Okay, so my best intentions went straight in the commode. Nothing new there, right?
Christmas was a Facetime with one set of grandkids as they opened gifts, and sitting on the porch with a storm door between us for the others. Both of the households were locked down with Covid sufferers. The virus was getting very real, very quickly.
When I posted last, my dad was in the hospital fighting Covid. He had tested positive on 12/11/20, then was admitted a few days later with difficulty breathing. We prayed, hoped, and talked to him on the phone prior to his going into ICU to be put on a ventilator. We could not visit in the hospital even before ICU. We opted not to have a long conversation as he was struggling to breathe and becoming confused. Seems that is a side effect of the virus for some to suffer delirium. He would not leave the oxygen mask on so the next step in the hopes of his beating this damn virus was a ventilator.
ICU…scary sounding place and with Covid, well it didn’t sound promising. Also, you cannot just call whenever you feel like it for an update, they call you twice a day. Between 9-10am and 9-10pm. Assuming things haven’t completely gone sideways in which case you either don’t get the call or it comes long after you are sleeping.
Dad’s ICU staff rocked. His nurse did a Facetime call with us one day and him laying there on a ventilator and unresponsive was heart breaking. But when we talked he attempted to turn his head slightly toward our voices. Tears flowing we told him, we need to know what you want us to do, so either fight like hell or give up so we would know how long to keep pushing him. See, the docs had told us he could not stay on the ventilator without a tracheotomy for more than about 9 days. Things were nearing that point. At first he seemed to be fighting, but then everything went south. His oxygen sats dropped and nothing seemed to help. He was losing his battle and we had to decide if it would be a trach and ventilator (assuming he lived through it) for what was going to be his life now, or remove the ventilator and see if he could pull through. We agonized, talked to our brothers, and in the end made the decision to remove the ventilator.
On Christmas day, at 5:42pm, barely 2 hours after breathing on his own, dad passed away with a nurse holding his hand and no family able to be at his side.
His funeral was a small, private affair. Just his kids and grandkids. We opted not to have his siblings, great-grands or friends in order to protect folks. We had just lost him to the virus and didn’t want to be one of the spreader events.
We have lost residents at work, holding hands when family cannot be there (we do allow them at end of life but many are afraid to come in when we have positive cases in the community), saying goodbyes with tears flowing down our faces. And while it destroys a piece of me each time I will not stop being there for them, because someone was the angel for dad when we could not be with him.
I’ve barely begun to process the grief over losing my dad and the sweet souls I’ve been caring for the past 4 years. Me and many of my coworkers are walking time bombs of grief and anxiety. One minute seemingly fine, the next sobbing in a hallway. The PTSD is going to be something, when things finally calm down and we can actually begin to work through it all. The hospice chaplain has been checking in on us and made himself available if we need to talk in person or on the phone. But right now many of us just are not there yet, in a place where we are ready to talk about any of it.
I’m happy to report that I am now fully vaccinated. I didn’t think I’d take the vaccine back when it was first in trials. But the science IS solid and after watching how hard it hit my son and son-in-law (my daughter didn’t get it as bad), and my dad and residents dying rather miserable deaths from Covid, the pros more than outweighed the cons. I had zero side effects from either dose other than the sore arm which I get when I receive a flu vaccine as well.
The posts will be coming, just hang with me, my loyal readers. I am still brushing off the dust and debris from the emotionally, mentally and physically draining past 6 weeks.