Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Saying Thanks

Several of you have commented on my posts, saying although you're tuning in a bit late, you're still thinking of me...of my family...of my father, and davening for him.

Although I'm not commenting on the comments, you deserve a post specifically to say THANK YOU for your warm messages and your good thoughts.

It will be four weeks tomorrow evening that my father went into the Emergency department. He's been shuffled over those four weeks from different floors where beds were available. Apparently the hospital had its own outbreak of Norwalk Virus (upper respiratory disease that can kill...especially among the elderly) and beds were in great demand throughout the hospital. Wherever there's a bed, that's where they've sent my dad: Emergency,Cardiology, Rehab, General Medicine. It's been difficult to get used to a nursing staff, through several changing shifts, and then be transferred elsewhere and start all over again...repeating medical histories to nurses and hospital night sitters and roommates, etc.

In many ways, my father seemed better weeks ago, in the early part of his hospital stay. It has now been said that it may not be a short-term rehab after all, but rather a slow and lengthy rehab -- difficult to digest for all of us involved. But G-d willing, with rehab, my father might be able to go home again and resume his life in some semblance of normalcy.

As I've said before, the brain is a wondrous thing: the capacity for what it knows and what it can't discern. My father can have a 20 minute conversation in Russian with the relative of a roommate (Russian was spoken by him between 1940-45 when he spent the war years in Siberia. He has been told he speaks like a native, and with no accent.), giving all detailed information of when he was in Russia, where he was in Russia during the war, what he did, etc. But when asked when he came to Toronto, he couldn't remember that!

Night becomes day; day becomes night. Concern with "what time is it?" is at the forefront. With daytime, and especially morning, comes much more clarity of mind, and a sharp memory, but the later in the day it gets, weakness, inertia and confusion sink in.

I prefer to visit my dad in the late morning, and then if possible, again in the evening between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. -- when nighttime sets in and settles down...yet leaves my father somewhat unsettled.

Some people don't understand family bonds and concerns. Apparently a friend of mine checked in a couple of weeks ago with another friend of mine to hear how my dad is doing. The friend said that I'm visiting as much as I can -- even if just to be company for my mother -- and my dad is sleeping a lot. The friend who was checking up on me couldn't understand why someone would sit and bother to watch someone sleep.

And this comes from a person whose own father has had serious back surgery and a slow and difficult recovery!

I was aghast that someone could think like this. What if it wasn't pure drug-induced sleep, but a coma that my father was in? Isn't that a form of sleep? Am I expected to choose to not sit around "just because he's sleeping?"

People mean well, but sometimes just don't think, do they?

I know that several of you have had to know of unfortunate medical circumstances in your families, and we continue to hope and pray that good health will prevail.

Again, I thank you for your concern, and as my father continues to say: "Let's hope for the best..."


cruisin-mom said...

Pearl, what a difficult situation you are all facing...I'm so sorry. What I have learned in my 51 years, is that everyone does as they need to do, but no one will ever think you are doing it right. You continue to visit your sleeping dad if that is what makes you feel good...wishing your dad returns home soon.

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's hope and pray for the best. I do think that people have the best intentions and sometimes don't know the right words to say or as you have witnessed, even say the wrong things. I'm sure that in some way your Dad knows that you are there...even when he is sleeping and I am certain that in and of itself is comforting to him.

Val said...

I agree with both comments above... you do what feels right for you and I believe that even people are 'asleep', they know and can feel loved ones presence - it's all good.
Hang in there.

Stacey said...

Hi Pearl, I am sorry to hear that your father's recovery might be long and slow. I am keeping him in my thoughts and prayers and hope that he is able to make a complete recovery.

Time spent with loved ones is never wrong. You are a good daughter.

Danny said...

That friend is clueless. Your dad definitely knows you are there, and besides, I'm sure it helps you immeasurably to be in his presence right now.

Wishing you the best during this time. It sure ain't easy.

Anonymous said...

The last time I saw my dad, he was really out of it. Still, I think he knew I was there. There's a certain connection between people that goes beyond what can be appreciated by physical senses like sight and hearing. A presence that can be shared.

Anonymous said...

and just where else would you be? every minute we have a parent is a gift...a speedy refuah shleymah and i hope and pray he comes home safe and sound soon...shabbat shalom...zei gezunt

torontopearl said...

Thank you all for your comments.
Yes,someone's presence can in fact be a gift.

I have a cousin whose grandmother (my great-aunt) had been in a nursing home for a few years. Even though my great-aunt was often sleeping or simply "out of it", I would visit, just sit with her, hold her hand and say a few words...whether she heard them or not.

I asked that cousin one day: "Do you visit your grandmother? Do you take the kids to see their great-grandmother?"

I got a very flippant answer: " wouldn't make a difference anyhow. She's so out of it, she wouldn't know who I am or who the kids are, and wouldn't know I'm there."

I never forgot -- nor, in a way, forgave -- that cousin for that shi**y
attitude. If that attitude prevailed throughout this world, people who were sick would simply die earlier. The truth is that one never knows when their presence can make a difference. And I can tell you another story about how one's presence had an impact...

IN 1981 after my dad was operated on for a brain tumor -- benign -- he was barely conscious for the first few days after. But I happened to be there one day and a nurse was asking my dad simple questions to test his cognition. She said, 'Mr. A, there is someone in the room with you. Do you know who it is?"

In barely a whisper, and with his eyes closed, he said, "My daughter...Pearl."

I was astounded; I might've said something to him when I walked in but thought due to the heavy painkillers, he couldn't hear me or sense I was there.

How wrong I was! And that memory has stuck with me, among several others from that time, for these past 25+ years.

So nobody should ever say "It doesn't matter if I'm there or not."

IT DOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(phew, now that I got that out of my system, I can move on to something else)