Sunday, March 24, 2013

3/24/2013 The Worst Day of My Life

(Wilmington, DE)

Once again mom and I got out of bed tired.  Too much is happening too fast.  Thoughts race a million miles a minute around the clock.  The stress level for both of us is maxed out.  I’m sure my brother is experiencing the same thing,  however, he is our rock right now and is masking his stress and emotional being for our sake.  As much as I’m trying to be strong for my mom I’m not doing the job as well as he is and I’m ok with that.

We didn’t go into the hospital right away today.  Billy called the hospital first thing this morning and was told there was still no change, no response.  We went to church first.  Even though our final hours together are few we needed to take some of them and spend them in the Lord’s house.  I think mom needed some sense of normalcy if only for an hour and she found it there.  I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a regular church-goer but being there today just felt right.

We spoke with the pastor and told him what was going on and he assured my mom he would be at the hospital that afternoon.
We pulled into the hospital parking lot and I didn’t want to get out of the car.  Since there was no change, no response, I knew what could and would probably happen today.  I wanted no parts of it.
Billy and Michelle were already there and both looked so tired.
No change.  No response.  Every two hours the tests were performed.  The tests that would tell us if he was coming out of this coma.  The answer was always the same.  No change.  No response.

A meeting was set up for 3:30 with the doctor’s and my family.  It was at this time that Pastor Scott arrived at the hospital.  My mom stayed with him and my dad while my brother, his wife, his daughter-in-law and myself met with the doctors.  Michelle and Brittany are both nurse practitioners and we thought it best that they be there because they may think of questions that Billy and I wouldn’t know to ask.  That said, Michelle would have certainly been included in this meeting anyway.

My dad never wanted to be hooked up to machines to live.  He had a Living Will stating so even though they aren’t truly legal documents it at least let’s the hospital know what his wishes are.
I hated the room we were in.  It was a small conference room and with six of us in there the walls seemed to close in on me.  I hated what we were being told.  Once again, No change, No response.  Oh how I’ve come to hate those words!  The doctor was very forthright in what life for my dad would be like.  There would be no quality of life.  There was too much damage.  He would breathe only because a machine was doing it for him.  He would never enjoy his favorite meals again but be fed through a sterile tube.  He was emphatic in discussions about these matters.  No machines!  We were being asked what we wanted to do.  This is one of the hardest decisions a person can be asked to make.  Although Billy and I knew what was best, and what he wanted, an answer needed to be given and I could only sit there.  Billy looked at me and I looked at him, my vision blurred because of tears welling up.  I could only nod and Billy voiced our decision.

We decided to wait until visiting hours were over, things would be quieter and more peaceful since the other visitors to this ICU unit would be gone.  Besides, we wanted as much time as we could get.
We continued to talk to him throughout the day.  I reminded him of the time he and I went fishing and he told me to throw the anchor over.  I did, with gusto.  As it sailed through the air my dad realized he had forgotten to tie the rope onto this brand new anchor.  His first reaction was to get mad at me.  I looked at him and laughed and then he realized I was just doing what I was told to do.  He laughed too.  Then I caught the first fish.

Billy told him how his beloved U of D Women’s Basketball team was doing as the game was on the TV in his room.

Mom just quietly held his hand.

At six o’clock the nurse came in to do the tests.  The results were no different.  No change.  No response.

Billy got a take out menu from the nurses station and we ordered dinner.  We had to keep our strength up as it was going to be a long day and none of us had eaten a thing as yet.

It was good for us to get away from that crowded hospital room for a little while.  Billy went to pick up our order and we met him in the hospital cafeteria.  We ate. Not a whole of talking went on.  We were all lost in our own thoughts and memories.

Back in his room once again we noticed that some of the machines were shut off.  No more beeps, colorful lines and occasional bells.  Everything was now being monitored in the nurses station.  Some of the IV’s were removed which made it easier to hold his hands.
Time seemed to be flying by now, whereas, before our decision was made the minutes and hours dragged by.

After visiting hours were over we were asked to leave the room for a little while.  I called LaVon.  I told her what was going  on and asked her to take over my blog and Facebook wall. I knew she would write just the right things.

There’s no need for any more detail. 

Tonight I said goodbye to the first man that loved me and the first man I loved.

Dad, I’ll miss you every day and I’ll love you forever.

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