Got the call from my sister at 3 while at work. Dad had passed out after a colonoscopy and had been taken to the local hospital. Details were as yet unclear.
My sister was on her way to the hospital. She would get there before I could, so I was going to wait until after work, but my boss, bless her heart, told me to go ahead and go, so I did.
When I got there Dad looked like crap, a waxy yellow. The doctor told my mom that his hemoglobin was 4.5. ‘A condition not conducive to life’ were the words of the physician.
During his time in the emergency room he became more lucid, but his pain increased. They couldn’t give him anything my dad, who normally says “Great!” when you ask him how he’s doing, regardless of how he’s doing, was gasping with pain and asking for pain medication. And instead of one suffering person in the room, there were four. It was four hours before they took him to surgery. Four frickin’ endless hours watching him writhe and moan in pain. I know why they couldn’t give him pain meds. I think they did exactly the right thing, but oh my god I wish those four hours did just not have to happen.
Dad is still in surgery at this point. I had to come home because my meds are here. A missed day for me means that I’m really not functional for the following two days. I can’t afford to be non-functional for the next couple of days. My family needs me. So I am home. But sleep is impossible currently. I’m keeping a non-contiguous, simultaneous vigil with my family. And, to my great surprise. It helps. I’ve been texting with youngest sister, and that helps, too.
For all the stupid bullshit that people do texts and the intenet, there’s this too. People who use technology for the good things it can do. We’re using communication technology to help us get through whatever is to come. I have my link to waiting room and little sister has someone to keep her some kind of company through the long hours of waiting.
I have to say, the people of the emergency were just awesome. They did the a really good job. They were attentive to my dad and considerant of us. They left the three of us with him, though there are only supposed to be two. We did try to be considerate to them, too. Stay out of the way of the people working on him and keep quiet.
I have to admit that I was close to losing it in the last half hour before they took him to surgery. He got more and more agitated as time went on. All I could do was grit my teeth. Trying to calm him only brought him closer to consciousness, which was just meant more pain for him.
He has made it through the surgery. They are worried about blood clots now. Apparently there are a lot of them.
We all know that what’s coming is the hard part. One of the hard parts? He’s 79, for pity’s sake. He’s had a couple of major health issues. This can’t be easy.
Two out of the three doctors we spoke to asked about ‘end of life’ measures. I think, though none of us wanted to talk about it, that we know what they want. Quality of life counts, but as our middle sister said, ‘don’t throw me out because of a paper cut.’
The surgeon told us that he’d do his best. We can ask for no more. From here on out, we have to help. Make sure he takes the meds he needs to take, does the exercises he needs to do and recieves the love that he needs to be able to go on.
We will do our best.