was unanimous. Maybe I should be advocating for no tube. Advocating for my Dad. I wish I knew what he’s thinking. Or if he’s not thinking, what he’s feeling. But I don’t know what it feels like to be dying. I don’t know if I’d want a feeding tube so I could be here a bit longer. To give everyone time to say goodbye. If it’s only for a little while, am I being a coward for not advocating more strongly for no tube? Is it okay to pretend I’m on board if I’m only compromising for a few days of tube feeding?

The concession was, they agreed to hospice. They’ll take him with or without the tube, the doctor says. so I called tonight and made arrangements for hospice to evaluate my Dad tomorrow. And so I travel to Houston in the morning to meet with them. I’m secretly hoping that after we meet with hospice, they’ll change their minds about the tube.

My mother was shocked. She though he was going to get better. She thought he was going to go home and they’d be together for years to come. She honestly thought this. She had no idea he was this bad.

I wonder why I’m the only one who knew. I kept waiting for a doctor, any doctor, to say what I already knew. Finally, tonight the doctor told us.


  • This is a hard time, you have the strength. Letting go of a loved one is never easy, we each reach it in our way and time. Hospice/doctors know what to do for a peaceful pain free transition for everyone. Your presence there will help all, including yourself.

    I am an advocate for everyone having a health-care proxy and living directive/will in case one can not speak for themselves, it makes it clear what a person wants/don’t want and takes everyone off the hook with just making guesses.



  • So sorry for all of the difficult decisions and pain you and your family are feeling. Hospices usually have counselors available to the family, so that may help everyone too.


  • hospice is wonderful and will help take care of the medical stuff so you and your family can spend time with your father and be there for each other. i can understand about your aversion to the feeding tube. doctors and hospice can talk to you more about how the feeding tube changes the approximate length of prognosis. it’s hard because you’ve said he will die either way. it leaves you wondering who these extreme measures are for? you are entering a terribly hard place. i’m fresh out of a dying experience myself, and the dilemmas and lack of clear cut solutions are the worst. but you will come through it. i wish you strength and courage.


    • We are in inpatient hospice and he is resting quietly. We made the decision to forgo the tube. It was a very good decision. As was calling hospice. Thank you so much. I do feel strong. You can be sad and strong at the same time, right?


      • yes you can. many, many feelings coexist right now, and all of them are just fine. i’m so glad you got to inpatient hospice! my aunt went inpatient for her final week and it was nothing short of magnificent. good call for you and your family. enjoy every single moment, stay present. love to you.


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