Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stream of Unconsciousness

I'm going to be frank here and probably not very PC. Tough.

We're going on day four since they disconnected my father's life support. We've been cooped up, sometimes eleven or more of us, in hospital rooms since a week ago yesterday. At best, my family is capable of sustaining good relations for a day or two. And that's if other relatives are invited and there's lots of food. Tensions are so high that the F-word flies when two or more of us escape to blow off steam.

We've tried all the things the doctors and nurses have told us. Leave him alone. Tell him it's okay to go. Play his favorite music. Give him morphine. Give him more morphine. Pray. Read scripture. But my dad always was one who defied the odds (seventeen years on two heart valves with eight-year warranties for starters) and he just keeps breathing. Vitals all over the charts. Blood pressure good. Temperature 104-105 all day today. Oxygen levels high then low. Twice they've called us all to come to the hospital because his death was imminent.

I didn't want my dad to be in this position. I can't imagine what my life will be like without him. But this waiting is unbearable.

We've laughed until we cry to relieve the tension. There have been temper tantrums, disagreements, confrontations, silent treatments, stormy partings, manic shopping sprees, junk food binges, coffee practically through IVs. People are behaving lovingly, manically, selfishly, confusedly, exhausted.

It looks like we're going to have to think about a funeral over the fourth of July weekend. Not many people will be able to make it and it seemed important a few days ago that all the people who knew and loved him be at the service. But we can't make it happen earlier now, and early next week means some family members won't be able to come. A Tuesday funeral means there's not enough time to go home and still make arrangements, people will bring food and we won't need it, and to tell you the truth I don't know how much longer until it all blows up.

I didn't think it would be like this. And it's almost impossible to deal with. I can't even cry anymore.


kenju said...

I'm so sorry, Mamie. I wish there was something I could say to make it better. There is a lesson to be learned, although you may not know what it is for a while.

trisha said...

Lesson, my foot. I, for one, could use a break from life lessons. A week, maybe two, without AFGO (for the uninitiated: Another Effing Growth Opportunity).

Last year I went to six funerals, two of them family members. People I care about have dealt with and/or are dealing with brain tumors, major surgery, mental illness, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, HIV, Lyme disease, viral pneumonia, financial trouble, job layoffs. Enough enough enough!

How can I help? This morning I'm praying and baking. Cookies for my cousins whose mother has been in the ICU for 17 days, fighting for her life. It isn't much, but it's what I can do.

Mamie, my oven and I are on call.

(Sorry, Kenju, nothing personal. Blowing off steam.)