Things I’ve learned over the last week:
Many healthcare providers use euphemisms for death. The palliative rep kept talking about a “landing place” – where a patient might go after deciding to switch to “comfort care” from active treatment. Basically, where a person goes to die.
As we discussed further treatment options we asked the doctor about the cost/benefit of the more invasive ones. After admitting that an additional bronchoscopy could yield very little information for a man who may not survive the initial infections he is fighting, he said ICU docs basically “throw everything at the wall until someone tells us to stop.”
Our faith informs my family’s reaction to both of the scenarios. Those who attempt every treatment to keep someone alive – no matter the likelihood of eventual return to active life, or the discomfort or trauma to the patient – are often those who do not have a faith in what happens after death. I can’t imagine the fear of not knowing what happens next.
My dad has told me numerous times throughout his pastoral ministry that death does not bother him. He is certainly sad to lose someone he cares about, but a friend, relative, or church member who dies in the knowledge of Jesus Christ as their savior will join with all the saints of heaven, a far better “landing place” than anywhere on this sinful earth.
I won’t use a euphemism either: I really, REALLY don’t want my daddy to die. Until my marriage he and my mom were my strongest anchors, my “landing place” when things were difficult or confusing, and my role models for my choices, my faith, and my relationships. He still serves those roles, as well as being a wonderful, active, loving Boobah to his six grandchildren. I’ve relied heavily on my parents through this deployment, and our lives will change dramatically without him here.
But neither can I ask my dad to stay alive through treatment after agonizing treatment for the possibility of lengthy rehab for the slimmest glimpse of the possibility he could ever breathe on his own again. And that is even if he comes out of sedation to the point he even is aware – which possibility is also becoming slimmer by the hour.
God knows His timing, and perhaps He still has a miracle in store. We will certainly keep praying for that, as we also keep praying Thy will be done. I know my dad has prayed that line as part of The Lord‘s Prayer every evening his whole life, and I will do as he has taught me.
This pic is of one of my dad’s latest projects: a doll-sized bunk bed for Little Miss, but strong enough for her youngest brother