Family Notes

Gosh, what a week it’s been and it’s only Tuesday.

From my last post you have probably figured out that I am having family medical issues.  At this point things are getting bad, much worse than I would have expected when I wrote the last post.

At this point my father is in the hospital and so is my maternal grandfather.  This is leaving my brothers and I feeling pulled in two different directions.  We care for both of these people, and both sides are making incredible demands for our attention.  I understand they both want and likely need us to provide the compassion and sympathy needed with what has been going on, but it is impossible to be physically present in both locations at one time given they are 2000 miles apart.

My father still wants me to come back to Illinois and take care of him and he doesn’t understand why I’m not packing up the car and getting there as quickly as possible.  I do have three very good reasons.

First, I’m in the middle of a job hunt and after spending all that time and money obtaining my nursing license, I need to work in a paying job that uses my skills.  Of the three excuses I have, this is the least important and could be worked with.  His affliction is 4 different types of cancer and heart disease.  He’s expected to live another 6 to 9 months.

Second, the US District Court for the Eastern District of California has it’s hooks into me for jury duty until April 15th.  I’m sure if I contacted the court and explained the situation that I could either get out of this completely, or at least postpone my final two-weeks of service until at least one of my family hospitalizations has ended.  Especially since I did show up when they called me to the court last week.

Third, after writing the last post, my grandfather was taken to his local hospital in the hills which promptly sent him 50-miles down the hill to the hospital down the street from where I currently live because his condition was so critical.  So critical in fact that he was brought down and immediately placed in the intensive care unit under the care of a neurosurgeon since it appears he’s had a small cerebral hemorrhage.

At this point I have a family conflict with both my fathers, if you want to look at them that way.  One is my biological father and the other is the man who stepped in and raised me when the first one left.  I’m not bitter about the first and he has made amends with me since, and I’ve been able to forgive him.

Since my grandfather is nearly 94 years old, has severe dementia, aortic stenosis, and now this brain bleeding, we have decided as a family that his cure is more harmful than the disease and have decided not to prolong his life.  We figure he’ll probably expire by this weekend since he cannot eat and is basically in a coma.  The irregular breathing had already started when I left this evening.  We have started the process to place him in hospice and are trying to at least get him back to his hometown before he passes away.  Unfortunately all the care facilities there are impacted and do not seem to have space available.

This pending death will hit me harder than my father will when his time comes.

Since we are expecting my grandfather to go first, I am postponing travel to visit my father in Illinois.  I think a reasonable plan given that my father will likely continue to deal with his medical condition for sometime to come, or at least long enough that I can spend time with my grandfather and what is coming with that and still make it back there in time.

I just hope my father and stepmother will be o.k. with this.  They desperately want at least one of the three of us to come back there and visit soon.

I imagine what I’m dealing with is a bit like being a family member of a pair of people involved in a car accident, only the people involved are in two different hospitals 2000 miles apart.

I really hope none of you get put through this… it is very emotionally draining and I’m feeling a bit selfish for even typing this out.

I’m sure I’m going to be fine on the other side of this.  I simply needed to write something out because it is a very difficult situation.  I’m normally a very stoic person, but I’m having trouble maintaining my composure right now.  I’ve already broken down once, in private.

I wish I knew how I’m going to handle what’s coming in the next week when it finally happens.  I suspect it’s not going to be good, but I will get past it.

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4 Responses to “Family Notes”

  1. Sir CQ — you have all my empathy and understanding.

    This seems to be the season for issues — and even earlier today I found myself struggling for words to tell a friend that I care — and, again, only a couple hours later, I am again without words.

    Distance is difficult — and when you want to be two places at once it has to be awful.

    Please know that you’re in my thoughts — and I hope that you are able to cope with everything.

    I wish I could be there – but, again, distance intervenes.

  2. I’m so sorry CQ. I cannot imagine the strain that puts on your heart right now. Sometimes, you have to do what is best for YOU. Since you can’t please everyone you might as well do what is right for you. I’m sending lots of love your way. Hang in there.

  3. My heart goes out to you during this very challenging time. It is important for you to write about it, not only for yourself but for those who care about you. We humans are meant to share our difficulties, not keep them bottled up.

    When you look in the mirror every morning, you can assure yourself that you’re doing the best you can under the circumstances. Please take it easy on yourself so you can offer optimum support to your family who needs it.

  4. It is a difficult situation but I think I’ve made the best decision possible regarding where I’m focusing effort presently. That is, on the person who is most severe and expected to pass away first.

    I think it is really making the most appropriate choice given there are two bad options to make a decision from.

    I’m going to call my step-mother today and let her know what’s going on and that we’re going to do our best to give my dad the same attention after my grandfather has passed.

    I appreciate the kind words and support all of you have given me in your comments. Thank you.

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