September 7, 2009

still waiting

Have you ever tried to make someone comfort care in secret? Apparently that's what we're doing here. Dad K's younger brother came to visit this past weekend. While it was fun to meet another one of Jrex's cousins and to see his aunt (who only spoke Korean), that meant that we couldn't make Dad comfort care. Mom didn't want Dad dying in front of his brother.

She also had me pray over Dad the first night, in front of his uncle/aunt/cousin, another niece/cousin, Mom, YJ. I had NO idea what to pray. I prayed for peace. For joy in the midst of our sadness. Stuff like that. Jrex pulled me aside to remind me that no one knows we're making him comfort care. I thought that just meant the uncle's family, but apparently it's everyone! How can we take him off a vent in secret?! We're avoiding telling the pastor because he'd pressure Mom to wait more. This is really frustrating.

It made me realize again how amazing Mom's death was. Our whole community knew. People knew they were coming to say their goodbyes. This is SO bizarre. Plus, every time she was in the hospital, she had a private room.

Dad's in a vent unit, which has open cubicles facing the center nursing area. In the next stall is an angry little woman who's figured out how to limit the oxygen feed so she sets off an alarm over and over and over. The nurses are forced to ignore her as she bangs on the arm of her bed, sets off the alarm, bangs her spoon. Last night a woman went OFF on the nurses. She was obviously very afraid about what was happening to her Mother, but took it out as anger at the nurses. It's really stressful.

Plus, it smells like a hospital.

Today's theory is to submit the paperwork. Then to withdraw care tomorrow.


Elaine said...

That's really hard. We went through a similar thing with my father four years ago, though he died just before we actually did make him comfort care. There wasn't a lot of family around, for good or for bad, so that made it easier. Even now, though, if I bring it up -- even with people who have been through similar things -- there's a lot of discomfort. It's still a very gray area.

Hang in there. Ever since my father's experience, I've been convinced that there can be worse things than physical death.

Inkling said...

Wow. That sounds so hard. It seems like such a Catch-22 for everyone immediately involved. I prayed for you today as I sat in the stillness and rocked a sick sleeping babe, and will continue to pray for you and JRex and his family. It is sad that they are missing out on the blessing it sounds like your own mom and your family had. Please keep us posted. You are not forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Others and I are praying for you. But I had no idea how stressful your situation would be. Especially I'm praying for Jrex' mother.

"Comfort care": -- we Americans have such obscene euphemisms. We say the opposite of reality and think that somehow the kind words will change the facts.

Mama Nabi said...

Not only is the waiting so hard, I think it's hard because Dad K hasn't given "his blessings". I remember when Ms. T (someone who was like a mother to me) was dying under hospice care, I'd visit, her kids would visit, take turns caring for her bedsores, etc., etc... and we all knew that she was ready and we all hoped that the end would come swiftly but that hope did not make us feel guilty as we also knew that it was her hope as well. In the end, she finally said, "I'm ready to go. Let me go." Everyone was at peace. I'm so sorry this is such a drawn out ordeal of sadness. Korean culture is so much about shrouding family matters (immediate) in secrecy... it's frustrating especially when there is no need for the secrecy other than "saving face" or worrying about how they'd be judged. Sigh. BIG hugs... was thinking about you and hoped that this would be over by now...

Snickollet said...

I'm sorry. What a stressful, awful situation. What you're going through embodies so much of what bothers me about death in our culture: the secrecy, the need for control, the hospital setting, the inability to think beyond one's own living needs. (I'm not saying that as a criticism of you, or Mom K, or anyone--just as an observation of what I found hard to deal with when John was dying.)

I'm just really sorry that this is harder than it needs to be, because even under "ideal" (ha) conditions, it's still very difficult.

Thinking of you, as always.

Aimee said...

I didn't comment when you originally posted. I'm just checking in to say you, Jrex and the family are in my thoughts. I pray for peace for you all. (((Hugs)))

punkassjim said...

Another late post to say:

If any of this is still weighing on your mind, I hope maybe a few words can help to lift that weight. I, too, was amazed by the events surrounding my mother's death. Suddenly, when we knew it was time, everything was set in motion and people came from all over to say their goodbyes. Nothing secret, everyone just came and spent time. Of course, she was entirely lucid, so I do realize that yes, this is a different situation from Dad K.

Still, though: for friends and family members who come to a hospital room to share time with a man who's been in a coma for weeks (wasn't it months?), I think everyone involved, to some extent, used that time to say their goodbyes. Even if they weren't sure. For some, perhaps their hope can trump those feelings and lead to denial, but that's something you can't help.

Even in the most mundane of situations, decision by committee is a horrible idea. In an intensely personal family situation such as this, the decision must fall to those whom Dad K held closest in his heart. And you all did the right thing.