Gut Rumbles

October 22, 2003

making the call

I was over at Dora's house when my grandmother called. "Rob, you need to go to the hospital right away. You father is in bad shape and your mama is worried."

Dad had been in bad shape for a while. I watched him die one piece at a time, thanks to the marvels of modern medical technology. But his string played out that day.

I arrived at the hospital and talked to a doctor who was young enough to be my son. That young whippersnapper explained the situation, and it didn't sound good.

My father was about to die. They could cut his legs off and do some really fantastic life-support and keep him alive for a few days, but I told the doctor "NO!" on that. My father would have climbed out of that bed and beat me half to death if I had done that to him. My daddy had pride.

My brother was on vacation in Tennessee. He wasn't in his room when I called his hotel. I left a message for him to get his ass back to Savannah as fast as he could. He showed up at 10:00 that night after catching the first plane he could find out of Nashville. Together, we watched our father die at 7:00 the next morning.

Dad was on a morphine pump and feeling no pain toward the end. We ran the nurses out of there and let him go like the man he was. My heart broke to watch it happen, but I wouldn't change a damn thing about that night. No machines. No thermometers up the ass. No amputated legs. No feeding tubes. Just a quiet, graceful death as he held my mama's hand and the sun rose on October 12, 1992.

He wanted it that way and so did my brother and I. So did Mom. Everybody dies, sooner or later. Family should let them go with dignity.

You OWE that courtesy to people you love.


my sentiments EXACTLY.

Posted by: jerseagirl on October 22, 2003 12:41 PM

Sorry for your loss.
My father died 8 years ago in his own bed, with his family around him. He had cancer of the lungs and went from 200 pounds to under 140 in 3 months. I spent the last 2 weeks at his bedside as his night nurse, so my mom could sleep. We talked alot...since the pain never let him sleep. And, i thank God for that precious time with him
I still miss him.
smooches, KIT

Posted by: KIT on October 22, 2003 12:49 PM

I was holding my father in law's hand as he spend 30 minutes choking to death after the respirator was removed.

I agree that people have the right to die. I just disagree in this case that the husband has the right to decide that.

Posted by: shell on October 22, 2003 01:03 PM

My daddy died at home from pancreatic cancer with his loved ones surrounding him. He was on liquid morphine with our orders to give him as much as he needed to kill the pain. I firmly believe in letting the terminally ill die in dignity at home. I will always miss and love him with all my heart.

Posted by: Debbi on October 22, 2003 02:38 PM

You *know* from reading my blog that I understand. My uncle, a father to me, died at home, morphine drip and the whole nine. My aunt did the hard work, keeping him clean (he did want his nieces to see him nude). They had been divorced for twenty years. Now *that's* love.

Posted by: Juliette on October 22, 2003 02:46 PM

Didn't want

Posted by: Juliette on October 22, 2003 02:47 PM

Lost both my parents with dignity. I say AMEN to your thoughts on the matter. I'm doing a set of posts right now on the wifes grandpa (still alive, barely).

Posted by: Wichi Dude on October 22, 2003 06:07 PM

My grand-ma died exactly the way this doctor of yours sugegsted: they cut off her leg, and she died a few days later. After the operation & until her death, whenever she had a moment of conscience, she'd say "My leg, my leg". I was 15 at that time, but somehow, I think I got her meaning better than my family... I never understood why my mother let that happen.

Posted by: dda on October 22, 2003 09:49 PM

When Carrol died,she was in my arms, it took about 30 days for her to die. She held on, for us, her family. I slept, each night in the hospital, as she withered away, I crying and asking for a miracle. Some times, I think, I should have let her go, but the doc's had said to let her go 8 months earlier, and she had some surgery and recovered and we went on a vacation. It is hard to say what to do, I think it is a very personal decision. I'll never have another Carroll.

Posted by: ken on October 22, 2003 10:38 PM

Cool article!!!

Posted by: dzwonki polifoniczne nokia on April 2, 2004 03:03 AM

Cool article!!!

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