Saturday, August 1, 2015

heaven on earth

As a clinically trained healthcare professional with a lot of years under my belt I have to say that all that jargon about quality of care at the end of life is different when it's your own family.  I made a late night run to the ICU just to have a moment with my daddy alone, and returned this morning early where I ran into the doctor, my favorite.  He is huge and has a bad accent but hugs like nobody's business and always does what's right for the patient because he is a true advocate.  He told me today that we should leave the man alone and keep him comfortable because there is no coming back from what he's been fighting for months.  

The infected 30 year old mesh has been in there for God knows how long causing all kinds of problems that we sort of attributed to a medication change.  Now it all becomes clear, if you know what I mean.  He is such a tough old bird that he soldiered on and refused help until the pain became unbearable.  And that was on June the somethingth, about a week after Noler died.  The irony of that is in the cause of both of their problems: infected old hernia repairs.  Now, the mesh is removed a month or so post-op so there's not a foreign object all up in your body forever.  Modern medicine and all that.  

This whole thing reminds me of my grandmother's predicament at 83.  She was found to have colon cancer and a re-section was performed followed by rehab at the home next door.  Mama actually wheeled her over there in the rain!  A few days later she began to show signs of distress and it was discovered that the op site had failed and she was developing peritonitis.  Back to the hospital again, and this time a different surgeon did a colostomy.  I distinctly remember being with her as she was wheeled out for emergency surgery and she was waving at all her peeps in heaven and from the past...happy as a lark.  She was on a vent when she arrived in ICU and laced up like a turkey.  Morphine kept the pain under control but suppressed her breathing so *some* asshat ordered Narcan to reverse it after we declined to put her back on the vent.  I was working like a dog drawing blood and whatnot and some angel of an LPN student came and got me to intervene.  The pulmonology doc did an alternative to vent and gave the pain meds back.  On Saturday night, her doctor came back from vacation and sat in the ICU until she died.  He is also an advocate and  hero in my book.  

I feel some peace  for the first time in days.  My father has lived a good life and accomplished a lot of things that other people only dream of.  He is a leader in the church, community and our family.  His retirement years were spent giving back to others by volunteering as a redcoat at the sawmill and tutoring those who were learning to read.  His tenor still rings in my ear, harmonizing with my alto.  A lot of underprivileged children had their only taste of summer camp thanks to his van driving to Lauderdale county and back to the projects.  I will never forget our one candid conversation about heaven and hell and he surprised the heck out of me by saying he pretty much though that it's here on earth and what you make of the gift from Big Ernie.  



1 comment:

  1. Your dad and I think alike. I hope he is at peace and able to be pain -free now. He lived a good life and helped to give us you.