Gut Rumbles
 

March 22, 2008

Dignity

Originally published July 25, 2003

I don't want to hear any shit about how somebody's dying daddy was SO SICK that marijuana suppositories were the only way to treat Dear Old Dad. I CALL BULLSHIT!!!

I was visiting a girlfriend at 5:00 in the afternoon when I received a call from my grandmother, who told me that I needed to get to the hospital right away. My father had taken a turn for the worse and my mother needed some company. I went to the hospital.

My mom was like a zombie from spending so much time at the hospital and my dad resembled a Frankenstein Monster from all the cutting they had done on him. He was hooked up to a morphine pump, an IV and on his way out.

My mama was hopeful. She believed that my dad, her husband of 40-plus years, was gonna make it out of there.

I talked to the doctor, who was a pissant kid 20 years younger than I was. He gave me the scoop. They could amputate both of my father's legs and MAYBE keep him alive for another month. If they left him alone, he would be dead within 24 hours. My only question was, "Can you make SURE he's not in pain?" The doctor said they would give him all the morphine he wanted and he wouldn't even know what was happening.

I read "Lonesome Dove" then gave the book to my father and he always admired the way Gus went out. I would have no more told that doctor to amputate my father's legs than I would have done the deed myself. My dad raised me better than that.

I made the call. Let him go, with no pain. Then, I told my mother that nobody was going to do anything else for Dad except keep him comfortable. I had to call my brother, who was on vacation in Nashville and tell him to get back home as quickly as he could. He and his wife made it back to Savannah around midnight and Dad died at 0700 in the morning.

I watched my father die that night. And there were TWO THINGS the nurses were forbidden to do, because my family would have ripped them limb from limb for trying, and we made that abundantly clear to the "caretakers" who wanted to do it.

"Hmmm... this IV doesn't seem to be working as well as it should. I want to move it to another vein."

You do and you DIE, bitch. You've poked my father enough. Moving that IV won't make a goddam bit of difference and you KNOW IT. Leave the man alone.

"Hmmm... he's sleeping from the morphine, so I'm going to take his temperature rectally. Would you mind leaving the room?"

Would YOU MIND if I took that rectal thermometer out of your hand and shoved it up YOUR ass? That's what I'm going to do if you don't get the fuck out of here. My father is DYING! He doesn't need his temperature taken because it's becoming ambient shortly. Just GO THE FUCK AWAY and let nature take it's course.

Don't give me any shit about marijuana suppositories. Goddam. What cheap leftist shit that is. YOU would have let them move the IV and stick a rectal thermometer up your Dad's ass as he was dying.

I don't need YOUR kind of compassion.

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