I forgot to write this one
Obviously this isn't a "looking back to see how far I have come" post. This is just going to be raw and honest and real. My other posts are raw honest and real, but this one will be emotionally ragged
My father. He had a fall. He was pretty messy when he arrived at the emergency room and it would be 'just a stitch or two, some scans and then back home.
- Then it was 'Stitch, no brain bleed or oedema, but a fractured cheekbone no surgery required'.
- Then ‘No stitch, no brain bleed or oedema, but a fractured cheekbone no surgery required, and a fracture at C4 but they went sure if it was old or new so had to send it off to another hospital to double check'
- Then ‘Fractured cheekbone (no surgery required) NEW fracture at C4 and transfer to another hospital'.
- New hospital 'Fractured cheekbone (no surgery required) fracture at C4 and C6/7 disc pressing on spinal cord'
- Then 'Fractured cheekbone (no surgery required) fracture at C4 and C6/7 disc pressing on spinal cord, two codes, get him off the blood thinners (approx. 10 days) and try to clear up chest infection to perform spinal surgery'.
- Then Fractured cheekbone (no surgery required) fracture at C4 and C6/7 disc pressing on spinal cord, two codes, get him off the blood thinners (approx. 10 days) and try to clear up chest infection to perform spinal surgery OR a chest neck brace until it healed'
- Risk of death during surgery extremely high
- Risk of death after surgery high as he wouldn't be able to cough.
As the days passed he became more confused and couldn't understand what everyone was trying to tell him. Too many people. Too much information. I explained it to him and explained new information as it came in. I made sure the nurses had on file that I needed to see the doctors who were seeing him so that I could explain to him what was happening.
Saturday night after getting home from a friend's father's funeral, the phone rang. Dad had coded again and they were struggling to get his oxygen levels up. Call Henry and Brendan and get them up there a.s.a.p. We had to make any decisions unanimously so we all had to be there. Dad's oxygen levels had dropped to 72. Even if they could get his oxygen levels up to the high 80's he would have pretty severe brain damage. Do we continue the battle to get those levels up and preserve him for a possible death during surgery? Or do we make him comfortable and let him pass with some amount of peace and dignity with his family around him. We chose to let him go comfortably and peacefully. We all said our goodbyes and told him it was okay to let go.
He got a bit confused, asked for his grandchildren, and then for me, the thing that broke me, He thought I was Mum. I am glad it gave him comfort that He thought she was there with him. It tore my heart out and I broke. I have never collapsed so completely before. I had to walk away from his bed to Kim and then fell apart. I was doubled over and couldn't breathe. Kind of like being winded. Then I had to leave the room. I crying, wept, and hurt so very much.
After I had gotten myself together and hugged everyone. We went and sat with him. I held both of his hands and the boys were there with him too. I don't remember much of the detail there. I felt his heart and breathing slow and stop and watched his face relax as he drifted off. He passed away at 4 am July 6 th 2014.
After that, there were funeral arrangements and all things that go with the passing of a loved one. The passing of time has been for me, and I suspect for other family members, odd at best. I feel like it was yesterday he passed. It wasn't. Yesterday was the funeral. It wasn't.
I am 40, married to the most amazing man, my best friend in the world. We have four children; they each have their quirks and life lessons. I have two brothers who I love dearly. My husband, the man I only have two photos of with my father. Two, in the 19 years we have been together. Just two.
I am carrying a lot of anger for a lot of things. Things past, things to come. Things I had and have no control over.
I had considered quitting University so I could look after my father better. I don't need to now, he is gone. There is no tie to keep us in this house now. I don't need to be so close to my father to care for him. He is gone. Everything has changed.
I am now flung into the great unknown. I guess I knew this was inevitable, I wasn't expecting it now. How to I hold this family together now? How do I stop my brothers and me drifting apart? How do I preserve that family connection, the events that have kept us together? The traditions.
The thing that most brings me to tears is when people say that my mum and dad would be proud of me. I had always hoped they would be. I never felt that I would accomplish anything they would be proud of me for. Not because their standards were too high, mine were.
So, as I sit here writing this, I am weeping. This is my heart. These are the events of the last few weeks. This is the beginning of a new future without my parents in it. At 15 I was terrified they would die and we would be orphaned. At 40, it hurts just as much if not more.
They are together now. That in itself is a comfort.