February, 26, 2017
I woke up abruptly at 4AM. I was restless and could not get back to the blissful oblivion that I had been in. I felt as if I were wired all of a sudden. I told Den that I was going outside to get some air in the hopes that it would help me get back to sleep. (It was not to be.)
When I got outside, I was met by a sight that scared me to my core. An organ harvesting team was just arriving. I immediately called Den. I told him that I was going directly to Pa’s room. When I arrived, Ma was sitting holding Pa’s hand and the chair opposite her was empty. I took to and held Pa’s hand for a while. Pa’s breathing was very irregular and his pain meds were almost maxed out. I knew that the end was near for my friend. My heart shattered into a million pieces. I stayed with them for about an hour before I felt very claustrophobic in the room and had to get out. I felt like a heel leaving, but I knew that my emotions would do no one any good. I told Ma to call me if anything changed or if they needed me at all. I gave her a big hug as well as Chris and Tim.
About a half hour after I left, I got a phone call from Chris. Pa had passed away. I felt like the floor had been ripped out from under me. I thanked Chris for the call and told him tell everyone to not hesitate to call me if they needed anything at all. I don’t know how I held it together for that phone call, but I think I did. Den sang Parting Glass with me and we both cried through the entire song.
For all the comrade that e’er I’ve had,
Their sorry for my going away,
And all the sweethearts that e’er I’ve had,
They wish me one more day to stay.
But since it falls, unto my lot,
That I should go and you should not.
I’ll simply rise and softly call,
Goodnight and joy be to you all.
My dear friend was gone and I would not see his smiling face on this earthly plane again. I told Den and we cried together for a while. The nurse came in at one point and asked what was wrong. Den told her what had happened, since I could not talk at that point. She gave us her condolences, but it was of little comfort to me. I told Den that I should have stayed with Pa earlier. I felt that I had let the family down. Pa had passed just 15 minutes after I had left. Den told me that I was in no way at fault. I had let the family have private time with Pa as he slipped away. These words did help my head, but not my heart.
I fell into a fitful sleep after the nurse came in to give Den his pain meds and check his vitals. When Den woke me up a little later to let me know that he was in extreme pain, I called the nurse and asked for Den’s injection of pain meds. I dozed on and off during the day, but when I was awake I made calls to my parents and friends to let them know that Pa had passed on during the night. Unfortunately, I did not have time to dwell on my sad feelings and thoughts, we were there to get Den back on an even keel and home again.
Dr. Little came by to let us know that a special CT had been ordered for Monday. It would involve several scans. Den would have one scan and then get an injection that would make his white blood cells show up and then another scan to see if the cells were “lighting up” the problem vertebra.
Den got his usual meds and IV antibiotic during the day. I had to head home before dinner, since I was scheduled to work tomorrow. I stopped at the nurses station on my way out. I let them know that Den had not had a bowel movement since he had been admitted. I knew that this was caused by the pain meds, but I told them that we were getting dangerously close to a larger problem. The nurse told me that she would get some laxatives ordered right away and keep me posted. I told her that I would be back early Monday morning, but could always be reached by phone.