Archive for March, 2014

My mother’s partner of thirty-six years, passed away on the 12th February 2014 in intensive care.  He was 78 years old.

This experience was so very painful for myself and my family, so I don’t know why I feel the need to include this brief account of the situation on my blog.  But I do, so I will…maybe it will help someone, in some way, somehow…!

Thursday... Tonight I visited my mum’s partner Ron, in Intensive Care.  Ron is 78 years old and has got pneumonia.  After a week in hospital he is now on life support.  I don’t feel alarmed seeing all the life saving equipment attached to him, as I’ve seen him in the same scenario – but for different reasons, at least three times before, after he fell and broke his neck in October 2011.

I remember then, how the family sat by his bedside for hours, days, weeks, not knowing if he would survive or not, grieving for what had been…and for the lost future we might have shared together.  We were told many times he would not survive his injuries…but he did, even though he spent over a year in hospital and there were many serious glitches along the way.

But this time it’s different…!  They, the all-knowing doctors, have already tried removing him from the oxygen this morning.  But he couldn’t manage to breathe alone.  So whilst they’ve now re-connected him, doctors have told us there is nothing more they can do for him, as he cannot breathe unaided….so tomorrow morning they are going to disconnect his air supply…and let nature take it’s course!

So it appears, at this stage, that this time there will be no reprieve – Ron is going to die…!

It’s been a very long week for the family, and I feel tired and weary as I sit by his bed, watching his face closely for signs of distress.  I look around and see other patients wired up, young and old.  This is such a sad, worrying unit – but the staff are dedicated to saving lives wherever they can…no one can fault their dedication or expertise. However, there are times when people will die….regardless!  I wonder how it will happen with Ron…will it be quick, slow, will he suffer, will he know, will it happen even?  Maybe this is not real, maybe he is strong enough to fight his way through this…after all he’s done it before – more than once!  Whose to say he can’t do it again eh?

As I wonder why life was as it was for Ron, with the terrible consequences of his alcoholic past, I wonder what life in general is actually about.  ‘What is all of this pain, turmoil and drama for?’ I ask the invisible force of the Universe!  Gurus say we create our own reality by the things we do, say and think – which I partially agree with and accept.  We have to take responsibility for ourselves – it’s one of our biggest lessons to learn.  But when one crisis occurs after another, then another, I wonder what in the world is drawing those things to us, questioning whether I will ever really know the answer.

I look at Ron, as he looks at me, and wonder what he is thinking!  Does he realise how ill he is?  Does he know he’s going to die?  Is he worrying and can’t express it because of the tube in his throat?  Does he feel sad, does he feel anything at all – or are the chemicals being pumped into him numbing not only his body, but also his mind?  I hope it’s the latter!  I don’t want him to feel, to hurt, to be afraid…I want him to be numb, calm – in oblivion you might say…because then he won’t be so scared of the…what next!

As I sit by his bed my heart aches for him, for his life, for his soul on it’s next stage of development.  I pray to God that Ron has been redeemed of his ancient past, that he has fulfilled the criteria for healing and growth demanded of his soul.  I pray that next time Ron is born, his life will be one of happiness and joy, filled with love.

My mind jumps to funeral arrangements, and sorting out of business – but I don’t want to think of that yet.  In my mind’s eye I send Ron healing.  My light-self attends to him and clears his lungs of the congestion that is choking him.  I watch as the lungs which were filled with black, turn to white, and release the negativity from my energy.

‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a miracle happened’ I think to myself…’where he can breathe unaided tomorrow.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the healing that occurred in my mind, actually manifested that miracle…!’.  But hey, we’ve got to be realistic now haven’t we…the doctors said….!

Then, whilst I’m thinking about Ron’s life, I suddenly find myself thinking about mine…the regrets, the failures, the things I should’ve done but didn’t.  No different from Ron really!!  I’m scared I’ll die feeling these things – I fear I will never be able to change them or create a happy life.  A life without turmoil, drama, crisis – but I don’t think a peaceful life like that is possible anymore!  May be that’s the trouble eh!

Friday…The tubes are still in place…the doctor puts his face close up to Ron’s whilst speaking to him…’You know when we remove the tube you may not be able to breathe don’t you?’ Ron nodded.  ‘You don’t want us to put the tube back do you Ron…and you don’t want us to do a tracheotomy do you?’.  Ron’s eyes looked confused…I don’t think he knew what he was supposed to say…so he just shook his head and agreed with the doctor.  He’d lived with a tracheotomy for many weeks after his accident – he hated it, so I knew he wouldn’t want to go through that again.

However, I felt the doctor was coercing Ron to agree to something he didn’t know was going to happen, so said sharply to the doctor…’I don’t think he understands what you are trying to tell him!’.  The doctor was telling Ron that he was probably going to die, and wanted Ron to agree to ‘No Intervention’ that was already written on his file – a statement that worried me…did it mean they would do nothing to save him?

So the doctor repeated himself to Ron, who once again agreed with him.  Then, surprising us all because we were preparing ourselves for the ‘finale’, the doctor said the tube would remain in for today…they would remove it tomorrow!

After this we sat and tried to cheer Ron up. Funny eh!  We knew he was probably going to die soon – but he didn’t.  He just wanted to get out of hospital.  So we made the small talk that you do in these situations, putting on a brave face, whilst fear, panic and sorrow was squeezing our hearts and minds.

Saturday and Sunday followed, but the tube remained in.  Ron was coping very well with his situation.  He was awake most of the time.  We all felt like we were living on a knife edge…wondering how ‘it’ would happen, waiting for the dreaded phone call…!

Monday…I spoke to the doctors.  I felt angry they kept telling us they would remove the tube, but then left it in.  No one wanted Ron to die…!  I told them I felt like I’d brought my dog to the vet to have him put down.  I wanted to know why they’d put ‘No intervention’ on his file.  I told him how worried I was that they would not help him as much as they could because of lack of funding, his age, low priority etc.  The doctor explained that Ron’s lungs were severely injured by his previous accident.  Now the pneumonia had been dealt with, but his lungs had been further damaged…meaning he would be unlikely to be able to breathe on his own, once the tube was removed.

The doctor assured me Ron had already received the best possible care, and would continue to do so whilst there, but in his condition his only option was to remain on life support…which really wasn’t an option was it, or die!  He also said the tube would be removed on Tuesday morning.  I said…’All I’m asking is that you give him the best possible chance to survive’.

It’s a strange experience, waiting for someone you love to die!  You know the reality, but still, hope rises that a miracle will happen, the doctors will be wrong.  That tomorrow the sun will shine and you will feel good about the day, because you know your loved ones are all okay!

It was difficult trying to remain cheerful whilst we sat with Ron!  Death was never mentioned…I wondered if he knew…!

Tuesday...I arrived early at the hospital, with dread in every part of my being.  What would it be like when the tube came out?  Would he realise what was happening, would he be afraid, would he suffer?  I couldn’t let myself feel how I was feeling…I knew I needed as much strength as I could muster, in order to support Ron at this stage.  I wondered how he felt…I am usually able to deal with most situations, but I didn’t feel able to ask Ron ‘How do you feel Ron, now that you’re going to die?’.  All I could say to console him was ‘You’ll feel better once that tube is out won’t you?’.  Ron agreed!

I waited outside in the corridor whilst the tube was removed.  The doctor assured me Ron would not be allowed to suffer.  Ten minutes later the nurses came to get me.  They were smiling.  ‘It’s okay, you can come back in now.  He’s fine and breathing on his own!’.

I almost ran back into the unit…there he was, dear old Ron, sitting up in bed with a huge, beaming smile lighting up his face.  He was laughing and joking as I gave him a hug, saying ‘Thank goodness that is out and you’re breathing okay’.  I sat with him for an hour or so before I called to arrange for my mum to come to the hospital.  She was so upset by the situation and as she’s disabled felt powerless to help him in any way.  She didn’t want to watch him die! But I felt she needed to see him now, looking so well and feeling so happy.

We stayed with him for a few hours…he was chatty and looking forward to the future.   He told us of his plans for when he got out of hospital, when he would leave the nursing home where he’d been staying for the last year or so.  This was an amazingly poignant experience for us all!  Was he going to live…or die?  Were the doctors right or wrong?  Had we got the miracle we’d prayed for?  I didn’t realise at that time that the high dose of morphine was responsible for his miracle cure…!  I just hoped and prayed for the impossible!

Wednesday...It was about 3 am when I got the call from the hospital. By the time we arrived Ron had quietly passed away!  It’s hard to describe feelings at this time, as there are so many emotions happening all at once.  Disappointment that this had to be the option, sadness at losing a big part of our lives, fear at what might happen to us and our other loved ones in the future.  Regret at what had to be, and especially for the dreams that Ron did not fulfill!

It’s been a month now since Ron passed.  All formalities have been attended to, so now it’s just a matter of getting on with our life, without him in it.  Grief is different for every loss…with varying levels of intensity of pain.  It helps sometimes, to have a thought that consoles us.  I guess what helps our pain is being able to recall him being so happy on Tuesday.  He had a really lovely day, with his loved ones around him, making plans, feeling optimistic.  I like to think that he went to sleep that night feeling happy.  And that when it was time for his soul to return home in the early hours of the next morning, he was feeling peace in his human heart and mind.

For us that are left we have to find a way to feel our own peace…life is so precious, we must ensure we make full use of the positive opportunities we have presented to us, whatever they are!  Ron had so many regrets, so do I! What about you though?

I wonder whether I will be able to resolve some of my things still to do, and if I will still have the time and energy to complete my tasks…?  I like to think I do, but so much time has passed already…so I don’t know!  However, what I do know now, is that moments of happiness can be found within the most distressing situations.  And that maybe it will be the memories of those short moments, that help us cope with our own uncertain future!

Rest in Peace Ron…we will all miss you!


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