(This is all over the place, and maybe a little hard to follow. It was written at 2 AM, and it's hard to cram two weeks of events (four years ago) into one blog posting. Not to mention that I was emotional while typing...)
Okay, so if you've ever read any of my other blogs, you know that around July I start to talk about my dad a lot. He passed away in July of 2005. Yes, we're working on our 4th anniversary.
Wow! I didn't even realize that it's been that long. I actually had to count out on my fingers to make sure that it was right. I mean, I know that 9 minus five is four, but it just didn't seem right. Wow!
So, four years, and I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I've never dealt with my dad's passing. (For those of you who don't know, it happened rather suddenly. Well, if you want to call two weeks suddenly... suddenly enough.) I'm not sure when, if ever, I'll be able to deal with it. It's just something that's so big, so painful and so consuming I just don't know where to even start to deal with it. Sometimes, little bits and pieces will start to float to the surface of my brain, and then I'll have this HUGE, MESSY melt down, and it's pushed back to the furthest corners again. I'm just not ready -obviously.
In the two weeks before my dad passed, he was in the hospital. He had a "brain bleed." He had a ventilator, feeding tube, and a shunt in his (fore) head to relieve pressure that was building. I still hate the doctors. When they put the shunt in his head, they said that he was in a coma, and didn't know what was happening. I asked if they were going to give him some kind of anesthesia, and they said due to the coma, he didn't need it. I didn't believe that he was in a coma, as he would try to respond when I talked to him. He just wouldn't do stupid human tricks for the doctors. He never was one for stupid human tricks. ;-)
Anyway, they drilled a hole in his forehead, and put what looked like the tube part of a needle in it. And don't you know, that while they were drilling into his head, while he had NO SEDATION because he was in his "coma" his heart went all wonky. Heart attack? Yeah, probably. Of course, they wouldn't say that to us. Especially not after I was pushing for at least a local anesthesia for the process. I HATED his doctors.
Then, come to find out that the shunt could only stay in place for a few days (it was an external one) due to the risk of infection. What?! Most things were a blur in those few days, but I didn't and still don't remember them saying that. Turns out that they wound up taking that one out, and putting another on in his head on the other side. More shaving of the hair, more drilling, more bandages and tubes....
The day before he passed away, I prayed and prayed and prayed with a so strong faith that I didn't even know that I had. I prayed, and I actually felt a little better.
That night as we were going back home from the hospital, I saw a rainbow that was the most beautiful, vibrant rainbow that I've ever seen. It looked as if I could reach out the car window and actually touch it. It was like it was an actual tangible object, and not just light that's been split.
This rainbow felt to me as if it were the answer to my prayers. I was comforted by it. I still, however, talked to my BFF and asked her what a rainbow signifies in the Bible. She told me that it stands for God's promise. I knew this was an answer to my prayers, and I knew when I went back to the hospital the next day, even though when we left the night before he was starting to run a high fever, everything would be okay. I knew it in my brain, and I knew it in my heart.
The next day came, but we were greeted with bad news: The infection was getting worse, and they couldn't get it under control. After some time, the decision was made to take him off of all life sustaining machines. He had a living will that said that he didn't want to be on them anyway. We were already violating it by having him hooked up to so many things, but ya know, when it comes down to it, that's just such a hard decision to make -living will or not.
I will never forget his nurse that day. It was a man, and he had the most wonderful bedside manner of anyone I've ever met. I think that if you working in a ward such as ICU (or children's) then you had better have the BEST bedside manner ever. If not, you need not apply.
This nurse was so sweet. He was so understanding. He had so much compassion. He even let us bring Cool Dude (who was 20 months old) in to see him after all of the tubes and most of the wires were gone. I wish that I could thank him for those few hours he spent with us. I believe that he was an angel to help us along the beginning of our hard journey that day.
I wasn't in the room when my dad passed. I have a hard time forgiving myself for that. He wasn't alone. My fairy step mom was with him. She tells me that people usually wait for certain people to leave the room before they pass. It doesn't help relieve my guilt though. Nor does it help relieve any of the guilt that I feel because I feel that I'm the one who caused him to get sick.
You see, whenever anyone would come or go in the ICU, they would have to scrub up with antibacterial soap. There are germs everywhere, but staph, which is the infection that killed my dad, is apparently one of the most common. And it's quite common on your hands and under your nails.
My dad could only have the shunt in his head for so long due to risk of infection. When he still had it in, I would dab his sweaty brow with a tissue. I figured he had to be in enough pain and discomfort already, he surely wouldn't want sweat running down his face, or back on his head into is wound from his shunt. I'm afraid that I transferred staph from my hands to his head. I'm afraid that in trying too keep him comfortable I made him sick. In trying to keep him comfortable..... I killed him......
(See why I have a hard time dealing with it???)
I was so angry for such a long time. Yeah, I know that's a common reaction. I was angry though because God sent me a sign that everything was going to be okay. He sent me a rainbow. He sent me the SIGN of His promise.... And then he reniged on his deal.
It's taken me a loong time to be able to look at rainbows again. It just hurt too much. I HATED rainbows.
Then one day a friend put it to me like this, maybe it was God's promise that my dad would be taken care of AFTER he died. After all, The Lord knows everything. He knows what we do not know, and what we do not understand. He knew that my dad was going to pass, and this was his sign to me that he would be taken care of eternally.
After some time, this helped me. I still couldn't look at rainbows though. They still hurt too much.
Then I had another friend put a different spin on rainbows for me, and I wish that I could remember just exactly what she said. It was something along the lines of how a rainbow is not actually there. It's the raindrops acting as a prism, and splitting up the white light. Well, what if while that white light is being split up, it's opening a window to heaven, and allowing my dad to look down on us, and check in on us.
She said it much better, and it made much more sense. It was much more beautiful when she said it.
It's one of the few things said to me after he's died that have actually made me feel better. (With the first rainbow explanation being another that made me feel better.)
Rainbows still hurt to look at, and I still cry when I see them. Now though, I'm crying because I feel that for those few moments, I have visual proof that my dad is looking down on me. And I cry because I know that all too soon, the rainbows, like my dad, will be gone.