Thursday, April 30, 2009

Monday,April 13th - Thursday,April 16th

Okay, I am going to fast forward through the rest of the week. As you can tell from my previous posts the family tension was horrible, and made everything worse. However things are starting to work themselves out, and I really don't want to talk about it anymore. This will be a long post, but it will be the last about the wreck and the incidents following it.

On Monday morning at 5:45 we were back to see Loyd. I loved those first morning visits. It was usually just me & Charlie, and maybe one of our kids if they woke up that early. We tried to let them sleep till the second visitation because it was always 1 or 2 in the morning before the rest of the family went home and we could all try to go to sleep. So, that morning just a little after 6 the neurosurgeon came in and told us that at sometime over the weekend Loyd had a stroke. His was unable to feel his left side, and had become unresponsive to commands. Meaning that he would no longer squeeze your hand and then let go when told or open his eyes on command. He could still squeeze your hand but he wouldn't let go. The doctor said that was a muscle reflex and not because he wanted to. Again his right side was the only side where he could do that at all. As we talked to the doctor, Charlie started talking to his Daddy. The doctor gave him a few exercises that could make Loyd respond. He taught Charlie how to get him to lift his eyebrows, wiggle his fingers and toes. In the matter of just a few minutes he was responding to Charlie's voice commands, but he still wouldn't respond to the doctors or nurses. His responses were always a little unusual; like from the beginning he would respond better to my daughter Elizabeth than anyone. He would try to lift his entire arm up when he heard her voice. He would lift his eyelids a little when I would sing, and then when our old Pastor came in to talk to him he tried to lift his right hand like he wanted to shake his hand. We could tell by these acts that God was still in control.

Then the lung doctor came in. All of this during that first AM visit. Believe me Monday was a most eventful day. He told us that even with the ventilator he was not getting a full deep breath. They were very concerned about the continued path and what the children should decide to do. The children had all already told him that no other methods of life support could be done. Meaning, no cutting, chest compressions, heart support, or brain support. The lung doctor wanted to insert the tubes via a trach, but he knew the circumstances. He basically told us that morning that if we weren't going to do anything else than we needed to just remove the ventilator completely. We were just prolonging Loyd's suffering. Yes, his pain was getting worse everyday. They were giving him more and more morphine everyday which also slowed his responses to anyone. The doctor asked Charlie to sign a DNR so that the hospital would have the information in writing. Charlie explained that he couldn't and wouldn't do that without talking to his siblings first. Charlie always wanted them to be in agreement before anything was done, but most of the time when the doctors came by we were the only ones there.

At about 8am, the nurses came running out. Loyd's right lung had collapsed and there was a 4cm tear in it as well. They wanted to do a chest tube. Charlie got his 2 oldest siblings on the phone and told them the news. Remember no one wanted Loyd to be cut on. He talked to them about 5 minutes and they couldn't come up with a decision. Finally Charlie said "Well I am the one here, and it can't wait. I am telling them No, and I am signing a DNR otherwise they will do a full code and we don't want that" He told them both that he loved them, and then went in with the nurses to do what he'd said. Basically he was just putting in writing what they'd all verbally agreed to anyway, but this caused a little friction. His brothers & sister finally arrived at the hospital that afternoon. They weren't happy but they understood why Charlie had to do what he'd done. They didn't want the chest tube either, but they just didn't want to put anything in writing.

Monday evening, Tuesday & Wednesday came and went. We only left the hospital for the visitation at the funeral home and then the funeral on Wednesday. Charlie wouldn't stay gone long because he didn't want his Daddy left alone. If the doors were open then he wanted to be there, so we went to visitation between visiting hours. This upset the other siblings a little bit because they thought he should be at the funeral home with them. What they didn't understand was everyone who was at the funeral home had already been at the hospital at least once, and we already felt like we'd had enough visitation.

Before the funeral on Wednesday the doctors had talked to Charlie and recommended that if we weren't going to do any other treatment that Loyd be taken off the ventilator. Charlie asked the doctors if they would meet with all the siblings on Thursday morning. He explained the funeral situation, and asked that they just let them all get through the day. After the funeral Charlie asked all the siblings to meet him at the hospital to talk to the doctors at 8:30 Thursday morning.

On Thursday morning everyone arrived as requested, but you could tell they weren't all happy campers. Charlie began by giving them all copies of something that his Mother wrote. It basically said that she always wanted her family to be peaceful and that the circle be unbroken. She never like bickering of any kind. Charlie told them that he didn't want any fighting, and that he just wanted to honor the life that his Father had lived and his requests. He asked them to be open minded and listen to the doctor. Charlie then asked them if the Pastor could pray with us all. Well, needless to say we never had prayer. Each of the brothers had something to say to Charlie from he was rushing it because we needed to get back to work to we were greedy. His sister never said anything at all. It was very ugly! They all believed that Loyd could get better, and come home. They even were talking about home health etc. Finally the doctor came out, and explained. He told us that Loyd couldn't live with the tubes down his throat, and that he would have to be on a trach. No one wanted that. He told us that Loyd would never go home. If we did decide on keeping him on the ventilator via a trach then he would go to a nursing home where he could have 24 hour nurses care. He would always be exactly like he was now, unless he had another stroke which could further restrict his ability to respond. Charlie never said anything because we had already heard this all. They all had something to say to the doctor, and really berated him. One brother said well when God is ready for him to go then his heart will stop. The doctor said well if you believe so much in God's will then why do you have him on the ventilator anyway? He said, why don't you take him off and then if it is God's will for him to continue to live he will, and if not then he'll go. After about 30 minutes the doctor finally said he had to go to surgery and to call him if we ever made a decision.

The day went on. About 1pm Charlie, me & the kids left. I needed to do laundry, and we wanted to get something to eat besides snack food. I couldn't believe Charlie wanted to leave but he said if they left his Daddy that way then he couldn't stand it and that we would probably leave Friday morning for home.

I need to preface what happened that afternoon with something else I haven't told you. There were times that Loyd would be in a lot of pain, choking, and they couldn't give him anymore morphine. The nurses would call Charlie in to pray with him and the pain would subside. None of the other children had witnessed this. That morning all the children went in together and this happened. Charlie didn't pray immediately because he wanted his brothers & sister to see the suffering that he was going through. Finally one of the brothers looked at him and asked him to please pray. He did and the pain & choking subsided. So, about 3:00 we were at the laundromat and I received a phone call from one of the granddaughters. She said her Mother, Charlie's sister, was asking Charlie to come and pray for Loyd. Well, we couldn't be there that quickly, and within 5 minutes she called back and said that her Mother had decided to remove the ventilator. She couldn't take seeing him suffering.

We started back to the hospital immediately. We almost didn't make it in time. When we walked in we realized that the entire family was in the waiting room but the door was open for visitation. We just walked straight back to Loyd's room. The nurses were there removing the tubes. He
only took about 3 or 4 breaths once the tubes were removed and he was gone. He never gasped, choked, or anything that they'd prepared us for. Charlie was his only child in the room with him when he passed. I was there, my children, and 3 of the granddaughters.

It was a very sad passing. I think I reacted the worst because they had prepared us for the worst which didn't happen. They told us that he might last several hours to days, and that he might even be able to communicate with us. I wasn't prepared for him to just pass so quickly. However, I was and am very happy that he no longer had to suffer.

He lived a very full and happy life. He was a wonderful, strong man and very loved by his entire family. He loved to work and sometimes I think he lived to work or worked to live. When he couldn't work he would get sick. I miss my in-laws greatly. They were both inspirations to me. I was never counted as a daughter-in-law. They always told me I was their daughter. They had other daughters-in-law but I was the only one they ever said that to. So, I think that makes me special! I am special to have been loved by people so great! I am going to share more stories about my in-laws but they will be reflections of their life and my life with them.

Thank you all for your prayers! We have definitely needed them.


Mari said...

Krista - I'm so sorry that this had to be worse than it already is. I believe you and Charlie were making the right decisions and had your Dad's best interest in mind along with the fact that he had told you this previously. It is such a blessing to know his suffering is done and he is whole and healthy, rejoicing in heaven!

Valerie said...

Oh Krista...what a roller coaster. I truly believe that you and Charlie were making the right decisions but I just guess it was hard until they saw him suffer. God is so good that he didn't let him linger. We are still praying for you all.

heidi @ ggip said...

I'm so sorry. I hope your family comes together in this very hard time.

Mad about Craft said...

What a very horrid time you have had. I pray that you all as a family can come through this bad time and be a strong unit again.

God bless and keep you all!