I am going to write something very personal tonight and I hope somebody listens. My father is dying. I hate to write those words and I hate to think they are true but we all have to face facts we don’t like at certain points in our lives and this is the one I have to face now.
My father has been in and out of the hospital at least four times in the last few months. I don’t recall exactly which months because I just can’t. Stressful situations work like that. They just become part of your life like a jacket sitting in the back of your car you forgot to take out. They’re like that. They become part of the scenery of existence.
My father shouldn’t be dying. That is another fact I have to face. At some point in the not too distant past (this year) the doctors found that his heart was only receiving 10% of the blood it was supposed to. They scheduled him for bypass surgery and told us they’d be in touch with a date. Then we waited and waited and waited and I asked when is this surgery. This is a critical situation. Still it did not happen. Hospitals were overwhelmed and if they weren’t they had additional patients that they shouldn’t coming in daily.
It wasn’t until my father had a cardiac episode and the situation was dire that they decided to do the surgery. They rushed him into the operating room and did what they should have done months ago.
After the surgery he complained daily of how hard it was to recover. I told him they cracked him open like a crab and took his heart to a work bench to fiddle with for a few hours. It wasn’t going to be a short recovery. Still he said it was abnormal. I didn’t know what normal was so who was I to argue.
He came home before he should have then went back into the hospital and then came home again. He was alright for a bit. Still hadn’t regained enough motion to be where he was pre-surgery but if he didn’t move much he was alright. Then he started complaining of shortness of breath until it got so bad he asked to go back to the hospital. It is important to understand my father doesn’t ask to be taken to the hospital lightly. This is a man that survived polio, was told he would never walk again, and crawled without use of his legs until he taught his legs to walk again. This is not a man that asks to go to the hospital unless he needs the hospital.
They found the shortness of breath was due to congestive heart failure. If you don’t know what that it it means the heart is expanding in size and flooding the chest cavity with fluids. People that die from congestive heart failure essentially drown in their own juices. We had a dog that succumbed to it.
After draining the fluid from him they decided to put in a pacemaker to keep his heart beat more normal as it was dropping dangerously low. Again this hasn’t seemed to work as he is still complaining of shortness of breath and is now back in the hospital once again. This time he had to wait a couple days for a bed because the hospital is at capacity.
This is the world we live in and I know there are people that will say my father is 81 and has lived a good life, but I would ask them what if that surgery, if performed sooner, when it should have been, could have added five or ten years to his life. I know he isn’t gone yet but I know it is coming. His heart isn’t working and the doctors can’t fix it. They are trying but they haven’t done so yet. Every day I wake up thinking this will be the day I get the news.
My nephew, my father’s grandson, keeps posting anti-vaxxer memes on his Facebook page and I almost told him tonight that if the worst case scenario does occur he better bring an extra casket to the funeral. This is what covid has done to us. The ripple effect is being felt and having dire consequences for those that need medical attention beyond simply those infected with covid. At this point the adults that have covid made their choice when they choose not to get vaccinated and they shouldn’t get treatment at hospitals that are needed to treat those that want to live. Every human being deserves dignity and medical treatment but they can go elsewhere. They can always ask the Youtube doctors to treat them in special tent facilities or something.
I am not ready to be without a father and I am afraid. Every day I am afraid and to think if this damned pandemic wasn’t happening and wasn’t being extended then the chances of that happening would be a lot less.