The Hardest Day, The Happiest Day - page 4
President's day. I had worked the night before and was just getting up in time for the kids to get out of school. I got the phone call that changed my life forever. I answered it to hear hysterical... Read More
Feb 28, '13Thank you for sharing such an amazing and moving story. As I sat here reading, I couldn't help but picture myself at the bedside of my own father, who will too someday die. Where you described yourself being at your father's bedside, I subconsciously imagined myself. It moved me so much that I'm still sitting here with tears streaming down my face. I couldn't hold them in any longer once I learned that you felt the snow in Phoenix was your father trying to cheer up your girls. I am so truly sorry for your loss and like I said previously, thank you so much for sharing. I am glad that you are able to realize the beauty of your step-mother's decision-making capacity in coordinating your father's final act: giving new life to another human being who may not lived without his donation. May god rest his soul.
You and your family are in my thoughts.
Feb 28, '13Thanks Anon456! It is NEVER easy to lose a parent. Even in his 80th year, my Dad continued to be the CEO-like person he always was. In charge. But we all knew Dad would NEVER tolerate a nursing home if he got sick. Thankfully, (and very sadly,) he got up one morning had dizziness, fell and hit his head on the bed frame. He was on Plavix and coumadin...and had a terrible heart. So when my Mother called me, she (blissfully ignorant, I guess) told me 'Dad is back in the hospital' She told me he fell and I need not come down to Florida. I believed her (what was I thinking??) Of course he had a subdural bleed in addition to a head laceration and by midnight Christmas Eve, I was getting a call from the Neurologist. He said at his age, he could not do anything. I understood.
He told me my sister told him to call me because I was an ICU RN. He explained my Dad was in the ICU unresponsive. I booked a flight. By the time I got there, they had moved him out to a step down unit. He was awake but had expressive aphasia. It was heartbreaking to see my competent Dad unable to express himself. At last he managed to say to us kids 'Take care of Mom'. The next day his fever was 103 (a bad neurological sign) and I knew this was it. We had decided to let him go so I asked for comfort care meds. He was having gasping respirations after he lost consciousness, and I asked the RN to increase the dose of meds to let him rest. I added I knew it might hasten his death. She resued stating, 'I can't because he will die." What was he doing right at that moment?? Dying, and it was ugly. 15 hours of my sister and I keeping vigil he passed. But I should have called to attending MD and insisted she increase the meds. Now I have the unpleasant memory to take with me of his laborious breathing!
We as a society need to come to grips with the fact that death happens, and it can be a "good death". Out Healthcare Teams seem to turn away from this reality. We are not being clear to families or patients that it will happen but it need not be painful.
Mar 4, '13thank you so much again for all your thoughts and for reading dad's story. We buried dad last tuesday and I returned to work on Thursday. I needed to get back to a routine and it has been good for me. My co-workers were wonderful about supporting me through this. The donor network cannot disclose all the information yet about how dad's organs/tissues were used, but I did find out that his liver was split in half and *each half* went to someone, so that's two people helped! They also took his kidneys which I did not think they did earlier but there is no more info about if they were used. I decided in honor of my dad to become a volunteer for donor network. The next meeting is next month-- on what would have been dad's 60th bday. The donor network thinks that because I am an RN and the person that's working with me says I have a "special energy" they are going to try to find a special role for me in volunteer capacity. We have put a picture of dad on our piano to let my girls feel he is there when they play music. We all still have our moments of grief--seems to hit me most often in the shower or when doing dishes for some reason. This whole thing has certainly made me a better nurse. We have a case on the floor right now of a patient who is declining and they are putting in measures to support the patient and family through this process. I hope that with further training and some time I can be of help to families like this.
Mar 7, '13anon456, after a particularly rough shift, you moved me to tears. thank you for your story.
i was only 18 and a pre-nursing student when my 14-almost-15 year old brother was hit by a car and coded multiple times before dying in the pediatric ICU of our then-local trauma center. i didn't understand much of the different drips, lines, tubes, ICP monitor, etc at the time but looking back, i now do, and i was always grateful that we were able to donate his organs so that someone else might live. we donated his heart valves and corneas... unfortunately many of his internal organs were beyond salvage but two people had a chance to see and one person's heart was repaired because my brother was able to give them a chance. that is why i've always been a huge supporter of organ donation and i thank you from the bottom of my heart for your choice.
Mar 27, '13I got a letter from the donor network today. Amazing!
The following people were given another chance at life:
62 year old man got the liver
66 year old man got right kidney
60 year old woman got left kidney
All are recovering nicely. :-)
65 year old man and 74 year old woman got the gift of sight with corneal transplants
Four people, including two women ages 89 and 81 received scleral tissue that helped secure their implants for glaucoma surgery.
Really amazing to know that nine people are enjoying better lives because of Dad!
Jan 7, '14Just wanted to give another update as we are nearing one year since this event happened. We are in contact with the liver recipient and hope to meet him soon. It's been a rewarding journey as we still hurt a lot and miss Dad every day.
Jan 7, '14Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. Your Dad sounds like a wonderful man, and what an awesome way to share that.
Mar 13, '16I had a similar experience when I lost my dad. I was only 14, but from the moment he died, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I miss him dearly, but that experience has made me a better nurse, and for that I am thankful. I'm sorry for your loss.
Mar 15, '16Anon456 I feel your grief. my mother died 9 years ago this week, March 17th. My mother had a brain tumor and didn't recognize family members after her surgery, which always haunts me. If only I was able to communicate with her ! She was not able to donate organs, but I have decided to be a donor after I die and possibly donate my body to science. Make sure your family knows your wishes before they have to make those decisions. My mother would've been happy to donate her organs ! God bless you, eventually you'll remember the good times you had with him !
Mar 15, '16Three years later, another update. On the day of my dad's death, the liver recipient called me to say he was thinking of our family, and still grateful for his gift of life. We had lunch last week. :-) It was our fourth meeting.
Mar 15, '16Quote from Loracs72I am so sorry for your recent loss. Cherish the good memories in your heart.Anon456 I feel your grief. my mother died 9 years ago this week, March 17th. My mother had a brain tumor and didn't recognize family members after her surgery, which always haunts me. If only I was able to communicate with her ! She was not able to donate organs, but I have decided to be a donor after I die and possibly donate my body to science. Make sure your family knows your wishes before they have to make those decisions. My mother would've been happy to donate her organs ! God bless you, eventually you'll remember the good times you had with him !