Monday, November 18, 2002

Something Sad

I was thinking of my dad today. I wrote this in April about a week before he passed away. It feels more like 1000 years ago now and about 5 seconds ago. Go figure.

DNR -- It means "Do Not Resuscitate". They have it on my dad's hospital chart — in big letters. It was something he requested years ago, long before he was so ill. They ambulanced him fast yesterday out of the nursing home, with a serious infection, high fever and 70/40 blood pressure into the hospital's intensive care unit.

My sisters and I noticed the waiting area on the ICU floor is not very welcoming. People don't stay there for long, we figure. The other waiting rooms we'd been in over the past few months were bigger, more comfortable, decorated for extended stays, adorned with thicker magazines, a box of toys for toddlers in the corner of the room.

His heart went into arrhythmia, they gave him a drug to stablize him, almost needed to try the paddles. His head looked dead, with no blood pressure to bring oxygen up there, he had the pallor of the pages of a brand new coloring book.

We stand by his bedside, but you can't connect with him — he's got an oxygen mask on, other tubes going here and there. DNR means no ventilator to breathe if he might need that. It means let him go.

Outside the ICU in the un-waiting room, I pray and I ask God if it's allright to want him to find a way OUT of here. Surely, it's time. He is wasting away and at 83 is so tired. Is it a bad thing to pray for — someone's death?

I think of all the people who have sat in this chair, in this place and all the prayers spilled all over the waiting area, I'm knee deep in them. A ticker tape parade of prayers — most begging their loved ones will recover. I can pick them up and read them, love letters all — mothers praying for young children to bring them back to life, back to their arms to cradle, lovers praying for their fiances to come back to them, to make it through surgery so they can marry and grow old, siblings praying for younger siblings to make it through a frightening illness. And I pray too. God, take my dad gently, show him the way.