Two years ago today, at this time, I was in the ICU, with a child sized breathing tube, a feeding tube, and one other tube down my throat. I had a tube in my neck, and multiple tubes an wires in multiple other places in my body.
My father was driving home from work in another country (he travelled for work), and my mother, and other family burst into tears when they saw me, sedated, unresponsive and swollen in my ICU room.
I had entered my 8 day nightmare of sedation, and thought that an old school bully was now and adult and was trying to kill me with a man I called Frank. You can read about it in this blog, under the “chapters” category.
Right now, my parents are discussing what they are wearing to the family Christmas party that’s happening later today. Family is driving in from a city hours away. My sister-in-law is making last minute preparations for everybody descending on their newly constructed, and still being constructed house.
I thought today would be a hard day. Last year on this day, it was hard. I warned my family that if I feel like I’m going to explode or burst into tears I’m going to get into the car and leave without warning. My sister in law offered her and my brother’s bedroom as a safe place to go and deal with my feelings.
Everybody is gathering. Some of the relatives I’ll see, I haven’t seen for two years or more.
Two years ago today, my life was on the line, and two years ago on Christmas Day, I crashed in the ICU. I was almost not here right now on this day.
My family would have met, and celebrated without me. My nephew would have known death way too young and my parents would have known what it was like to lose a child.
What would their lives be like without me? Would they be gathering? Would christmas just be a painful moment they didn’t feel like celebrating, like it is for me?
These last few weeks have been so terribly hard. I’ve been told my kidney function has lowered even more, and I have kidney stones. I have research to do, but I haven’t done it yet.
I asked my family doctor to print off my blood tests results, and I want to research what they mean myself, and how to keep my kidney function from lowering.
My father said I could have his kidney’s when he dies, which unfortunately might be within the year, because he has heart and lung failure right now.
I suggested we could do a trade, a kidney for a lung, but I can’t give him my heart without dying.
I wonder why they haven’t offered him a heart and lung transplant. They just said he’s dying. No offer of any treatment. I asked about a palliative care doctor or nurse, and was told “that’s a good idea phone his family doctor”, but the family doctor hasn’t gotten back to us.
This might be his last christmas.
Family and friends have been making a pilgrimage to visit him one last time.
I am dealing with my own private torment. I feel like I am falling apart. Yesterday I asked my family doctor to refer me to a psychiatrist and a counsellor. I feel like I should be the strong one, who takes care of Dad, and acts like the superhero daughter like I did when Mom was sick, but I am falling apart. Emotionally I get angry, I cry, and I get despondent, all in the same day. Sometimes all in the same hour.
Maybe if it wasn’t all happening at once? If I didn’t have to smile, and visit with cousins, aunts and uncles, make small talk and talk about the past, think about my father’s death, deal with my own ICU anniversary, and deal with my own failing health all at once? Maybe just one at a time?
Honestly it’s been 8 years of emotional turmoil without a break. In the last 8 years, my father had a heart attack, we escaped our own house fire, with nothing by our pajamas, my grandmother died, her house was sold (which was in the family from the time my mother was born), our dog died, mom got Normal pressure hydrocephalus, I was in a car accident, I got sick, I was told my kidneys function was falling quickly, my father got sick, and we were told my father is dying. It’s been one thing after another, without a break to emotionally get over one thing before the next thing starts.
And through all that, my nephew has grown from a child to an teen, I’ve written a few books that I don’t have the courage to send to publishers, and time passed very rapidly.
And that is where we are. I’d like to end this blog post on a high note, but I can’t. There doesn’t seem to be a high note.
I will say, to those doctors, nurses and ICU staff, who work during christmas. Thank you for giving up time with family, to save the life’s of strangers.
Please remember that for you, it’s a missed family christmas. To your patients and their family, it’s one of the worst times of their lives. If they are a bit grumpy, it’s not because they hate you.
And please don’t lean over a patient with a candy cane in your mouth because your patient will smell it, and wish they had a candy cane too. I vividly remember being upset that somebody wasn’t sharing the candy cane I could smell.
Really I don’t know why I’m posting this, but maybe it will be of some use to you.
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Thank you for reading this.