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Husband and I were in Grandma’s room till 4:30 AM. Five or six times in the night she woke agitated, trying to pull her oxygen mask off, pulling at her tubes etc. and we calmed her, and called her nurses. I was able to sleep in a chair when she was quiet, but husband couldn’t. A hospitalist (ICU doctor) finally convinced husband to leave, to get some sleep, at 4:30 by telling him that if he made himself sick, he wasn’t going to be a help to anybody.
What a conversation – with this bearded, uber-fit, soft-spoken and gentle doctor – talking about balancing the responsibilities of being a child of a sick parent, loving parent to your own children, and an adult who is responsible to take care of their own health and job. No easy answers here. Lots that is beautiful. Lots that is terrible.
We got into our hotel room at 5 and he’s been asleep since then.
When he wakes, we’ll go back to the hospital. At some point we have to go home. Balance. How to know?
Blessedly, Grandma has no pain. That is a gift to her children, I can tell you. Distant siblings got closer last night. Another gift. My mom steps in to take care of our kids, bosses say be there, friends hold us up with food and prayers. Gifts. Beauty in the storm. No small thing.
My work phone is still on (they allow that in the ICU now!). And I’ll make one work call today. Status update on an important project with another group. “Do something normal,” the hospitalist encouraged us.
And I’ll have coffee. Oh, sister, will I have coffee.
And I’ll move forward, into unknown territory, doing my best.
Just like you.