This was measurable?
For what purpose?
Seems we are supposed to know.
The ad says we “realize the value of this information.”
The Doctor can carry the test to the bedside.
That looks like a Nurse carrying it to me!
You weren’t supposed to be alive.
You didn’t want to be. You told your family.
You filled out all the papers.
The nursing home couldn’t find them.
The paramedics had no choice, they were obligated to resuscitate you.
Knowing it wasn’t what you wanted.
Not having the papers to prove it.
If you had fudged your age a bit, you could have served in World War I.
I wonder if you served in World War II.
I know you married and had three sons.
I know this because the doctor talked to all three of them.
They weren’t happy you had been resuscitated.
I bet you weren’t either.
You could not express any frustration. You were intubated.
Your ribs were fractured from the CPR and you were showing signs of decerebrate posturing.
Your eyes opened and closed.
You did not follow commands.
Oh, and the papers stating your wishes? The ones the nursing home could not find?
They were found in the stack of papers the nursing home sent with you to the ER.
God bless the emergency room doctor that night.
He spoke to all three of your sons.
They all agreed the endotracheal tube should be pulled and that you should be made as comfortable as possible.
That was very good of them to give us permission to do that.
It would have been even nicer if any of them had shown up to be with you.
If I remember correctly, none of them lived all that far away.
We did it.
You were extubated.
You looked immediately more comfortable.
It was expected that you would not last long once the tube was pulled.
I didn’t want you to die alone.
In an emergency department.
I am a registered nurse.
A health care professional.
I’m not supposed to be judgmental.
I’m not supposed to become emotionally involved.
But dear God, if my dad had lived as long as you did, I would have had him another forty years!
There would be no way in hell that he would be dying alone in any emergency department.
Perhaps when you have your father as long as your sons had you, you tend to take them for granted.
I wouldn’t know about that.
I pushed my thoughts, my anger back into my subconscious.
Where they belonged.
They would do you no good.
They certainly were doing me no good.
You were tough.
You held on. You kept breathing. Your oxygen saturation stayed up with just a bit of oxygen.
I stayed with you as much as possible. So did the doctor.
We talked to you.
Your unseeing eyes would move; your arms would rotate in the classic decerebrate posturing.
Your breathing became labored.
I gave you morphine. You relaxed and so did your pulse.
I wonder if that allieviated some of the pain of your fractured ribs.
I wonder if you could feel them.
Nobody lives as long as you did without being tough.
And nobody your age should have been in the position you found yourself during the wee hours of that morning.
I gave report to the angels by praying you would not continue to suffer.
By the end of the shift, it was obvious your celestial room was not yet ready.
I gave report to different “angels”. The ones residing on the medical/surgical floor.
Time for me to go home.
Seems it wasn’t yet time for you to do the same.
I checked back that night.
And the next.
And the next.
My goodness. I wonder what you were waiting for.
Permission to go?
A chance for your sons and grandchildren to say goodbye?
Did they ever show up?
You should have gone peacefully that night. Your heart had stopped. Your breathing had ceased.
Instead you were physically and chemically wrenched from the arms of God for the lack of a piece of paper. Another celestial tug-of-war.
But….He gave you back.
For three days.
Perhaps you had unfinished business. Perhaps your children had unfinished business.
All I know is that on the fourth day you made the “transfer” to a Higher Level of Care.
I hope your kids appreciate and say a prayer of thanks for the extra three days they had with you.
I would give everything I own for just one more chance to say goodbye to my dad.
Ooops! Better get those thoughts back in their proper place.
I’m a professional, after all.
An island in the sea of health care.
And after all,
“….a rock feels no pain.
And an island never cries.”
With all due respect to Simon and Garfunkel…