February 2, 2015

The Wait Is Over

Today was a very, very, very, very long day. I cannot type the word "very" enough. That's how today feels.

Actually it started last night. Sometime after 11pm last night my mother called. The fact that my phone rang at all made me jump. Honestly we were already at my mom's house as we had been down for a visit before the blizzard got back and it just wasn't safe to drive home. However, she called because she didn't want to wake the rest of the house up. Apparently Grandpa's vitals dropped at the nursing home. They couldn't get them to come back up but when they dropped the second time they called the ambulance. We had literally just had a blizzard. In fact the blizzard wasn't even fully over when that call came through. They had said that there was no need for anyone to go because a) it wouldn't be safe for anyone to be out there and as it was the ambulance took 37 minutes to even get to the nursing home let alone getting from there to the hospital and b) they were just going to get him as stable as possible and had the possibility of sending him back to the nursing home.

So of course the rest of the night everyone was on alert. Master and I didn't really sleep. In the morning we all went outside and started shoveling the driveway. (Their driveway is huge.) We were taking small breaks. But then another phone call came in. He was still at the hospital. In fact he was put in ICU and they had already called Grandpa's pastor. Guess what that means? Yep. It's close.

All of a sudden everyone's adrenaline kicked in. And it kicked in hard. Before you knew it the driveway was clear enough to get my mom's car out. My brother was at work. We told him what was up and basically we told him that we would call him once he was gone. He is training to be a manager and he was afraid to call in because of it. I don't blame him. It's a really big deal for him.

We also had two young family members in the house so Master was kind enough to offer to stay there and watch them so that my mother, her husband, and I could go. I love my Husband. He wanted to be there for me but He also knew that someone had to hold the fort down and I appreciated that a lot. It's not that I didn't want Him with me. It was just a fact of the situation.

We met my uncle at the hospital. We got there a little before 11am. My father wasn't there and he wasn't coming. He had made it crystal clear that the next time he saw his father would be when he was in a coffin. He hasn't seen Grandpa since last Memorial Day.

I will say that I am extremely glad that I went to visit Grandpa when I did last week. He recognized me for a little bit during that visit. Today, he barely knew anyone was there.

When we arrived they had already turned off his auto-defibrillator. But they also had him on oxygen. That is against his DNR. So my uncle asked me why he had it on. They basically said they had put it on him shortly after the call from this morning was made in the hopes of keeping him alive at least until we got there. My uncle allowed it to stay on for a little while longer because we were waiting on Grandpa's pastor. At the time we didn't know he had already shown up. Once we knew that my uncle told them to remove the oxygen. They did and they put Grandpa on a morphine drip. A morphine drip that they had to turn up five separate times just so that he wasn't moaning in pain.

We all sat there waiting for him to pass. We figured that with the auto-defibrillator off it wouldn't be long at all. We were wrong. He just laid there with his mouth wide open and his eyes open but only responded at all when a nurse had to move him. He wouldn't really move his eyes around. He didn't talk. In fact I don't think he could talk. All he could do was moan when he was in pain when the morphine wasn't enough and they would have to come in and up it again.

I sent my brother a few texts while we were there to let him know what was going on. He ended up taking off of work one hour early and met us at the hospital. Right before he arrived the nurse came in and asked if we had considered turning off the pace maker. Honestly none of us even knew that was an option. She only brought it up because they honestly thought he would have been gone by now and he was just in more and more pain as the day went on. My uncle asked to speak with the doctor that admitted Grandpa last night. So we waited around and eventually my uncle and the doctor were able to speak. After that conversation my uncle decided it would be best to turn the pacemaker off and allow nature to take it's course.

As a result they brought in a magnet and put it on his chest. That is normally how you turn off a pacemaker. But it didn't work. Why? Because the pacemaker wasn't just a pacemaker. It was a combination of the pacemaker and the auto-defibrillator. While you can turn off each separately it is still one piece.

Then we got to wait around some more. They had to send some kind of technician. That seemed to take forever and a day. When they finally got there they put a sensor over his chest and ran a test. Once that test was done they had to wait for a nurse to come in and sign off for them to turn it off.

Again, that seemed to take forever. The nurse came in and signed off on it. After that we all basically surrounded his bed. I stood next to him and held his hand. I didn't let go once. He flat lined and we thought it was over. But it wasn't. He came back. We were all shocked. Everything was turned off. How is that even possible?! It happened again. We spoke to a nurse and she said that it was completely normal for that to happen after a pacemaker is turned off. Whether that is true or not I have no idea. But that is what happened.

Each time it happened we hoped it was the last. We all continued to tell him that it was okay if he went. We told him that we would all be okay and that Grandma was waiting for him. It wasn't until the third time that it was. I had been holding his hand when he took his last breath. Afterward I let go and I kissed my fingers and then placed those fingers on his forehead. I told him that I loved him and that I was glad he was with Grandma now. He passed away around 7:30pm.

I have never seen someone die before.

Thankfully for him it was peaceful in a way. It was only peaceful in the fact that he took one last breath and then he didn't breathe again. There was no rattle. There was no twitching or anything.

He passed away literally one week before the twenty-first anniversary of Grandma's passing. He has missed her every day since that day. February 9th of 1994. He continuously talked about going to see her every day for the past few years. He passed on February 2nd of 2015.

After everything was done and my uncle said it was okay for us to leave because he was just going to wait for the coroner and then go home. My brother and I rode together and my mother and her husband rode in their car. Before we left I called Master to let Him know that it was over.

I have cried. But I did all of it at the hospital. Since that time I feel... scattered. I would say numb but that's not correct. Just.. scattered. I can't seem to concentrate much. I've been able to make this post because I focus on each key I have to hit in order to type out the words. I have also paused several times to take a small break before going back to it.

Now we just wait to see when the wake will be. I don't even want to begin to think how things will go after that.

I am sore all over. I am literally limping when I walk and I am having a hard time getting up from a sitting position. There was the snow shoveling this morning as well as walking the hospital more times than I care to count. Oh and then there are those chairs they give you to sit in. Those sucked. I know I'm going to be in a lot of pain tomorrow. Hell, I already am.


  1. My condolences, Kitten, I am glad he is finally at peace with his beloved wife in Heaven!

  2. i am so sorry to hear about your Grandpa. i wish you, your Master and whole family, peace.