Gut Rumbles

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.


Where do you get off pissing on other's families? You can go fuck that you're capable.

That's not what I said, but don't let that get in the way of being an offensive dickwad.

Posted by: Jane on July 25, 2003 09:55 PM

My heart goes out to you. You called it right, good man.

Posted by: Kathy on July 25, 2003 09:57 PM

Jane, you can take it as I wrote it, or you can take it as you read it. I don't give a shit. I still think mariujuana suppositories are ridculous.

Posted by: Acidman on July 25, 2003 10:20 PM

Sorry. I totally lost the point here. I don't see where mj suppositories are even relevant in your story. They apparently weren't asked or offered. Are you trying to superimpose one actual instance from the past over some present theoretical or actual ones that have been offered up?

It sounds as if you handled your father's passing in the most dignified and logical manner possible given the circumstances. For that I commend you.

But I do not understand where this gives you the right to dictate to everybody else how they should handle a similar circumstance.

Death sucks. There's no manual to cover how to proceed in the event of imminent death. Each death is pretty goddamn personal for the person dying. It's also a crappy experience for those intimately associated with the soon-to-be deceased.

There's no manual. Each case is, in its own way, unique. Some people pass with a fair amount of morphine in them. Others pass with mj stuck up their ass. Still others pass by having the top of their head lopped off in some stupid auto accident.

Life isn't fair. Life also doesn't come with a handy instruction manual. You deal with death the best you can. But just like I don't want some politician pontificating on how I should live my life, I don't particularly care for somebody decreeing on how I should die my death.

Posted by: Hank on July 26, 2003 12:17 AM

Damn, what an awful experience! I want to think that hospitals at least try to do better than that, then I hear another horror story like this.

I'm sorry. I'm just speechless. There is nothing witty, or deep, or sympathetic, just nothing to say.

People can be such animals.

Posted by: Mamamontezz on July 26, 2003 12:54 AM

You were smart not let the Drs. 'play God', I don't think they even want the job but *we* sometimes give them the know?
I watched my Dad pass away also, I will never forget it, very emotional but calming (?
experience. He was ready to go, I was able to let him...
I've been wavering on my stance of legalizing
pot, at 19 I said yes, 22 I said I'm not sure, I see your point in this case but I've been sick to my stomach before and knowing chemo patients have it worse then I ever did, I know I'd want something/ ANYTHING to ease it... My husband always gives me the *look what happened with alcohol* speech so I'm not sure it's a good idea.
To muddy this further I've heard Heroin is supposed to be more effective then morphine? (for pain) but is demonized because its abused...ok all done ramblin..Nite...

Posted by: Trease on July 26, 2003 02:14 AM

Rob, I watched my wife die, slowly from cancer, 30 months.January the cancer had moved to her intestines. Docs said let her die, I said fix it. She live another six months, six months of joy and love that we would have missed, we took a vacation to the beach, she got to see and smell one of our favorite spots. I would have given both my legs for one more day, one more hour, hell even one more minute with her. It is a very personal, painful unique situation, be gentle my friend.

Posted by: ken on July 26, 2003 06:56 AM

This looks like it started out as an argument between Rob and Jane, and I don't want to get into the middle of that especially, but I've got to say I'm with Ken that cancer in a loved one is a "personal, painful unique situation," and therefore I'm for anything, anything at all that would make someone's dying breath come easier.

I don't care whether it's marijuana suppositories, or a fiercely protective relative keeping them pesky nurses from jabbing thermometers up a dying man's bum--just so long as the focus remains on keeping the patient pain-free, with as much dignity as possible.

Posted by: ilyka on July 26, 2003 07:09 AM

Lots of issues here. First MJ grows freely in this country as a damn weed, if it helps..we should use it. Fuck the gov't in what they will or not allow. If they were dying...they would sign the dotted line.
Next nurses are doing there job, and every family is different. Some would take that very situation if the IV infiltrated, temp was not monitored and MoM/Dad developed a raging fever - which by the way can be uncomfortable, would turn around and sue. I've seen it too many times. Nurses and doctors know very well how to take care of the sick and dying. It's families, lawyers and gov't that doesn't. You have a choice, let us do our job...or do it yourself. No offense to you Rob..but your anger at the nurse was definitely displaced.

Posted by: Dawn on July 26, 2003 07:57 AM

Hank-You have redeemed yourself (Not that you asked to be). I agree totally with you. As a matter of fact, I think I love you. : ) Beth

Posted by: Beth on July 26, 2003 08:26 PM

My thoughts: I don't see how mary jane suppositories are any different than morphine -- it's all a matter of trying to alleviate the pain.

Regarding crabbing out nurses? Oh, no, my dears, there are DEFINITELY some nurses who need to be hit with a two by four. I experienced, in one instance, a florence nightengale who wished to change the sheets on my mother's hospital bed -- about two hours after she'd finally fallen asleep for the first time in 48 hours (mother was terminally ill). If you don't have enough sense to determine when "routine" needs to be suspended for the benefit of the patient -- you need to get out of the nursing profession.

Posted by: cj on July 26, 2003 10:03 PM


It's always nice to be loved. :)

Posted by: Hank on July 27, 2003 01:01 AM

I think Rob wanted his dad to die with some dignity. Getting anything shoved up his butt is not very dignified. The nurse could have taken an axillary temp or used one of the ear thermometers which aren't as intrusive as a rectal thermometer if she really needed to take the temp. If the IV was working and he got his morphine, if the patient or family refuses, it's their right. Just needs to be documented. The nurse needs to be sensitive to the patient and the family's needs.

Posted by: mog on July 30, 2003 09:08 AM
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