23 out of 24
It’s hard to tell the good without the bad. It’s not my desire to tell the story any better than it was or to paint it any worse. It’s simply was what it was and to walk with me through it requires you to see it all. You will be able to draw your own conclusions and answer some of your own questions.
I remember, they came in with stipulations and paperwork. It was the first time I was ever introduced to the name and acronym, DNR. What in the world was that and how did that apply to us? DO NOT RESUSCITATE. It just became really real. You want us to sign papers that if he stops breathing or his heart stops, that we agree that you are not to attempt to save him? The killer thing is discussing this with Angelo woke and alert. Even if he wasn’t, it would still be a tough decision to make. While everything is ok, you want me to sign a form agreeing that if it goes south and we begin to lose him that we have already agreed in advance not to resuscitate? It’s not what comes normal to us. In a crisis, our natural instinct is to do whatever we can to assist our loved one to live. “Do any and everything to keep him here,” is my thoughts. As he moves into the ICU(Intensive Care Unit), the feel is different. It’s the closet room to checking out. People that are in the ICU are at their worse and require the most care and attention. After the medical team explained the pro’s and con’s of attempting to resuscitate a person in his physical condition, we made our decision. None of us want to make any decisions that feel like anything less than our best to assist our loved one in staying alive.
The normal sights and sounds of the ICU, day or night, are lights blinking and machines beeping nonstop. This day in particular, I returned from home and the first thing I noticed as I walked into the room was there was nothing hooked up to him, no IV, no blood pressure cuff, and no monitor for his pulse or oxygen level. All the blinking lights and monitors with moving lines and numbers were all off. Above and beyond all of that absent, there was no every thirty minute visit by a nurse. Anybody that has even visited a loved one know that frequent visits by the attending nurse is normal. All through the day and night they are in and out of your room. For us? Nothing. It was as if we were left alone in a hospital room with the door closed to die. I quickly went out to inquire. The nurse explained that because of his rising and falling blood pressure, the machine would beep too often. I said, “Please turn the monitors back on and let the bells ring.” It was music to my ears. The might of been ineffective in assisting his situation, but it gave us hope.
I remember Daddy called and said, “Sometimes as a man, you are forced to have to make tough decisions.” You may have to make a real decision based on Angelo health one day. He shared with me his own experience with his Mom. I was blown away but glad that he was on the other end of the phone preparing me for what might happen.
Twenty three out of twenty four hours is what Angelo was sleeping. The Doctor said it’s what happens when the body is shutting down. The strange thing about Angelo was when he was sleep, he was sleep, but when he was awake for that one hour, he was alert and alive. You can’t pull the plug on someone who is alive and alert with his memory in tact. He always kept his sense of humor…