As the world goes round, life goes on ... I get that; I really do. And I know that everyone has lost someone that they deeply cared about, and I'm no different. We lost my mom on July 31, 2007. It was pretty devastating even though we "knew" it was coming. You see, she had been diagnosed with cancer in 2004, and the prognosis was never very good; however, my mom's story is honestly not what this is about.
My dad is not one to complain or whine about being sick. He never ran to a doctor unless he truly had to. Now that I think about it, he was never really sick that I can remember. This year, my dad came down with a cold, or at least that is what he called it, and we didn't think that much about it at the time. My dad is 75 and retired, lives in his own house, drives his own car, etc. The first couple of days, he just wasn't himself and said he didn't feel good but continued doing his normal life stuff. By day three, he was sleeping a lot and didn't really eat. On day four, he started complaining that he was sick to his stomach, and on day five, he still wasn't ready to call the doctor. The next morning, however, he said that he had been up most of the night and that he couldn't breathe. He decided that we could take him to the emergency room only because he didn't think that it was safe for others for him to drive himself. He was still acting as if this was just a common cold, and no one really ever questioned him. Now you have to understand that my mom and dad had four daughters and that we have always been a very close family. We all have our own families and most of our kids have their own families, too, but we all live fairly close by and are always there for each other. I believe that this day was a Thursday, but at any rate, we girls all have day jobs that we all needed to go to. Once he had called us all, we decided amongst ourselves that two of us would take him to the emergency room while the other two could go to work, and if need be, we could switch at lunch. After all, it was just a cold.
They got to the emergency room shortly after 8:30 a.m. Of course, the hospital did all their interviewing and reporting, but there was still no news at 9:30 a.m. He was complaining of chest pains by then, and they gave him nitroglycerin, "just as a precautionary measure." They did blood tests, urine tests, and all kinds of other tests. They were always very careful not to say anything about going home or releasing him, and still, it was just a cold. The morning was flying. Two of us sat in the actual emergency room with him while nurses came and went asking questions and doing their nursing duties.
Parts of the day are still a little fuzzy to me, but I think I got there about 11:00 a.m. or so. I was taking over so one sister could go to work. By the questions they were asking, we started to figure out that they were trying to find something more than just the common cold that we all thought this was. One doctor came in shortly after I got there and was telling us that they were going to try to have a cardiologist come down, just to rule out something. That sent chills through the three of us. One sister was replaced with another, and we still sat there. The cardiologist came and went, and then we were told that they were ordering an echocardiogram. They took us for the echocardiogram and brought us back, and we still sat there. Dad slept off and on after the echocardiogram was done while nurses and others came and went. Then the cardiologists came back in. He said, "Within the last 24 hours, you have had a heart attack. It does seem to have been a mild one; however, we are admitting you to ICU."
The other two daughters were called and came back as quickly as possible. As we sat there, the nurses were running around getting everything ready for the admission. The nurse stood at my dad's bedside and asked him the typical questions like whether he wanted anyone to be notified, whether he wanted any clergy to visit him, and what information they could release and to whom. Every once in a while, Dad would throw in something like, "A cup of coffee might be nice" or "It's about time for me to go home, isn't it?"—always with a kidding tone in his voice. This kept on for a little while, and I wasn't really paying much attention until she said, "Not that we expect anything to come up, but do you want any life-prolonging procedures done while you are here?" and his answer without hesitation (but in a soft pitch) was "No." I left the room and turned the corner, bawling my eyes out like I was four years old again and had lost my favorite doll! I tried as hard as I could to pull it all together and get back in there, saying something like I had a phone call I had to answer. Honestly, I think hearing my dad say that he didn't want any type of resuscitation/life-sustaining procedures was just as hard as planning my mom's funeral.
Preplanning your own funeral may not be the best way to do it, but I know that it will save loved ones a little bit of sorrow when it is already a very trying time. I’m not trying to promote anything; I'm just telling you my story.
Specialty Claim Customer Service Representative