April 04, 2005
I can't believe I am writing this....
This morning, just before 3:30am, I was awakened by a nightmare. I was unable to go back to sleep, completely spooked and feeling like something was terribly wrong. Our phone rang about 15 minutes later. Seriously. Well, I ran to the living room to answer it, but there was noone there. I have caller id so I picked up the phone and called the number back, only to go straight to voicemail - where I ranted and accused the person of having no manners.

The phone rang a minute later (same number) and it was the police. I immediately thought it was regarding my mom, since she has a heart condition (and they were calling from my mom's town). Even once they told me she was okay, and they were taking her to the hospital, I was convinced she'd had another heart attack. It wasn't until she got on the phone, crying, and told me that B was in an accident that I realized I had been wrong all along.

My stepdad (most of you know that my dad died about 10 1/2 years ago, suddenly) was on his way home after going out for a couple hours. He'd gone to a rib festival as an excuse to ride his motorcycle in the beautiful early summer weather. As he was nearing his street, a pickup truck made a u-turn directly in front of him. I won't go into the gruesome details, but I will tell you that a pickup truck made a u-turn right in front of him. The driver was arrested for DUI and later also charged with manslaughter (initially, Pop had brain stem function, thus was breathing on top of the ventilator - though barely).


My mom arrived at the hospital about 4:30 this morning, and I arrived a scant 45 minutes later (I live 75 miles away). After talking to the chaplain (before even seeing my mom and stepbrother), I knew there was no hope. I just hugged my stepbrother B as he was walking out, telling him over and over "I am so sorry". He insisted that "You know Dad is going to pull through this, he is a fighter." I didn't have the strength just then to tell him not to leave, but that today would be the last day his father was on earth.

I went in the ER and though I thought I had prepared myself, knowing the circumstances of the accident and that there would be no recovery.... There was no preparing myself for what lie in front of me. My poor Pop didn't look at all like himself, the swelling had masked his face, and the only definable feature (that actually looked like him) was his fingertips of the right hand - the skin around his nails still stained from the ink that was so much a part of his professional life.

My other stepbrother arrived shortly before 7 and by that time, I had gleaned some details of Pop's condition from the chaplain (who was unable to offer information, but nodded and shook his head in answer to my questions). I told M that there was no hope for recovery, physically or neurologically. The second time I would tell a brother that his father wouldn't make it. In his certain disbelief, he required the nurse to tell him precisely the details of his father's condition. The nurse was gruesome with his details, leaving no room in any of our hearts for hope.

I was too distressed to tell a third brother the news of his father's demise (I was the one who told my own brother that our dad had died over 10 years ago), so after we spoke directly to the neurologist, M called B to come back to the hospital. When he arrived, he needed to be told by the nurse the gruesome-ness of his father's condition. We then met with the LifeLink rep, to discuss our options for donation of Pop's organs. After talking with her, we made the decision to have the ventilator removed as soon as possible. This never did actually happen because the neurologist refused to sign the paper for at least 24 hours. While this made me angry (he himself had told us that there was no hope for recovery), I would soon realize that the ventilator would not be enough to keep his body alive.

The nurse removed the dopamine drip (it was no longer having any effect on his blood pressure anyway). Then, another drug stopped working to keep the blood vessels constricted, so that drip was stopped. The respiratory therapist did lower the function of the respirator by 5 points. In a couple hours, he finally stopped breathing at all on his own. I had asked A to come and be with us (thank God my cousin Brit was here for her spring break and A was able to leave the girls with her). He arrived just before Pop stopped breathing on his own. Something about having A's arms around her, maybe it was because it was the man that loved her next best to Pop, but my mom broke down in my husband's arms. It was the first time of the day I truly saw the extent of her grief. She'd been holding it together pretty well, certainly lots of crying and contorting of face, but not the complete weakness I saw as my husband held her. I felt grateful and devastated at the same time. This would be repeated again later in the day when my amazing husband told me that he understands that we might have to welcome my mother to live with us, depending on what we discover in the clear picture of her finances.

After Pop stopped breathing on his own, a short - but very long - two hours was spent standing around his bed, watching his blood pressure slowly fall. Then his heart rate decreased by half and within minutes, stopped altogether. Though we knew it was coming, it didn't change the devastation felt in each of our beating hearts.

Please pray for my family during this time, particularly for my stepbrothers - but especially my mom, who has lost the other half of her life.

I so appreciate all your prayers. I can tell I am being prayed for as I go about taking care of the details, piecing together the puzzle that is my mother's financial future. There are no words to express my gratitude for your generosity in prayers and for those of you who set up the paypal account and who are donating to help my mom in this incredibly difficult time.

I will be gone for several days, but will check in to read everyone's prayers and wishes - it does help during this incredibly painful time. Becca will have access to my blog and will update as necessary. I imagine none of you need to hear the daily details of my next days as I sift through paperwork and legalities...

Again, thank you. God Bless You.
Posts written by humble servant
21 Your Comments

monk & neagle banner
Dress up your blog with Blog Togs!

Powered by Blogger