A View From the Ceiling

Still in Florida. My Uncle is still in a coma. Yesterday, the Doctor in the ICU described his condition as a “catastrophe”. He said Uncle might remain in a “vegetative state” and that he had bleeding on both sides of his brain. He said we had to be prepared, and that they were doing more CAT scans to confirm their assumptions. If we took him off of the ventilator he would not breathe on his own. If we waited, and the tests confirmed there was no brain function, we could keep him alive, attached to machines and feeding tubes for the rest of his existence. “Or“…..I dare not go in to the or as it is a decision I hope no one in the world ever has to make. At least the “Or ” would provide an end to his suffering. That long elusive word, “dignity” hung around his neck like  an invisible rosary. There were more than a few moments when I felt as if I had left my body and was floating above the conversation, hearing everything through a muffled blankets.

I spent half the day floating around the ceiling. I stroked his hair and caressed his arm while I told him stories of my baby niece and my new husband. My dad was grieving in a silent, tormented way. He was telling his brother to wake up or he would sell his new television.

We met with his social worker to understand (and help translate) all that we heard. I was supposed to be in charge of the meeting so my dad could breathe and absorb it all, but I couldn’t hold back my emotions. My Uncle’s case worker told us that if he did not improve, we should decide if my Uncle would wish to stay on life support or pass on. She said no one would rush us to make that decision. Then she told us about a thing called Hospice.

It was difficult to sleep last night. Dad and I tried to take joy in simple things- We spotted a pair of iguanas in an empty lot by the beach. We ate an abundance of Jewish pastries. It brought the term “carbo loading” to a whole new level.

We went back to the hotel to extend our lodging and push out our flights. I spent a few hours trying to get my husband a ticket to join us. I have been married a year and it is still hard for me to accept support from those that love me. The Bear will be a welcome addition to our coterie in the coma ward. He is steady and loving, and he’s studying medicine (a plus in this case). He has a certain distance to the situation, and his unwavering care and concern will help steady me through this.

On the computer in the hotel room, struggling for a signal. Then it’s “ooooooooh, ooooh, eeeeeeeewwwwwwoooohhh” through the walls as a couple started to bump de bump for what seemed like HOURS. Mind you, I am sharing a hotel room with MY FATHER and this woman is SCRRRRREEEEAMING at the top of her lungs.

Talk about awkward.

I wanted to bang on the wall and say “Get a ROOM!” But isn’t that what they did???? Could I blame them?

Impossible to sleep. Worry kept me awake. And then the 2am redoubt of the opera of moaning next door. It sounded like they were killing chickens in there! Dad snoring, lady coming and all I could think of was GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!!!!

But the sun comes out in sunny florida and today was a different story. Yes, they were still at it at 6am, but we left quickly for more carbo loading and a trip to the ICU. Uncle’s new CAT scan revealed that his brain was doing better than expected, but he was experiencing seizures every time they tried to pull him out of his coma. The Doctor said there was a glimmer of hope. I asked her what she recommended and she said, let’s give him time. “Time is all we have right now,” I replied.

Let’s give him some time.

This is one of the most important times of my life. This is something that changes you and once you pass that doorway and experience something like this, you cannot go back.

It just makes me realize how precious family is. I hope my Uncle knows how much I love him.

That’s enough for tonight….

Sweet dreams and love to you, dear reader. Thank you for listening.



5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by lifebytheday on November 4, 2009 at 9:50 am

    I’m so sorry your family has to go through this. Wishing you strength and peace no matter what happens.


  2. Posted by steph on November 4, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Sending hugs to you and your Dad!


  3. Still thinking of you. Glad your husband is coming to support you as well. Take care, this was a reall sweet post and I’m sure your Uncle would be so proud of you.


  4. Posted by gracieinbrooklyn on November 8, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    This is a *really* difficult time. I’m glad your husband is coming down to support you. Hang in there.


  5. Posted by romancingthestone on November 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Ladies, I can’t thank you enough for your prayers, and support……It has really helped.


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