Grandpa has been steadily losing weight. Fewer and fewer foods appeal to him, and when we do hit on something he likes that day, Grandpa gets full after just a few bites. We tried having him weigh himself each day on a large scale whose numbers he could read. We have tried having him write his weight in black sharpie on a calendar featuring cute puppies. Each time, he is astonished to see how thin he has become. Yet even though Grandpa can recognize he is too skinny, that knowledge is not translating into more food at meals. I tried explaining to Grandpa that by eating so little each day, Grandpa is slowly starving himself to death. We even take that thought back to his weight chart so he can see how his weight is decreasing. Sometimes, this gets him to take another double chocolate Pepperidge Farms cookie, but really that’s about it.
The last time Grandpa was hospitalized for a urinary tract infection, the doctors had explained to us that loss of appetite would happen next. We had agreed that the next time Grandpa needed more intensive medical care, we would bring in Hospice instead of taking him to the ER again. We agreed that Grandpa no longer needed additional blood tests, or different medications, or new scans of his heart or lungs. The time for all that was now past. Now is the time to be peaceful, to know whatever he is choosing – to eat or not, to eat just cookies or not, to walk or not, to take his medicines or not – is all perfectly okay. Now is the time to be surrounded by those who love you, enjoying whatever simple pleasures appeal moment by moment.