It’s 11:30 pm here, and Hubby just left to go back to the hospital to spend the night in his dad’s room.  We’d already spent seven hours there this afternoon and evening and got back an hour ago.

By the time we arrived, at 3:00 this afternoon, we’d already had a full day, going to a museum and taking a road trip to drive through potential neighborhoods where we could live if Hubby does end up getting a job here.  Hubby’s brother had been at the hospital all that time, including when they took his dad in for another procedure to put a tube through his back to drain his kidneys.  He was mid-procedure when Hubby and I arrived, and we could hear him making a commotion and the hospital staff yelling at him to be still.  We only found out later that this was because of a bad reaction to the sedative they had given him.

Coming out of that sedative was no easier.  He fidgeted, squirmed, talked to himself, reached out to grab onto whatever he could find–including the tubes that were connected to various parts of his own body.  When Hubby’s brother had to leave, his dad wasn’t fully settled, but we stayed, and Hubby saw him through it.  He was eventually calm enough to sit up, eat, and have a conversation.

But he was in and out.  One minute coherent, the next making no sense at all.

At one point–and this is what really scares me–he said to me, in English, “I am not afraid.  Whatever happens happens.  [Hubby]?  I don’t know.”

I’m not sure whether this was actually a lucid moment, but the fact that he spoke to me in English makes me think it was.  And I think he was referring to the question Hubby had asked him more than a week ago, before I arrived here:  Are you afraid to die?

I know, based on conversation we’ve had on this very subject, that Hubby is not one to easily let go of someone he loves.  When I’ve told him to pull the plug if there’s nothing left of me worth saving, he’s admitted he would have a really hard time with that.  Maybe his dad knows this, knows that when it is time for him to go, Hubby will want him to hold on, no matter how ready his dad is.

Or maybe I’m just reading into the ramblings of a man who is confused, on pain medications, losing blood, and likely not getting enough oxygen to his brain.  The reason Hubby’s going back now is because he became very agitated after we left, trying to get out of bed, and making phone calls to Hubby’s brother claiming Hubby took him to the mall and left him there.

He’s been having memory issues for a while.  “Episodes” that started way back when Hubby and I got married, and have continued, undiagnosed–despite multiple tests, for years.  He loses consciousness, falls, can’t remember chunks of time.  And worse, even without these episodes, his memory is failing in other ways.  A couple of months ago, he asked my husband if he had ever met his brother’s wife.  I know he doesn’t see them often, but they’ve all been in the same room more times than I can count.

Hubby is very worried about his dad.  I’m worried about his dad and him.  And I’m absolutely no help.  I go to the hospital with Hubby, but I can’t understand what the nurses or doctors are saying, I can’t help in any meaningful way, other than clasping my father-in-law’s watch for him (which he hates because he doesn’t want to admit he needs help with it) or reminding Hubby to remind his dad that he needs to keep his arm straight while he’s receiving a blood transfusion.

Hubby keeps saying that he hopes his dad returns to normal, or at least his recent normal, once he gets home from the hospital.  But given what I saw happen with my grandmother, I don’t have high hopes that that will happen.  And then I feel terrible for thinking that.  Maybe he will get better.  Maybe it really is just low oxygen levels that are making him so confused.

But the part of me that has lived through this before hopes that, if there is any justice in the world, my father-in-law will slip away peacefully, most of his memories intact, and his children’s and grandchildren’s memories of him untainted by the gradual decline of the man they once knew.

And just writing those words sends tears spilling down my cheeks.


13 thoughts on “Useless

  1. This is so hard, Daryl. I’m so sorry all of you are having to go through this and I just wish your FIL a full recovery and you and your hubby the peace and strength you need in all the days ahead. xo

  2. I*m so sorry, Daryl. It’s not easy standing by and watching someone in the hospital and in pain, especially when there is nothing you can really do. My thoughts are with you.

  3. This situation is so tough. I walked an ex-boyfriend through something similar with his dad and it is just heartbreaking. Whatever happens, I hope things resolve themselves quickly. It’s so hard to have this kind of stuff drawn out. Thinking about you guys.

  4. I’m so sorry that you and your husband are dealing with this. You, hubby and his father are in my thoughts. I hate to see anyone suffer. My grandfathers health has been slowly declining for years and its been so difficult to watch him waste away to nothing. I’ve lost count how many times I wished for this to take him before he suffers, that if he has to go, let it take him peacefully in his sleep. I feel terrible to have those feelings and thoughts but its so much more humane than watching them slowly die and it takes parts of them a bit at a time and they are suffering. I hope for peace for him and all of your husbands family. Love and hugs to you and the family during this time.

  5. So sorry your family is having to go through this. Illnesses and end of life issues can be very stressful. Just try not to forget about taking care of yourself as well amidst everything else going on.

  6. I’m so sorry. Thinking of you and your hubby during this difficult time. I work in intensive care, and I completely understand wanting him to slip away peacefully. It is most definitely infinitely harder to watch someone slowly declining to the point where there’s really nothing left of the person you once knew. It’s so tough… hang in there… sending hugs your way.

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