Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Never Ready...

Although my dad was in ICU at two different hospitals, for over two weeks, I was stunned when he passed away.  We knew it was a long-shot that he would recover from the "unknown" illness that forced him to the emergency room on January 17th.  From the 24th on, the doctors all warned us that he was very sick and might not make it, yet we were hopeful that he would recover.  

My sister and I visited our dad late Monday night after I had spent the evening with my 13 year old daughter at volleyball practice.  His vital signs were better than the day before and he was blinking and twitching his eyes when we talked to him.   Earlier that night, the Doctors finally found two sources of infection, both acquired at the hospital where he was initially treated.  He was still very sick, but with his temperature down, kidneys being aided by dialysis, the current infections under treatment, and his heart and lung issues improving, we felt for the first time that he would really make it.  We had to wear gowns and gloves for the first time since he entered the ICU, because one of his infections was highly transferable.

After talking with him and encouraging him to continue the fight, I left the hospital Monday night feeling that he had finally turned the corner, and Pa would be coming home.  Not tonight, but in a week or two.  There was finally a light at the end of the long dark tunnel.

We reported his condition to Mom, and we sat in the living room talking about him as my sister googled the infections he had so we could educate ourselves to what lie ahead.  I left my Mom and sister and went home to my family, tired (it was after 1 am) but full of hope that Dad, or "Pa" as we called him after my kids were born, would recover. 

At 7am Tuesday morning, the nurses called my Mom and said he had a good night.  Guarded but full of optimism, my mother and sister were en route to the hospital by 8:30 to meet with the doctors to discuss his current condition and planned treatment.  They received a call sometime around 9am while fighting rush hour traffic with grim news, Dad was having issues with his lungs and heart and they were doing CPR.  

Immediately, my sister called our house and my wife woke me to tell me what was going on.  I was still half asleep, but I decided not to go to the hospital as there was nothing I could do.  I sat down in our sunroom and admired the new fallen snow outside, bright white in the winter sun.  20 minutes later, my sister called again to tell us he was gone.

I thought I was prepared for his passing, but moments later I realized I wasn't.  I struggled to hold back the rush of emotions that flooded me.  He wasn't gonna get better.  Dad was dead.  I quickly left the sunroom and took a long shower where I sobbed like a baby.  Alone in my thoughts and memories of my father...