It is possible that you have never truly known love (or maybe helplessness) until you have returned from consoling your mother in the hospital parking lot to see your fiancée and your sister holding your father’s ankles and soothing him while nurses shove a tube up his nose, down his throat, and into his small intestine.
We all fear that the current nurse (let’s call her — I don’t know — Dumpster Brain) is incompetent. She didn’t thoroughly crush up Dad’s medication, which meant his feeding tube got clogged, which meant they had to take it out and insert another one. None of us wanted to be around for this barbaric (and necessary — it’s all barbaric and necessary) procedure, so I accompanied Mom out to the parking lot to send her off on a break. We discussed our distrust of the current nurse and also the worthlessness of that distrust. You don’t get to just request a change.
It’s hard to tell at any given time whether we are in a “two steps forward, one step back”, “two steps forward, three steps back”, or “two steps forward, two steps back” sort of situation. The doctor is hopeful – at times almost nonchalant (oh, how I’m jealous of that motherfucker’s nonchalance, give me a goddamn stein full of it.). It’s hard for us to tell because we see Dad nearly all day every day and all we can think is, “he still doesn’t really know where he is, he still tries to leave, he still tries to pull his tubes out, why isn’t his brain getting better?” If I were to live tweet the situation, I would just send out the tweet “Everything is terrible” every five minutes.
On Saturday, I thought, ” This is hell.” Then I thought, “You’ve been here two days, don’t be such a drama queen. He is alive. He is not in pain. He is not, currently, dying.” We are, all of us, dying. We are, all of us, alive. Drama queen.