Tuesday, June 16, 2009

One cardiac patient in the family is enough

As if things weren't already stressed for my wife. I know she's having a very hard time coping with this whole loss and pending grieving. We've been slowly, apprehensively approaching the purple elephant in the room and started, delicately talking about my illness and how devastated she's going to be (her words, not mine) once I'm gone.

This morning I had a family friend drive her (and me to say goodbye) to the airport. We have another family emergency. Both of us are starting to get very tired, very worn down and at the precise moment we need to be strong, for the one in our hearts just lingering on the brink between life and death. You see, late last night, my step-son, her 17 yr old son's heart stopped. No one knows a thing over there (except that there were NO drugs in his system), but with her medical training she has a few suspicions about what it could be (prolonged QT). As we frantically packed her bag, we made sure she had a clean (not faded) paramedic hat, t-shirt etc. to arm her when dealing with the same institution (Burnaby Gen) that mis-diagnosed and missed her then sister's football sized-tumour back in the 1980s. She needs not only the spiritual strength to deal with incompetent suburban/second rate hospital doctors, but the outside appearance that she can't be talked down to and knows exactly what it is she's dealing with. Then I gave her one of our stuffed turtles to give her comfort I cannot physically extend thousands of miles away.

So as we said our goodbyes in front of the airport security gates, tears rolling down our cheeks, embracing ever so tightly she whispered to me that I'm supposed to be her only heart patient. If things weren't in such delicate balance between life and death right now, it might actually have been cute enough to laugh.
Not right now.
Right now, there are no answers, only prayers. There is (another) one of us who's heart just decided to rest. From all the reading on spirit and death I've been doing this feels like a very precious time - it's the first 24 hours that a spirit, if it wanted to, can just as easily keep on going rather than return back to its' earthly container. We're praying that is stays. I'm praying that the Wife isn't swallowed up into the Ocean (where she grew up) of heart grief, loss and death. A mother should never outlive her child, wife, sister.

This really drills home to me why, even with all the memory loss, bodily functions loss, work of patient care, etc. I would rather someone depart slowly (with having more than a month left) from this earth. People just don't function well on panic and zombie-esque like responses. People don't have the time opportunity to say goodbye etc. I just can't reiterate enough and at this point I wonder why I am even needing to repeat this. It's not as if Gd listens.

I'm surrounded by our cats, one by my laptop, the other beside me asleep. I can't do work and jump every time the phone goes off even though I know it's too soon to get answers - unless it's the answer none of us wants. So, perhaps I'll get lost in prayer in the garden, Gd knows I am completely and totally scattered glued to the phone, Internet, etc. waiting for her to land, to talk to doctors, to see Thomas, to get answers and for that symbol that he's decided to return to his container rather than dance around above his body watching all of us. I've been there, lingering above your unconscious body knowing how easily it is to slip through the veil to the other side. The light is so, so, infinitous (is that even a word?). That happened on the operating room table when I was 13, that's for another entry.

I wonder, for an instant, which method of death a care-giver/spouse etc. would "prefer": immediate or prolonged? It's not a fair question to ask but is hell easier to cope with when you only get little doses everyday for a year to three(four) or when you get it all at once?