Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Day......Surreal

Hello my friends, I hope you all had a wonderful day. Our weather here was absolutely beautiful.

I was talking to my sister, Sheila this morning and she told me that I had two words spelt wrong in last night's post. I do apologize. She is now my official editor. She doesn't follow on my blog but reads it every day, then e-mails me. She loves my music and we feel closer to each other by sharing my blog. I love her for that.

Okay now for the surreal part of my day. The only way to explain it is tell you all how my day unfolded. I was having coffee on my deck this morning chatting with my neighbor (who informed me my flowers had frost bite, and 2 have to be replaced) when the telephone rang just before noon, and it was my favorite patients wife. She explained that he was in hospital. I asked about him and then I asked how she was and she started crying, I was really concerned. I then asked if she had anyone with her and her reply was no, so I said I could be there within an hour if she would like some company.
I immediately rushed around doing my make up and changed my clothes, and as I was driving out of Morinville I realized I had forgotten to ask what hospital he was in, so came back and called the number on my phone she had called me from. Of course, I got an voice saying this number is not for incoming calls. What to do? I remembered my favorite patient and I exchanged phone numbers so I had to go through my course papers which I had put away until the Fall session praying I hadn't thrown out the paper I had wrote it on. Thank God I found it, I knew they weren't home but it was all I had to go on so took a chance and dialed hoping someone would be there. As luck would have it his daughter in law was and she told me he was at The Royal Alex in Edmonton, a 45 minute drive from here. I was late, but just before the hospital was a Tim Horton's and I stopped and picked up 3 coffees and 3 doughnuts.
I asked at the reception desk what room he was in and she asked me if I was family, and when I said no she said only family members were allowed to see him. I don't know why but I never once thought he might be in serious condition, I just thought he was not feeling well and was probably being checked out and having medications. Even with what the receptionist had said, no bells of alarm went off. I explained to her that his wife had called and asked me to come in to see her....she then called the floor and after what seemed like an hour but actually it was only 10 minutes she told me I was allowed to go up to his room.
When I arrived one look at my favorite patient told me he was in serious condition. He had no IV's or tubes except the one in his nose for oxygen. I bent down to speak to him and realized he was not aware of who I was or that I was there, in short he was in a coma. As I stroked the back of his hand I looked at his wife, she had not told me the seriousness of his condition, and I realized it was because she honestly didn't know herself. As she sat on a chair I passed her a coffee which she appreciated but turned her head away from the doughnut. I asked her what the doctor was saying and she said she had been told he was in no pain and that it wouldn't be long now. I was in shock, she said everything so calmly. I thought this lovely lady is still in denial, yet why wouldn't she be as I had seen him myself on Tuesday, we had a picnic and went for coffee together. I knew he was ill but I didn't think he was going to leave us this soon. As we quietly chatted his breathing became more labored. The nurse came in to suction out his lungs (at least I think that's what she was doing) and we both stopped and watched her. She covered him with a warm blanket and turned a fan on him at the same time. After checking everything she turned to his wife and asked if she would like her to call her son but she immediately shook her head and said no. The nurse and I both looked at each other and I excused myself and followed her out of the room. She asked me how I was related and I explained again that I wasn't, I was only there to show support to his wife. The nurse said that his kidneys and organs were shutting down and that his wife had been informed of this last night. She thought I should speak to her again about calling their children. I was in uncharted waters here, it was my favorite patient and I that were friends, I had only met his wife once really and then briefly when she had picked him up on Tuesday. Silently I said a prayer as I walked back in the room, my heart was heavy and oh did I need guidance. I went over to my favorite patient and while squeezing his hand I whispered it's time to rest my friend, have a safe journey and we will meet again. With tears in my eyes I sat down beside his wife and took her hand. I asked if she would like me to call her pastor or her children. She again said no, so as gently as I possibly could I asked her if she realized that her husband would be going to heaven soon. Her eyes filled with tears as she gazed at him struggling for every breath. I know I should she said, but I'm afraid if I do he will know he is dying, I don't want him to be afraid. In my mind it was her who was afraid and I don't mean this in an unkind way. I think it was her way of handling this situation. Then two nurses came in to turn him over and I could see the pained expression on his face, his cancer was in his bones as well as other places so even in coma I was sure he felt them turn him. They were so gentle, so kind with my favorite patient, his wife and even me. They also gave him morphine. His eyes were half open and he gazed to the ceiling in the corner of the room. I knew in my heart he was ready to go and I didn't want him to suffer anymore, but I still didn't know how to let his wife know that it was very important that she call her family. I knew only one call had to be made and that whoever was called would inform the others. Again I said another prayer and asked God to give me whatever I needed to help her see it was time for his immediate family to visit one last time. I sat down again and she began telling me about what had happened, why she had brought him to hospital, she talked about everything except that her husband was in the final stages of his life. This poor beautiful soul I thought, she thinks if she doesn't acknowledge his dying then it won't happen. I looked over at him and I just knew he would want her to do whatever was easier for her. He had told me a couple of times that she couldn't accept his illness and that they hadn't really discussed it very much since he was diagnosed. It was like an elephant in the room but he wanted her happy and so they had lived their lives as normally as they could. He was pleased that he could do that for her. When I realized this I decided I would do what I thought he would of wanted me to do. In my mind my favorite patient was being treated with medication, care and love from hospital staff, now I was going to treat his wife with care and support. We sat for over 2 hours and all the while she spoke of him. How they met, their life together, his likes, dislikes, their children everything except his illness and pending death. Every once in awhile she would get up and straighten his blankets and cover his hand with hers. I could feel her love for her husband. It was real and so was her fear of losing him. I left to heat up the extra coffee in the kitchen micro wave and when I returned her pastor was there. What a lovely man. I could see he wanted to talk with her so I slowly made my way out of the room to the sitting area. I prayed again for everything that was happening in that room. About an hour later a nurse came and told me that they would like me to go back in, and when I did it was because the pastor had to leave and my favorite patients wife didn't want to be alone. I waited by the door and as he was leaving I asked him how well he knew their children. He knew one of them quite well and he agreed that it was time to call him. Thank you God I thought but again as from the beginning I wasn't thinking clearly as I didn't ask him if he was going to call. I was totally disgusted with myself when I realized I hadn't but I didn't want my anxiety to show as I approached the bed and the wife. I was unable to get her to eat anything and she didn't want me to leave her alone so we sat, sometimes chatting, sometimes in silence. All the while nurses were going back and forth checking blood pressure, adjusting the oxygen and blankets, putting the fan so that the air flowed gently on my favorite patients face and keeping him medicated. He was cold to the touch, and I could tell his time was short. Then about 7:30 his son arrived, oh I was so thankful. He looked at his dad then at me and I knew that he also knew his father was leaving this earth. I thought he may be angry at his mother or even me for not calling him but he was so like his dad. He hugged his mother and said he was just going outside to call the others, to my surprise she only nodded. For the first time since I had entered that hospital room I was relieved. When Junior returned I said, I should go and his mom said oh please don't, stay awhile longer. So I got another chair and sat closer to the door to give the two of them room around the bed. As each of the children arrived I moved myself closer and closer to the door. I felt this was a time for family, although it was a very sad situation, they were there all together, supporting each other as they should be. I quietly observed how wonderful they were to their mother. They were looking out for her and I was honored to be able to see this. I know my patient would of been very proud of his children. At 9:10 tonight, my favorite patient completed his journey to heaven. I hugged each one good bye and as I looked for one last time at my favorite patient, his face was relaxed, he was pain free and he was home. The family had invited me to their mother's but I just wanted to come home. I hugged my favorite patients wife and she clung to me as a child does to his mother when he needs comfort. My heart went out to her. The transition from we, us, I'll check becomes I, me, I'll have to is a painful transition, an emotional roller coaster but somehow this lovely lady will make it through. Her faith will get her there. I know this journey all too well.

It was almost dark as my tears gave way while driving home. I had done nothing all day but every part of my body ached and I felt exhausted. I was and still am in shock of how fast my favorite patient passed but I know he is in a better place tonight.....So long my favorite patient, God Bless xoxo


Stillness Speaks said...

I am so very sorry to hear of your favorite patient pass away. But I think it was time for him to leave as whatever he had to learn and whatever he had sought to accomplish on his journey here was over. He would still be watching over his loved ones and would always want them to be strong and happy. And like you mentioned, they would all meet again, some other time, some other place. Take care Bernie, and be as strong as it is possible!

Wanda said...

Morning Bernie...
I'm so does change so quickly...sadness came over me and tears filled my eyes...I felt as if I had lost someone close to me...the great sadness you must have felt know...for her to have called you, she knew what your support had meant to fitting that you were there in his final hours to give your support to her...and see him other way would have seemed right...even though it brought much saddness to you...I'm sure it gave you peace of mind and I know you're were there.

As for your toamto plant...remember my growing season started way before your's...Just keep it moist and fertilized and
soon it's growth will speed up with your new warmer weather...really they grow inches overnight.

Our peaches aren't doing as well this year...they are very sensitive to our year we found baby raccoons just sitting in the peach trees...filling their tummies...and the sqirrels enjoy them we're lucky when we get a harvest of peaches.

Enjoy your Sunday Bernie!
Smile and take care!

Diana said...

Oh Bernie how sad this was. I too am in tears reading about it.
It sounds like you were sent from God to help with this sad situation and it happened quickly.
It was a blessing that you were there Bernie.

Blessings each day said...

Oh, Bernie, what a blessing and gift that you were there...a priceless gift you gave to him and his family.

I will be back...must get ready for Mass and some other praomizsed things.

blessings and prayers and thanks to you,


The Retired One said...

Oh Bernie,
You are an Earth Angel.
I teared up when reading your account of your friend's journey.
As a nurse, I have been with many who have passed alone (except for me or other hospital staff).
I also was present at both my parent's deaths and my husband's parents' deaths, holding their hands.
It is a very difficult thing to do, but somehow, it makes you so much closer to God and the life that is blessed to you here on earth.
You were the Earth Angel that was supposed to be there at that time, and the things that unfolded were as they were supposed to be.
Your friend knew it had to be that way, and that is why you received the call that you did to come to the hospital.
Thank you for being there for him and for being the lovely person you are.
Hospice is your calling.

Granny on the Web said...

What a very moving way you have related this story Bernie, and how wonderful you were there for this man and his wife and family. These little gestures will come back to comfort her in the dark days ahead.
You and I know how this feels, we have both lost our husbands. My dear Michael had throat cancer, and it was so sudden, we only had a few weeks to come to terms with what was happening. My family and friends were there for me. My eldest boy was with me at his father's bedside when he passed on.
You have wonderful strength and presence dear Bernie.
Love Granny

Teresa said...

Hi Bernie,
God had a purpose in all of this, and he used you, and the fact that this woman called you, says it all. I think she will need your support in the coming days. I know your relationship will bless both of you.
(((HUGS T))))

Eileen said...

I'm glad his wife thought to call you. You were obviously a major support system to him through his last stage of his disease, it's so fitting that you be there at his final stage.
I think God moved her to call you. His spirit needed you there cheering him on. He may not have been able to let go if things had played out differently, his spirit may have felt the need to hang on for his wife who could not let go.

I know this is going to sound so strange, but as sad as a 'death watch' is, there is something so beautiful about it. I was honored, and Blessed, and felt so Gifted by God to have been present at the passing of both my Mom and my Dad.
A part of you must feel so peaceful and so joyful, Bernie.
Embrace it.
Love and Prayers,

Annette said...

I'm so sad to hear of his passing. He has touched us all, hasn't he? You were brought together and he knew that you were the one to bond with... It was like it was meant to be. A blessing it was that you were there for his wife. I'm sure you were of much comfort to her. It is good to know that his wife and children have each other for support.

Jackie said...

Bernie....I just typed a comment. I don't know where it went....but I want to 'talk' to you, so persist and type again. You are an angel with such compassion and love....and I am happy that your favorite patient's wife had you there to be with her during this difficult time for her. You went above and beyond to find out the name of the hospital...not giving up....perservering as only a person with true compassion would do. God's timing is perfect....I'm glad that the pastor was there at exactly the time he needed to be....again...not an accident...but providential timing. How considerate of you to consider the needs and wishes of the wife and the patient. The family was able to be were quietly there...and you'll probably never know just how much that meant and will always mean to them. I hope that everyone has an angel like you to be there for him/ pray for be there....quietly and lovingly be there. I count myself blessed to call you a friend from afar.
Thank you for sharing. God speaks....sometimes with a whisper. Blessings to you.

Rebecca said...

Who would have thought you'd meet your favorite patient so soon after your sessions were finished? What a comfort/stabilizing presence you must have been to his wife. It's a good thing you had a restful day the day before. God knew you'd need it.

Re. the elder Bush....did you hear him say that he planned to do it again on his 90th birthday?!

Bernie said...

Thank you Stillness, I, as you, believe it was his time to go. The whold day was surreal, it still is.

Bernie said...

Good Morning Wanda, thank you for the kind words. I am feeling sad today as well, I think I will for awhile. The circle of life eh!
......:-) Hugs

Bernie said...

Diana, I did say a lot of prayers yesterday as things unfolded, seems even surreal tonight. Thank God for always helps me through in his time, not mine.
Thanks Diana,......:-) Hugs

Bernie said...

Marcy,thanks for your prayers, now it's time to pray for the family. It will be hard for them for awhile.....:-) Hugs

Bernie said...

Oh Joan, then you understand how I felt yesterday as you were with patients you didn't know really well yet cared so much for. It was a fine line to balance, wanting to help but not intrude. I am exhausted today, I think I get far too attached to people and their families. I so love people and care about them so very much. I do hope I was a help......:-) Hugs

Bernie said...

Granny - thank you for your kind words....I did the best I could but it wasn't about me yesterday it was about the family. Wife was so helpless and frightened. I still see the look on her face...she now needs our prayers. Yes we do know how it feels to loose love ones and something we have no control over.....:-) Hugs

Bernie said...

Terri, thank you. I pray I said and did the right things. God knows my heart and knew I only wanted to help as best I could. I am not sure why she called me nor do I know who called his son, if anyone did or he just came to hospital on his own....I will be there if she needs me.....:-)Hugs

Bernie said...

Eileen, I know there is truth in your words, his wife was so frightened....I didn't do anything special, I only did what anyone would of done. We help each other. Thank you Eileen......:-) Hugs

Bernie said...

Annette, it was, is sad. My heart is with his wife and family. Unfortunately it will get even harder before is gets better....we still need many prayers for them. Thank you Annette your words means so much to me......:-) Hugs

Bernie said...

Jackie, I did receieve 3 comments from you but had already published this when I read the others. Your comment was a blessing to read a second time as well. Thank you my new friend, for caring about what still was and is a surreal day. Let's keep the prayer line going for this family.....:-) hugs

Bernie said...

Oh Rebecca, your words ring so true, as there were a few times yesterday I was so thankful for the restful day I had on Friday. Today was another day, I slept off and on....yes I did hear him say he would jump again on his 90th, I think he's wonderful....:-) Hugs

Brenda said...

Dear Bernie,

I am still catching up and just read this post. I am certain this was a difficult day but also a great privilege. How wonderful that you could be there to support FavoritePatient's wife!

It reminds me of 2 Corinthians 1: 3 & 4. This is from The Message: 3-5All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

What a blessings to be God's specially chosen comfort person.