Please Stop the Ride, I’d Like to Get Off!

My life is a roller coaster ride and right now I want more than anything to have the ride stop, so I can get off.  I am a mother of four and a wife of a diabetic.  This I can handle…most of the time.  I am going to be 45 years old in a few months, so you could say I am definitely a seasoned adult.  A pretty tough and strong adult that has stood her own ground.

BUT, I am also the baby girl of my parents.  My mom has been sent to Heaven to be there to greet me when I arrive.  My dad is still on this earth, but we don’t know for how long.  So currently, this little girl would like the ride of life to stop, so I can get off.  I want to go to my bed, pull my covers over my head and sleep until everything is over.  Because my Daddy is in the hospital and I’m not so sure he’s going to make it out alive.

Bare with me, as I create a timeline of the past few weeks.  I am honestly doing this for my benefit, not yours.  Because time really has went by too fast and I can’t keep up.

  • Saturday, Feb. 21st – I spoke to my Dad on the phone.  His surgery that was scheduled for Monday, Feb. 23rd was postponed to Wednesday, Feb. 25th.  As we spoke that day, I commented that it was a good deal he had to wait, because he did not sound well.  He had a bad cough and was taking an antibiotic for some sort of infection.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 25th – Dad has surgery on some disc in his neck and the surgery went fine.  He had had trouble with his legs and the doctor said there was a pinch nerve in his neck that was causing the problem.
  • Thursday, Feb. 26th – I spoke to my Dad on the phone, but the conversation was short.  I had come down with the flu, but had not been diagnosed yet.  I was coughing so bad, that I was losing my voice.  My Dad’s surgeon had to operate through the front of his neck to get to the spot he needed.  So my Dad’s esophagus was swollen and that made his speech was very heard to understand.
  • Friday, Feb. 27th – I believe my Dad was released from the hospital to go home and heal.  I have to go with that theory, because I was so sick that I don’t remember.
  • Saturday, Feb. 28th – My Dad had trouble breathing, so my step-mom, Naomi, brought him to an Urgent Care during the day where he was given a breathing treatment.
  • Sunday, Mar. 1st at 12:44am – Naomi calls to tell us that Dad had still been struggling to breathe, so she brought him to the Emergency Room.  He was admitted into the hospital and placed on a breathing tube.  Naomi said he was critical, but stable.  The doctors had told her that Dad was breathing with his chest muscles until they got tired, then he started struggling to breathe.  They are thinking he has pneumonia.
  • Monday, Mar. 2nd – The results from the throat culture had not come back yet, but they were treating him with three different antibiotics to knock out the infection.  He had been sedated when they put him on a respirator, but he had woke once.  They tried to lower the respirator and he was breathing without the machine, but they had to sedate him again, because he was getting to irritated.
  • Tuesday, Mar. 3rd – Dad was doing well.  They were treating him for pneumonia and they were sucking out some thick brown mucus from his lungs.  They had the respirator at 20 breaths a minute.  But when they cut it back to 9 breaths a minute, Dad was overriding the machine.  They are hoping to have him off of the respirator by tomorrow.
  • Wednesday, Mar. 4th – They had removed the respirator off of my Dad and they said he had the nasty type of pneumonia.  Things were looking up.  Although he was still in the ICU, they were hoping to get him to a regular room soon.
  • Friday, Mar. 6th – Dad was still in ICU, but still off of the respirator.  The speech pathologist check to see if he could swallow properly and he could not.  That was probably because in the short span of four days, my dad had two respirators down his throat and had his esophagus irritated during the operation.  Not to mention the infections he had fought before and after the surgery.  So at this moment, he was getting fed through an IV.
  •  Saturday, Mar. 7th – I got a call from the daughter of my Dad’s close friend, George.  She wanted me to know that her dad had passed away to cancer that morning.  When I heard the news, I called Naomi and advised her NOT to tell Dad about it yet.  She was already thinking the same thing.  Although dad was getting better, he was still very weak.  He still had a swollen throat, so he couldn’t speak well.  The news about his friend’s death would cause him to cry and build up more mucus, which he didn’t need now.  Plus, he would want to speak to George’s wife and his voice was not good enough yet to have a clear phone conversation.  On the up side, they had placed my dad in a normal room.  But he had a sitter assigned to his room, because he kept trying to get out of bed and was too weak to stand.
  • Sunday, Mar. 8th – My dad was placed back in ICU.  He was having too much trouble breathing.  They had said he had some carbon dioxide built up in his lungs.  So they were putting him on a breathing machine that would help him.  They didn’t want to put him on a ventilator again, if they didn’t have to.  So they had him on some type of CPAP by-pass machine.

It was at this time that I had to throw the ugly question out there. (That’s what my sister called it, “the ugly question”)  LOL  I sent a Facebook message to my siblings:

“I’m throwing this out there, because I don’t know the answer.  At what point do we need to talk about going to see Dad?”

I asked the question that none of us wanted to ask.  At what point do you say, that’s it…I’m going to the hospital?  Because it’s not like he is in the hospital a few blocks away.  We are all in different states.  In fact, my oldest brother and I are the closest to Dad and it will be a 12 hour drive for both of us.  So we had a conference call and decided to wait to see what my brother learned from the doctors on Monday.

Of course, my brother was not able to speak to a doctor on the phone today, but he spoke to Dad’s nurse.  The nurse said he didn’t think my brother needed to get on the next plane immediately, but that Dad was critical.  So my ever-wise brother found out that this nurse started his shift at 7:00am and would be getting off work at 7:00pm.  My brother made arrangements to call this nurse tonight, before he gets off of duty to see how Dad has been in the past 12 hours.  Hopefully, the nurse will be able to tell him if he’s seen any improvement or sudden decline of my Dad’s health.  Then we will make our plans for the next step.

Now do you see why I want this ride to stop?  I do not want to be on this roller coaster ride of unknowns.  I want to be a little kid again, with my mom and dad by my side and not have to worry about illness, death or responsibility.  Yes, I am shutting down.  Because just like a computer, a human’s brain can get overloaded and burn out.  So if anyone has a way to turn back time or can stop the roller coaster ride that I am currently on, I’d appreciate it.  I just need to get a chance to get my feet firmly planted to the ground for a minute and take a few deep breaths.  Because I’m not so sure I’m ready for what is coming up around the next turn.

I know I don’t need to ask, but I will.  Please pray for my Dad and Step-mom.  For me and my siblings and for all of our kids.  And for my Dad’s brother, during this difficult time.  We are all trying to keep it together and we will, but only by the grace of God.

P.S.  Thank you for letting me walk through the past few weeks with you.  It made me see that my Dad has fought and that we do have things to be thankful for.

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