As most of you know, my Thanksgiving didn't go as planned.
Thursday morning, Thanksgiving morning, I stood in the kitchen facing the stove, dicing apples to cook with. My dad came in from outside, sat at the kitchen table..and in the background, above the tv playing the Thanksgiving day parade, I heard he and my 9 year old nephew talking. He was going to put peanut butter on some crackers for my nephew.
And then my nephew said.."Papa..are you okay? Papa what's wrong?"
I turned around and my dad was face down on the table. I pulled him up and held him I shouted to my mom to call 911. She ran around and grabbed my dad, screaming.
I ran around her and grabbed the phone while my sister and brother-in-law lifted him off of the chair and laid him out in the kitchen.
His teeth were clenched, so we had to pry his mouth open. My sister did that. Talking to 911 was a blur. I did it between breathing into his mouth..listening to my sister count compressions on his chest..and blocking out my mom screaming in the background. I could hear him taking
The FDNY arrived first..they took over the CPR and the FDNY paramedics arrived right after them followed by NYPD.
Everything went by so quickly..yet so slowly.
A firefighter had his arm around me while he tried to complete a form with my dad's name, birthday, etc. And when they said "CLEAR!" and shocked him, he hid my face. But I saw what I saw.
They shocked him four times.
My sister threw me a pair of pants from the stairs and I pulled on my sneakers and ran outside of the house where they were preparing to carry him out.
And if I said I was holding it together, I'd be a liar. I was bawling and my mom and I were holding each other outside. My aunt came; later we found out my brother-in-law called her as soon as it happened.
You see. He's not just MY dad.
He's the dad to everyone in our family. My mom's father passed away when they were young, so my dad became THEIR dad in a way. He raised my aunt from the age of 5 - she's 50 now.
My aunt drove us to the hospital, my sister and I and her husband. My brother-in-law stayed home with the kids.
The next few hours were painful. Seeing my dad in the ER undergoing a process they called the Arctic Sun to drop his body temperature. He was on a respirator. He was unresponsive.
I cried so much..everything blurred. The nights and the days..and the people..and everything was numb.
The doctor's told us he was in a deep coma.
They said we needed to come to terms with the fact that he was not going to wake up - that this body laying there was the best things were going to get.
They told me he couldn't even hear me speaking to him.
His prognosis was POOR. Very, very poor. They all said the same thing. From that point on, every doctor that came in to tell me something negative..I threw out.
I cried. I stopped sleeping..eating..going home..going to work. I stopped everything because..without my dad..without his voice every day..without his smile..his eyes..without HIM..my world stopped.
I just sat next to his bed and I prayed. And I talked to him. I begged him to wake up. I begged him to come home.
On the Monday after his collapse, doctors started coming in..telling me we needed to think about making him comfortable in his last days.
My family called me and told me to come home..we had a lot to discuss as a family. My dad's wishes were ALWAYS clear. He did NOT want to be kept alive by any machines. I knew the talk that was coming.
And I did not go home for it.
I cried so much that day, the nurses cried with me.
That night, I finally went home. We sat around and all talked. And I did what I always do. I said what I had to say and I left.
You see..my dad always knew. He knew that if the time should come when he needed to be taken off of machines that were keeping him alive, I would not be able to do it. He knew I'd fight and find a way to keep him with me.
So I said.."I know dad's wishes..I agree with what you've all decided. But in my heart, I can't do it. It's like we're giving up hope on him. If it were me in that bed, he'd never..give up on me." With that, I crawled into my dad's bed and went to sleep. All I could contribute to the discussion had been said.
Tuesday morning, my mom, my older sister and I laid in my parents bed and cried. We were supposed to sign the paperwork to take him off of the respirator at 10:30 AM.
It was all so somber. The drive to the hospital. The silence as we all walked the halls.
We sat through everything..hospices for his last days..moving his body. My oldest brother left the room. He couldn't take it. My sister held my mom's hand while she signed the DNR and the order to remove the respirator.
I broke down and left the room in tears. I laid on the bed next to my dad and told him..he didn't have long left..he needed to wake up NOW. I cried until I was even amazed that I had tears left.
I left the hospital shortly after..laid on my cousin's couch and ached inside. After about an hour, we headed back to the hospital and as I got off of the elevator, my oldest sister was standing there waiting.
"Daddy moved his foot."
That was all I needed. I dropped my coat and bag and headed back to his room. And it was true. He moved his feet..and his hands..and his head. He was still unconcious, but he was MOVING.
So we stood there..and debated. Were these simply reflexes from the coma? Or was he finally waking up?
After a while, we decided..we couldn't do it. Despite what the doctors were saying..we had to give him a chance. So we pulled back the order and had the paperwork removed.
This blog is getting long now. And I'm tired. LOL
So I'm posting this..and I'll continue the rest later. :) Long story. Believe me..and the yet hasn't even been written - so I can't share that with you.