Tests show that he has a perferation in his stomach, and stuff (for lack of a better term) is leaking into his abdominal and chest cavity. He's really swollen up with air and liquid.
Unfortunately, given his age (89) and his overall fraility, surgery isn't a good option. The doctors give very little chance of him surviving the surgery, and even if he did, coupled with his dementia, recovery would be very difficult.
The other option, of course, is to do nothing, and make him as comfortable as we can. This actually is the recommendation of the doctors, considering everything else. They'll give him medication to help combat the infection, but the odds very very good that it will end up killing him.
We don't know how long we'll have him with us, but are setting up a family vigil, because he's expressed his fears of dying alone. Could be a day, could be a couple weeks.
It's really hard to know that we're making the right choice, but I think we are. And I think, as a family, we're all accepting that this is the right course of action--to let him go with as much dignity and love as we can put together for him.
He's at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle right now, airlifted from a hospital in Tacoma this evening. If he stablizes, we'll probably go the hospice route. I'm sad that he doesn't even remember his first and only flight in a helicopter.
Anyway, I'm off to bed for a few hours, to work for a few hours, and then back to the hospital.