Friday, April 6, 2012


Today at work, we said goodbye to three team members.
I was the designated crier for this event.
It's a gift.
I like these people. I loved working with them. I suck at good byes.

Know what?
Today's farewell party at work was an awful lot like Sunday's Cake Night at Max's NA meeting. (Except without the goodbye part.) (Or the Jesus part.)
At work, we do this thing where we sit around and bless (say) affirming (nice) words to each other.
At a person's Cake? A roomful of friends take turns saying encouraging, positive, truthful, heartfelt words to the guy in the hot seat.

Both are mini, awesome, love fests. And I'm blessed to have been apart of both of them.
What a diverse life I lead sometimes.

I was so ready for a nap when my work day was done.
Alas. A nap was not meant to be, as after work, I went to the hospital.
Mr. Lai (dad's roommate) is dying.

When dad was brought to room 9 on Feb 20, Mr. Lai was in the bed beside him. He'd been there since Feb 14. He was a high maintenance patient... requiring much attention from the nurses. He spoke only Vietnamese and appeared to have dementia or Alzheimers and kept falling/getting out of bed in those early days, weeks ago. His quest to get out of bed was endless, and for weeks and weeks, the nurses would repeat themselves, telling him he needed to stay put. For awhile they would strap him into a wheelchair and have him sit in the hallway next to the nurses station so they could keep an eye on him. He wasn't necessarily any more content there.

Regardless of where he was, he made alot of noise about being thirsty and/or hungry. And he needed to be cleaned up often. His digestive tract seemed to be working overtime some days...

Last week, while in his wheelchair, I noticed him scoot himself across the hall to the sink in an effort to get water. I saw him sift through laundry baskets looking for food. I watched the nurse feed him a tray full of food in record time.

These past two evenings? He's been in bed, groaning and moaning. Like I mentioned yesterday, he sounds like a bull. In heat. Two feet away from my dad. (Who doesn't fully understand and is concerned.) (Or at least he looks concerned. Who can know for sure? But he keeps looking at the curtain that separates their beds and stares.)

Today? Mr. Lai is dying.
His family is around him, they've got Vietnamese music playing, the nurses keep him drugged, and his passing is very imminent.

It was so very real. Their pain is *this close. It's *right there. In the same room as me.

Mr. Lai is probably going to die tonight. In the bed right beside my dad.

Even though no one asked, I am the designated crier for this event too.


It's Friday (Good Friday) and I'm feeling all the heaviness that comes with that.
But Sunday's a coming.

He lives.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. There was leftover cake from today's goodbye luncheon. Nothing addresses the blues like chocolate cake with cream cheese icing.
2. Debriefing phone calls with Jule. At the end of the day, we compare hospital visit notes. So thankful to be sharing this journey with my sister.
3. Laughter and hope in my family room tonight while I escaped reality and watched Stupid, Crazy Love with Drew.


Update re: Dad ...
With so much activity going on in his room, he was wide awake and very alert during my entire visit. He didn't seem to relax at all. He let me try to give him water, but we are not a good team. Every time I poured some into his mouth, he choked. So I gave him pureed peaches instead. I am letting it be known right here, right now, that from now on? When I help him with a beverage - we are using a straw. I don't much care what that speech pathologist recommends.

Apparently he was up all night long as well. When Jule got there in the morning, he was very agitated - he'd pulled out his IV (again), had taken off his gown, and was in the process of removing the catheter. I am so very thankful that when I walked into his room at 4 pm he was dressed and under the bedcovers. I am such a wimp. We can all agree that my next job will not be in the medical field.

I think at times he gets bored, seeing only me at the end of the day. I told him today that Canada has decided to stop making pennies. That seemed to interest him for about 5 seconds.

Oh dad.

No comments: