Saturday, January 16, 2010

Life and the Lack of

Well I haven't been around anywhere. There are just some things in life that are much too big to work thru, they cause everything to come to a halt.

a not so brief summary of my like since December:

2 weeks of sick sick family members or me being sick, then off gym hours and holidays. Not to mention my father in law has been here in the hospital since the 20th of December.

It is really bad, my husbands sibling all made an emergency trip here. They have had many grim family meetings to discuss the unspeakable.

His father is only 58 but he is so sick from his many years as an alcoholic. Internal bleeding from ruptured varicoses in his esophagus, bleeding ulcer in his stomach, renal failure, cirrhosis of the liver, pneumonia, he had a quadruple by pas years ago and while undergoing and investigative scope procedure a few days ago he went into cardiac arrest. he has been on a ventilator since. His hemoglobin count is in the mid 40's and SOOooooo many other complications is difficult to even list them all. He is in the ICU.

So, crazy schedule, family stress and emotion I gave in and justified a complete crap out on my eating habits. I have made it to the gym to do a few weight workouts, but no cardio.

My 2 sister in laws will be staying a few more days to monitor their dads condition, it is day by day. My bro in law went home yesterday.

My FIL did have good brain function after the cardiac arrest, he was responsive, he would blink his eyes, move his head follow his sons voice. The even did an EEG and a CT scan that showed healthy brain activity. That only lasted for a 5-6 days

He was very , very weak, and needed the help of a ventilator to regulate his breathing. He didn't have a good protective gag reflex, cough reflex and he was fighting pneumonia and they didn't want fluid trickling into his lungs. He needed to be sedated to keep him calm. Any little bit of stress with his breathing, or anything else and his heart rate went way too high and he had a threat of cardiac arrest.

There were so many things that went wrong that I can't even begin to list them all. The emergency procedures and medications kept him alive but caused so many other complications.

He slowly got weaker and less responsive. We held out hope he would get better. And I don't wish on ANYONE to have to make the decision to take someone off of life support. It was his wishes to not be sustained by life support, but until we were absolutely sure that he didn't have a chance of recovery and that he was not capable of coming off the machines we didn't want to have to make that horrid decision.

Also so many nurses (trying to be nice) kept giving us stories of sunshine , rainbows and butterflies, and case scenarios of recovery.

It took one nurse, after a night of after having to go down his ventilator tube 3 times in one night and stimulate a cough and regulate his heart beat before he had another cardiac arrest to tell us the honest truth.

If they had to do CPR it would have killed him, he was so fragile he would have bled out immediately. She also said his pupils were now uneven and he was showing signs of diminished brain function.

So my husband knew what he had to do. But he had to get all the family together first. All 5 children. All of them except my husband live 8 hours away in Alberta. His 2 sisters were already here, they were planning on traveling home that Thursday that the nurse gave us the honest truth so they stayed.

We phoned his 2 brothers and the sisters husbands and they immediately started to get things together to travel that day.

I started the process of going to funeral homes with his 2 sisters to gather information.

While we were in the first funeral home both girls phones kept vibrating in their pockets non-stop, but they ignored them cuz we were doing something important.

Finally Kandy peaked at her text, it was from her hubby who made it CLEAR she needed to phone him NOW!

She stepped out into the foyer, but we could hear the whole conversation:

" OH NO! oh no! is he OK?!! . . his car is totaled?! . . did he go thru an intersection . . oh no?!!"

The youngest brother Cody had gotten into a traffic accident. His mind was so preoccupied he went thru a red light and was t-boned on both sides of his car, was knocked unconscious and had to be removed with the jaws of life

long story short, he was absolutely fine, by a miracle he didn't even have a scratch or bruise and felt fine the next day, but was unable to travel up here.

So we were waiting for all the family that was delayed to arrive on Friday. Friday 5pm were were taking him off the ventilator.

All day Thursday was horrible gloomy, I had terrible nightmares that night, unspeakable torturous nightmares. Friday morning was very somber, who wakes up knowing that a member of there family is going to die today?! Who makes an appointment with death?!

I had hardly eaten in DAYS, I had absolutely no appetite.

All the siblings went into his room one by one all alone to say there last goodbyes. We all sat in the emergency conference room waiting their turns it was so horrible, it was always the spouse who poked their head in the room to let the next child know they could go, then they had to run and catch up with the fleeing crying mate.

After the nurses removed the tubes, cleaned him up an gave him some medications to make him comfortable we all went into the room. His breathe was fast ,shallow laboured and raspy , and rattly with fluid.

We were in the room for six hours, he died shortly after midnight. His oldest daughter never left his side for 6 hours, didn't sit down, never went to the bathroom. I was standing by the bed with her and stroking his hair hand holding his hand as he took his last breaths. I was just compelled to do anything I could to comfort. It deeply disturbed me the thought of someone dying alone. I would have done it for a stranger.

(I remember when my son was almost 2 and we had to be rushed by air ambulance to an ICU hospital because he aspirated a cashew nut into his left bronchial tube. I remember sitting by my son's bed waiting for him to wake up post surgery and seeing a tiny infant girl all alone in the bed next to us. She was so tiny and beautiful, she has so much hair. But, she was all alone, and just staring at the ceiling. My son was comfortable and sleeping, so I took a moment to go talk to the baby and stroke her hand. It just bothered me to see her all alone, even tho she technically wasn't dying)

Even tho he was fairly estranged and isolated himself from the family sue to his drinking, all of their campassion and forgiveness was automatic. Right before he took his last breathe a single tear slid down his cheek. That tear haunts me. Was he sad that he was dying, did he feel that his children had given up on him ? Or was he so moved by the love of his estranged children that they would all be there at his bedside during his final moments, and he was now regretting that he did not spend more time with them ?

At the SAME time in the same hospital very dear family friends were going thru very similar circumstances. They are an elderly couple just one month shy of their 50th wedding anniversary. She is a dear friend and they have taken us in like members of the family.

She had been in the hospital for many many health complications, and diabetes, her kidneys were failing. She had gone into a coma one day. The next day she woke up! It was my ray of sunshine in such gloomy times. She is a stubborn fighter that woman, she had made it out of the hospital many times before
Her son was getting re married in 2 weeks (I am decorating and doing the cake) I was sure she would be getting out in time to go.

Then as we were leaving the hospital after making our fateful decision , her husband was walking into the hospital with the same exhausted drained look on his face. We have been seeing him at the hospital almost everyday for 2-3 weeks now. I gave him a hug in the parking lot. He was going in to sign the DNR papers and have her moved to hospice.

She died only a few hours after my FIL. It was the hardest things to have to tell my children of not one but TWO deaths. Marilyn was like a grandma to them.

My Father in Law was cremated the following Wednesday. All the siblings had to travel home on Sunday/Monday morning.

My husband and I went to view the body on Tuesday. We didn't want to at first, but we are glad we did in the end. He was neatly dressed, clean shaven, he had been washed and his hair was clean. He had his hat on, he was wearing a sweater my husband had received after his grandpa (his Dad's Father) had died a few years ago. he looked so peaceful, like he was sleeping but just a bit too still to be sleeping. But seeing him looking more like himself , rather than making gasping breaths and withering away is a much better image to have left in your mind.

We are going Marilyns funeral later today.

This is the 4th death I have had to deal with in the past year. A grandmother, and grandfather, a father-in-law, and a dear friend. I am kinda feeling defeated.

Dealing with 2 deaths in such a horrible devastating life altering way in the deep dark middle of winter has me struggling for sure. I have no desire to do anything at the moment. I don't know if I will compete this year. I don't really care.

we'll see what time brings, but for the right now, it doesn't seem to matter.

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