I love my father’s family. I really, really do.
Dad’s bypass surgery didn’t go as well as any of us had hoped, and now, a week later, he still is on a respirator, but now he has pneumonia as well. He is being sedated with the Michael Jackson Drug to keep him calm. However, the nurses take him off the MJ drug occasionally, (which they cleverly call a “sedation vacation), and try to wake him up enough to respond to simple commands like squeezing their hands or opening his eyes. There has been no obedience to any of these sorts of commands, and I have been growing more and more depressed, thinking that Dad might not be waking up ever. The attitudes of the doctors haven’t done much to alleviate my misgivings.
Enter: My cousin Liz
Liz is the daughter of my dad’s elder sister, Marlie (not her real name), who unfortunately passed away last October. In this family, the first born child is the one who makes life-or-death decisions when needed for their parents. Lizzie is not Marlie’s firstborn, but since her elder brother was a guest of the State of Texas, the responsibility fell to her. Aunt Marlie was found unconscious, and after a while, it was determined that there was no hope, and Lizzy informed the doctors that she did not want to extend her mother’s life if there was no quality in it, and to make her absolutely as comfortable as possible. Hence, the last day or so of Aunt Marlie’s life were spent in a cloud of morphine, and she slipped the bonds of earth feeling no pain. She was a card carrying We-Get-High side of the family. It was what she would have wanted.
Two hours later, Cousin Patsy of the Medicine-Is-Satanic side of the family be-bopped in to find her cousin had already passed, and instantly accused Lizzy of being a killer because medicines were of the devil, especially morphine. ….Loudly and in front of a lot of doctors and nurses.
All that was missing was the Deliverance music. It was a fun moment for Liz.
Today, I was telling Liz how dad wasn’t responding to the commands when they would perform these brief “sedation vacations”. For over an hour, they had tried to wake him up.
Liz: An hour?
Liz: A whole hour?
Me: Yes. I was here. I saw them try to wake him up.
Liz: You do know that this is the drug the Michael Jackson died on, right?
Me: Yes. Why?
Liz: He’s been on this drug for almost a week. Don’t you think it would take more than an hour for it to get out of his system?
Me: …well, I guess…
Liz: It took my dad 24 hours off of it before he could even open his eyes. A lot longer before he remembered he had hands and could use them to squeeze things with. A whole hour…Jeez….
Me: That makes sense. I hadn’t really thought about it like that. (relieved, yet feeling kind of stupid)
The only thing about the conversation that made me feel a little better was when she called the nurse in and confirmed that it would, indeed, have been a miracle had Dad been able to follow any kind of command doped up like he was, and the nurse looked just as embarrassed as I was.
And, as quick as she landed on the scene to renew all of our hopes, she swept back out of the scene to go rescue her younger half sister who was running from an abusive boyfriend and an eviction notice. All that was missing was Liz’s tights and cape. She was my hero today.
I don’t know if my dad is going to wake up or not, and this has been one really emotional roller coaster week. But despite the gravity of the situation, one thing I can say about my insane family… we can laugh through anything.
Please pray for my dad. Last time we talked about God, he insisted we were seeded here by aliens and the pyramids proved it. (Really!)