Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stick a Fork In Me...

I'm done. My family is done.

My heart feels raw, from the losses our family has endured since Spouse passed away in December. Yes, his death impacted me in a far greater way than it did my siblings and children, but they mourned his absence, too. It made for a subdued holiday season for all of us. I am grateful to have had their support, especially during the holidays.

It didn't help that we here, at efxblogs2, lost a champion for those who face challenges, our CabinFever/Elaine. No, that didn't effect/affect my family, but they did respect my sorrow and that I miss this online friend.

In mid-February, my ex-MIL fell and broke her neck. She was a wonderful woman, a friend whom I loved dearly, even after the many years that her son & I divorced. Right after the divorce, in fact, she insisted that my daughter & I stay with her & "Grandpa John", until we got on our feet. She babysat for me, for free, until I found gainful employment and found an apartment. She & her husband even "adopted" my son, who had a different dad, as a "grandson", simply because he was related to me & his half-sis. That's just the kind of good soul she was. Anyway, she was taken to the hospital and had surgery, which went well in the mending of her broken neck. (basically, from what I was told, she sort of popped her noggin off of the spine, but didn't sever any nerves... they only had to screw her head back on) My daughter flew to be with her precious Grandma and to offer help with whatever, so she was with her Dad and his new family (more good peeps, really) when things turned sour, following the surgery. She suffered a stroke and went to join her husband's spirit a couple of days after the surgery. Maybe I blogged about this - I didn't look and can't recall. If I have, here's where I'll remind folks that this incredible woman actually died twice. She was pronounced dead on one day, after she had flatlined for a full 40 minutes, but when the attendant/nurse removed a tube from her throat, she began breathing again. Of course, this meant she was now in a vegetative state and had she not finally passed again, the next day, would have never recovered. My daughter was devastated when she lost her only surviving grandparent. This grandma adored her grandkids, but there was a special bond between her first (my daughter) and her. I didn't go to the funeral, because of many factors, but that did not lessen my feelings of loss. I count having been loved by such a woman a true blessings and celebrate the friendship that continued for these many years. It still felt like a "crappy hand" to be dealt, so soon after Spouse's departure.

Last week, my Son-in-Law's grandfather died. This man was a tremendous influence on my SIL, as he grew. This man taught my SIL how to treat women (the right way), how to fish, how to do many things - most of all, how to be a good person. From the moment he met my daughter, she was "his favorite grand-daughter". His death, like Spouse's, was not sudden or unexpected and he is now free from the pain he endured for a long time. While his passing has not immediately impacted me, it still has touched my heart, because my daughter & SIL loved him deeply. Their world has been tossed upside down in losing two beloved grandparents within exactly one month. My heart breaks for them, and the rest of my SIL's family.

This morning, I telephoned my sis in Michigan. Her husband's dad, has been dealing with some progressive illness for the past few years. He's been on oxygen for the past year and could not breath without it. Yes, he was a smoker and when his condition was diagnosed, he refused to give up his smokes, since, well... it wouldn't have extended his longevity at that point. I've met this man and really grew to care for him and considered him just as much family as my BIL. When I would call over to his house, to yak with my sis, he would answer and he always was able to make me laugh. It never failed to tickle me, when he'd mention how happy he was that I called and how I was looking Really Good that day. :) Yeah, it happened and my BIL & his sister who had recently moved there to help with their dad are taking this soo hard. I can easily understand why, after learning about the ambulance fiasco of last evening.

Their dad began showing signs of weary, unresponsive to them when they tended to him. So, they decided to call an ambulance, so they could have a doctor see him. Bear in mind, their dad had a DNR in place and wanted to die at home, which is why they hesitated to take him to a hospital - this shared, just so the reader understands. So - with that clarified - the ambulance comes and my sister tells me it was like watching an old 3 Stooges flick. While the majority of the ambulance crew came into the house, tripping over each other and dropping equipment, etc..., the driver decided to turn the ambulance around, so it would be facing the street and loading the patient might be easier. His home is very rural and the driveway is long, with muddy areas on either side of the asphalt. Anyway, the imbeciles in the house finally got him loaded into the ambulance and they began to leave for the hospital.

For whatever unknown logic that driver used, she took off down the driveway, toward the road and wound up sinking half of the ambulance in the mud on one side. The more she tried to back out of the mud, the deeper it sank, until the ambulance was on the verge of tipping over. In the back of the ambulance, the patient & gurney were laying on their side (which means the damn gurney tipped over, with a very sick man strapped to it!), while the ambulance crew was outside, trying to push, heave ho and argue about the best way to get the vehicle unstuck from the muck. Imagine my BIL's horror & disbelief when the chief of this crew asked him for a flashlight! Uhmmm, I'm not an expert, but I assumed a flashlight would be a basic piece of equipment in an ambulance. You know, seeing as they sometimes have to respond to wrecks and whathaveyou in the dark and all. *rolls eyes*

I'm unsure of how long the dingleberrybrains fudged around with the ambulance in the quagmire, but I do know they insisted my BIL go find some wooden boards to put under the tires, hoping they'd be able to push the rig onto the boards and get back on the asphalt. My BIL told them THAT would not work (speaking from his own personal experience), but the chief (gruff old geezer with 'tude) wasn't budging from what he believed was right. While the Chief had the gall to stand outside the sinking ambulance, with a critical patient strapped to a overturned gurney inside, the clock continued to tick - tick - tick. Finally, after BIL located a flashlight (apparently, it's vital for every patient to be sure they have one handy, in case of night emergencies) in his dad's house and then searched for some hopefully adequate boards in the garage and they got them wedged under the ambulance and THAT failed, the Chief decided to call in for another ambulance. Another ambulance that had to make the twenty minute trek from town to the location of the first one. A tow truck was also dispatched and it's only a minor miracle that it didn't block in the second ambulance.

The crews got their patient uprighted again on the gurney and transferred to the second rig, which backed out of the driveway, no trouble at all. Finally, FINALLY! they sped off into the darkness, toward the hospital. Now, all my BIL & his sis had to do was wait for the first ambulance to get the flock out of the way of his car, which was up by the house, of course. Would anyone be stunned to learn the Chief (must have been a real genius, this guy) had the audacity to get out of the ambulance and waste even more of my BIL's precious time, by arguing that the car could easily navigate around the sunken vessel. Uhmmm, my BIL has been taking care of that driveway for the past 3+ years and he knows whether he'd get stuck on the other side of the asphalt if he tried this maneuver or not. Yeah? So? That's how the Chief responded, in his ever so adult (bites tongue) manner. Yes, kids, the man stood his ground (actually it was his patient's ground, but it would be easy for any newcomer to the scene to assume differently), and raved on & on, until the tow truck arrived. I asked my sister whether it was a professional ambulance service or a squad of local good 'ol boy volunteers, and learned the service is a combination of both. The Chief, the man in charge, was the requisite professional on the first crew of comedians who (mis)handled the patient/ambulance mess.

The tow truck finally came, a short while after the second ambulance departed and got that heathen crew out of the muck, so BIL & his sis could finally head to the hospital. Fortunately, they made it there in time, so their father wasn't "alone" when he took his last breath. Again, I am empathizing with their loss and realizing there shall be no more of those fun telephone chats with him. I am grateful that life provided me the opportunity to know his friendship these past few years. My heart breaks for my BIL, my sister and his sister, knowing all too well many of the thoughts that are going through their minds now & in the months to come. They were caregivers and there was no Hospice help, which makes it all the more easier to guess how hard this must be for them.

On a personal note, despite these recent losses, I am doing much better. Over the flu, finally got a check from the VA yesterday that will help at least cover the house payment & utilities and the snow has nearly all melted. A friend called a while ago, today, and told me that all that has gone on was related to the Lunar eclipse in February. He also said that we're (everyone who lives on earth) will soon be seeing this "horrid wtf is going on????" end, since we're on the tail end of those astro-influences.

Shit gold, Bubba. I hope so. Stick a fork in us. We're done.