As I write this, my brother has been in the ICU for two weeks, and to be honest, I was afraid he was not going to make it. I had prepared myself for that outcome while holding on to hope with a vice-like grip. One of the first ICU doctors we met, held onto that same hope, even tighter than I was. Her energy and the reassurance in her voice kept me thinking he really could make it through this. His entire team was amazing, I never once wondered... "is there something more we can do?" because I knew and believed they were doing everything possible for him.
Each day we take turns in his hospital room, we live in a hotel, we eat in the cafeteria, we support one another, and we celebrate every tiny improvement trying harder to focus on those instead of the setbacks, of which there have been many. Staying positive is not easy, but if he can fight this with the strength that he has, so can we. And we continue to.
Earlier today, they decided to try and remove the ventilator and see if he could breathe on his own. It was scary and joyous at the same time. He had a lot of secretions on his lungs, which he didn't have the strength to bring up, so there was a lot of suctioning involved. He did not like that. But he made it through that and not only was he able to breathe on his own, he could also talk. The word, "Miracle" makes so much sense to me. He said my name a few times, he spoke with his daughter, his girlfriend and our sister and told them he loves them, and he made a funny; when asked by the nurse what his name was, he said, "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."
I have finally found a balance between hospice nurse, doula, and sister... and I am able to blend these together to offer the best care I can for him. They let me suction him when needed, provide mouth care and attend to some of his basic nursing needs. It gave me purpose and made me feel useful. We are not out of the woods yet... but we have certainly taken a few steps in the right direction.
I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel for everyone that has come to our side to support him and our family and all who love him.
"Gratitude means thanks and appreciation. ... Gratitude, which rhymes with "attitude," comes from the Latin word gratus, which means "thankful, pleasing." When you feel gratitude, you're pleased by what someone did for you and also pleased by the results."
I truly am so pleased with the results.
So, we take each moment one at time... and we continue holding on to hope and feeling grateful for all of our blessings. So many lessons from these past days at his bedside; the importance and gift of time, certainly practicing patience, remembering that we all feel things differently during these times and to be sensitive and understanding of others. And most of all, my greatest take-away is the power of love and family.
One day at time...