Thursday, February 4, 2010


I haven’t been writing because I’ve been so stressed and preoccupied with real matters of life and death. My doctor told me to take a walk outside in the sunshine, to stay hydrated, and to write. I took a walk, I drank water, and now I’m writing, following doctor’s orders.

My father has been in and out of the hospital in the past few weeks with a failing heart. Yesterday I took him home from the hospital—taking him home was Plan B. Plan A was to keep him there for open-heart surgery. The cardiac surgeon would have done the surgery today. My dad is almost 89 years old and he doesn’t want to have open-heart surgery. So I disguised him as a nun and snuck him out the back door of the hospital. Not exactly, but we did turn down their kind offer to cut open his chest then I drove him home and made him a scrambled egg sandwich. He had nothing to eat or drink for two days and he felt better being home and off of the IV lines and EKG sensors. He just wanted something to eat and he wanted to brush his teeth and shave, to sleep in his own bed. Perhaps the surgery would buy him so more time, but what would it cost him in terms of pain and fear? Ultimately, it’s his life and his decision and we have to respect his choices.

And to make things even more challenging, people who know things about weather are predicting huge amounts of snow here over the next few days. I’ve heard snow estimates ranging from four inches to four feet. Four feet of snow? We’re already got snow fatigue here without another four feet of snow. I’m not a snow person. Maybe for about two minutes I think it’s pretty. But all that whiteness makes me crazy with claustrophobia, cabin fever, and snow blindness.

I’m not good with this level of stress. My doctor used the word raw to describe the emotion, the helplessness we feel when we are facing the loss or illness of a parent. She says that we simply can never really be prepared for it. So, yes, I’m feeling tense, fragile, tied up in dread, raw.


  1. I've been in your shoes within the past few months; we only had 7 1/2 weeks notice that my mom had terminal lung cancer...that was all the time we had to prepare for her loss. She did have the option for chemo, and it might have extended her life a bit, but it wasn't going to be good would have been the nauseated, vomiting sick kind of life, and she chose to not do that. Instead, after a visit from all the family, she chose to go into hospice, where she got terrific care, good meds for her discomfort, and a peaceful passing, which is all one could hope for.
    It's very hard to lose a parent. Many hugs! I do understand what you're feeling now! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you! Hugs! Sue Schier

  2. Thanks, Sue. I do appreciate hearing it from someone who has been there. There's no easy way around it but I do believe there are some ways that are my humane, more compassionate. I needed the hug--thanks. Donna