Saturday, June 28, 2008

And The Angel of Death Appeared......

The man I met nearly 39 years ago was young, strong and devoted to his new family.
He had a son and a brand new daughter and didn't have a clue as to what was in store for the rest of his life. He lived each day the best he could while providing for his family and had all the best of intentions.

He had high hopes and big dreams. I don't know that everything worked out as planned for him throughout his life, but I do know that ultimately, he was happy.

He trotted along through life until he hit the "ultimate speedbump" called cancer.

He hadn't planned his life for that diagnosis, not that anyone actually can plan for that, but he took the news of his cancer very hard. Through tests and tests and more tests, the physicians thought that it would be easy to cure him. He believed in the doctors. Who wouldn't believe in the doctors if the doctors themselves sound convincing?

After the lobectomy, his physicians recommended prophylactic chemotherapy to make sure the cancer didn't return. Through the chemo, my father knew he would never return to work. He knew he would never drive a Greyhound bus again and he knew, ultimately, he would not survive this battle.

I've seen people with lung cancer not make it a year after diagnosis and I feared that my father knew what he was saying was truth.

I quietly began my mourning process after his chemo began. My father didn't weigh much to begin with and through his battle with cancer, his weight began to dwindle even more.

When you're outside looking in, the view from the window is heartbreaking. You know that what you see is very disturbing and ugly and that the tornado brewing inside is going to tear your world apart.

You can never fully prepare yourself for loosing a loved one. You can always think about how you will react, what you will say or think and what you will do, but it never goes the way you imagine it.

I always thought I would be old when my father passed away, he was supposed to be well into his 80's.

But just like you can never plan your kids life, you can't plan your parents death!

After all, who in their right mind would want to plan their parents death long before it had to be done?

My father came off the ventilator at 08:40 Wednesday, and according to all the text book theories, he shouldn't have lasted 4 hrs. He lasted 28 hrs in all. He had a good day Wednesday, he woke up from the sedation and he talked to us, he laughed with us, he wrote things down on paper, little things that he was trying to say but was too weak to say loudly. He asked me if he was dying.....I said, well, I don't know if you're dying, but you're sure having a hard time living...I said that he had a rough night and that he gave us a scare and that's why we were there crying at his bedside. I asked him if he felt like he was dying and he said yes....(yes, I'm tearing as I type this...). The priest came and gave him his last rites and he was conscious for all of it. He prayed with us and then he fell asleep for a little while. He woke up again and asked what happened to him. I explained to him that he had his lung repaired after it collapsed and that he developed pneumonia and that's why he was in the ICU. I told him what day it was and the date and explained to him that he slept through his 41st anniversary with mom. She was there with me. My brothers called and spoke to him through the phone and told him that they loved him and my older brother told him that he was going to drive up from Austin with my nephew. He said okay.

As the day went on, he napped and woke up and he stayed awake from 6 pm til my brother arrived at 11 pm.

My brother, mom, cousin and nephew stayed with him until after 1 am. I asked him not to scare us that night and we agreed that we would have a better night.

My brother, nephew, mom and cousin left to get some sleep. I stayed all night with him knowing that the angel of death was sitting in the room with us.

Dr. B came in at 6 am and woke me up to talk to me about possibly hospicing him or moving him to another floor where he could just be in a regular room. I informed him that I would speak to my mother about that and then we would call him around 8:30 am.

He slept very comfortably that night on an Ativan drip and had no morphine from 1 am on.

My mother arrived around 8:30 and we sat with him until 9 am when the lady from hospice came in. She was really nice and she began setting everything up for him to be moved to a hospice facility. The MD from hospice came in and saw my father and agreed to take him on. Around 11 am the lady from hospice came back with some forms for my mother to fill out and she went outside to discuss it all. The RN came in and at that moment my fathers sats started dropping as well as his heart rate. I asked the RN to get my mother because it was time....

The time had started for my father...we cried at his bedside and we waited for him to make his final departure.

We phoned my brother and he and my cousin and nephew came up to the hospital to be with him.

It was a long and gruesome battle for a very frail and weak man. He fought to the bitter end.

After 28 hours off the ventilator, the Angel of Death appeared and carried my father from misery and pain to a home of eternal peace and happiness!

My father: my mother's husband, the world's greatest Cardinals Baseball fan, a die-hard boyscout, a Greyhound Bus Driver, a beloved grandfather and great-grandfather, uncle, nephew, son, brother and friend is gone.

I know he is in a much better place, but that won't stop me from missing him and wishing he was alive and well and with my mom....

My mother was by his side the whole way, she was attentive and loving and hurting so much watching her husband of 41 years suffer like he did..

We are all relieved that his suffering is over....

But man....This Freakin Sucks!!!!

I know I couldn't keep him, he wasn't mine to keep. God loans the flesh but owns the soul in all of us and when we love someone, we tend to get a little possessive...

God is the only one who can be possessive...

I love God and I'm glad he has my dad!!!

I would like to personally thank God for giving me one last time to talk with, laugh with and love on my dad!!!

Dad, I will always love you and I will never forget you!!!

Love always...

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Found your blog while skimming through some other resp. therapy blogs.

    Your story is touching. I've only had the chance to work the cancer floor a few times (as a CNA) and it definitely takes a special kind of person.

    I concur with you; it is MUCH different when it is your own family member. I couldn't imagine it. Deepest sympathies to you and your family.