Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Band

Well, the whole problem with hospitals is a complete loss of perspective. That and the dying.

Here we are on Day 17 of my sweet daddy's hospital stay. 14 days of it have been in the ICU. Now I've been down this road with many a person, but never before with family for this long. We are a tired crew. Even the legendary Uncle Dan is getting a little droopy.

The good news: Dad is off the ventilator. The bad news: he was on it for 11 days, so we are battling the myriad major setbacks from ventilators. Hey, it saved his life. I know it. But we've got a long road before he is able to do anything himself, including sitting up or digestion.

So each day a band of tired, worried members of an extended family get up and go to the hospital or call in and get the latest. Each day the band takes the best of the news and tries to drum up the best possible scenario. Each day the band takes the bad news and tries not to let it worry away at us. Each day we repeat "I love you" a dozen times hoping that the words can make the love tangible and healing.

Each day "the band" is hundreds of different families in this one hospital alone.

There was a band who went to Bed 7 while we've been at Bed 6. We sat in the waiting room with them. We took turns being allowed back into the ICU with them. We shared magazines and a lobby for dozens of hours. The differences: they are a lot younger than we are. Their loved one is a lot younger. She's 29. Her name is Amanda. She's a mother of three.

Daddy came off the ventilator Friday. Amanda came off the ventilator Thursday. Her funeral is on Tuesday. I plan to go. And when we are told whatever we will be told on Tuesday about my father's condition, it may all seem like good news because of Amanda.

Thanks again to the lovely congregation I serve. Thanks to the friends and family who have been helpful to me and to my family at this time. Thanks to the wonderful bloggers who lift me up, make me laugh, share their own trials and triumphs. Thanks to a corps of ICU nurses who spend their days trying to keep their patients alive and giving the bands hope.

2 comments:

Lizard Eater said...

Big hugs to you. Being in the hospital stinks, at the time, but if everything turns out well, you can actually look back at it and see it as a happy place. "This is the place that helped someone I love."

Not that you asked for any, and it's a little late, but some advice:

a) Buy junk reading material with lots of pictures. Honestly, it was like "Newsweek" became "The New Yorker." I would reread the same paragraph over and over and over. And it never made sense. If anything important in the world happened last spring, I'm completely ignorant of it.

b) Keep easily digestible food bars in your bag. Luna = good. Kashi = bad.

c) You're probably dehydrated. Go drink some water right now.

d) Okay, this is a debateable one, just my own preference -- keep some sort of a journal right now. Even if it's just random notes jotted down in a spiral. 6 months from now, this will all be a big blur, and you'll want to fill in the gaps in your mind. I'm really glad I could blog during most of it.

and e:

Don't take anyone's advice, including mine. Do what you want to do.

You will live through this.

Every 7th Day said...

If anyone ever wondered why I'm a fan of a person who calls herself lizard eater - let the above comment erase all speculation.

Yes, I am COMPLETELY dehydrated. Thanks for noticing. And can't keep a non-heart disease related thought in my head. That part is really spooky considering I'm supposed to be preparing a speech on the history of religious apologetics as apotheosis of liberal religious discourse models.
At least I can now remember - Luna=good, Kashi=bad. Maybe that will fly for the speech?