Hospital Visit #1
2005-07-31, 8:48 a.m.
I've got an hour till pickup, so here's an entry. I may update it depending on how early I get home (supposedly pretty early- something about how my cousin's getting picked up in Tahoe at seven or something).
No estimated time of departure when he gets out. He got a feeding tube, like it or not, and is getting a tracheotomy sometime next week. Tons of tests and tubes shoved up him and whatnot. Evidently he looks quite awful and will be looking much worse shortly, so Aunt Susie and co. are going "before it gets really bad." Hah. I wish I had the option of avoiding seeing that. Of course, I don't.
Evidently Auntie Dolores has finally come around to the idea of NOT having Grandma say goodbye to him. For that to penetrate her head says a lot about this, doesn't it? Uncle Bruce is supposedly going to give her a talking-to about things, such as sensitivity to Mom's situation. They will not be there today, thank god. I told Mom I might very well tell them off if they were.
I asked if they had given her a death estimate. They haven't. Dad apparently wants to be rescusitated short of a Terri Schiavo situation, though.
Everybody wants me down there. Joy. I know I'm going to come off as a total asshole in the hospital. I always do. Grossed out, hiding in the corner, freaking out.
I already feel kind of mowed over. I made sure to pack tissues in the purse.
Note to any happy Catholics reading this: You will probably want to stop reading this entry at this point. I cannot say right now that I or certain other people mentioned in the lower half of this entry are 100% approving of or happy with Catholic doctrine. Or that I am feeling all that respectful of their tenets right now. In short, you will most likely be offended and pissed off at me for saying anti-Catholic things, or repeating anti-Catholic things said by others in this entry. If you continue to read at this point, don't say I didn't warn you. Sorry, but there it is.
Update, 8 p.m.-ish.
It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. For one thing, when we got there he'd just been sedated, so we only had to be in for a few minutes and then went to lunch. Then later on I only had to see him for another twenty minutes (more on that later) because my aunt and uncle wanted to leave by 2. (Double yay.)Yeah, he looked bad- like a mewling infant, tubes all over his head, restraints on him so he wouldn't pull off the tubes, looked like he couldn't see much and obviously looks like he's starving.
But on the other hand, somehow you expect someone to look like that in the ICU. I guess to me it's worse to see him in regular clothes in a home pretending that he's "normal."
Or maybe I just was expecting him to look a billion times worse. I guess that'll be when the trach goes in. I guess the official in-the-gut feeding tube hasn't been put in yet, they just shoved one up his nose for the time being.
As for me, my aunt was nice to me, and I didn't cry or throw up (though I've been nauseous off and on all day, including right now. Whee.) the way I thought I would. So that's a plus. I kind of wanted to skip lunch just in case there, but didn't.
After lunch when we went back, we were surprised by the pastor where Mom goes to church (once a year), Pastor Chuck. (Yes, really. He goes by Pastor Chuck.) I guess she'd called and left him a message and he'd driven up to see Dad after services were done. So we spent a good chunk of available visiting time with Mom while she talked to Pastor Chuck, whose parents are both on feeding tubes and he told her what it was like (a billion times shorter and easier to handle, thank gawd). Yay for Pastor Chuck, I say.
I should probably mention here that Auntie D had been bugging Mom to bring a Catholic priest in to see Dad. Mom was all, "uh, (a) he hasn't been a practicing Catholic for like 30 years, and (b) if we bring in a priest, he's gonna think he's getting last rites and freak the hell out." (Which I guess is something he's doing all the time there anyway, given how much sedating/restraining was going on.) So Mom was all, "Well, I can say that SOMEONE came in to see him, and Dad likes the Methodists better anyway."
Amusingly enough, Pastor Chuck said that there are a LOT of ex-Catholics in the Methodists, and he uh, indicated that a lot of them Had Issues brought on by The Church. "They all think they're going to hell." This amused me.
Anyway, he went back in with us and did a group prayer praying for er, whatever God wants to dish out (something like "Whether or not he wills for a full recovery...or mumblemumblemumble..." I couldn't hear that part too well, I think that was deliberate), Mom escorted him out and left us alone with Dad.
And that's the point where I realized that nobody other than Mom knows how to behave in a hospital situation, when the person can't speak any more and God knows, there's nothing to talk about. Because Aunt Susie couldn't say much of anything beyond talking about the dog (Cassie brought Delcey the guide dog along), Cassie naturally didn't say much, and Uncle Brad was all, "So, how are the sports on television?" This topic of conversation bombed out once he realized that (a) Louie Anderson attempting comedy was on the television right now, and (b) without his glasses on, Dad couldn't probably see shit of the television anyway. Occasionally, they'd try to bug me to do something like hold Dad's hand (which I couldn't). I just stood there and stared mostly. All he could do was attempt to blearily stare back. We all waited impatiently for Mom to come back into the room.
All in all, not as bad as expected. Though one can presume other times to come won't be as good, since I won't have an aunt and uncle who have an excuse to leave early as my ride. On the way back they kept talking about how I could take the train to Martinez and have Mom pick me up. Joy. I can probably take a guess on how I'll be spending Sundays for awhile now, especially if they mention this idea to Mom.
Here's another real asshole thing to say on my part: I can't say I'm all that thrilled that Dad wants to live at all costs. That he'll drag it out to the absolute bitter end. That the pain will continue on for as long as it possibly fucking can.
I can't help but think that the Catholic upbringing of NO SUICIDE OR YOU GO TO HELL!!! might have something to do with that. That no matter what, you can't be let off easy. If God wants you to die in agony, then you should do exactly what He says.
I am so not a fan of Catholic doctrine.