I spent the early morning in a half-asleep state while the baby napped after her early feeding. The day was off to a great start. I fully enjoyed the special treat of staying in bed past 5:00 AM. Finally it was time to begin the day. I went downstairs to my parent’s apartment to check on my Dad. I had no idea how my day was about to turn around.
There in the middle of the hallway was my mother, bent over my father trying to help him off the floor. His legs were useless. His bloated body was more than my petite mother could lift.
“Oh, Dad’s drunk” ran through my mind. We had tried to limit his access to the poison. His slow suicide had been quickening since his stay in the hospital 6 months earlier. With little liver function left it was only a matter of time according to the doctors. He returned home with a bag of medications to be administered every few hours. It wasn’t long before he refused the medications which were to extend his life by weeks, maybe months.
Extend his life. There was no life in this state of existing. This proud man found himself trapped in a body that no longer worked as it had through all those years of physical labor. His former strength having given way to the body’s innate ability to survive, it fed upon itself leaving sagging skin where muscle once lived. He was now dependent on others for every necessity of his dwindling life.
I told my mother to step out of the way as I bent down to talk to my father. His words were clear, but he refused to accept the reality. I looked deep into his sunken eyes. He conceded. My heart sank as I dialed 911 for an ambulance.
“911, what is your emergency?” I calmly told the operator our emergency. She patiently listened as I explained the current incident and gave her the necessary medical background of what the paramedics would be facing.
Within minutes two paramedics were walking down the hallway, opening their kits to start assessing the situation. Their blood pressure cuff couldn’t register a blood pressure despite their repeated attempts. They glanced at each other, nodded, then in a casual way said let’s try another cuff. They softly asked my father the typical questions: ”Did you hit your head when you fell?” “Have you had anything to drink today?” “What is today’s date?”
Purposefully alert and focused, my father answered their questions. In that moment he seemed so frail, so small and childlike, understanding the importance of giving the right answer.
After what seemed an eternity to a concerned bystander, the paramedics strongly suggested a trip to the hospital. I watched my father look those men in the eyes as they said “Sir, we would like to take you to the hospital. Will you go with us?” Sitting on the floor outside the bathroom with no use of his legs and labored breathing, my father said, “I’ll go.”
There were no words for the emotions swirling inside me but I felt a profound peace at the gentle, respectful, caring these 2 strangers extended. God’s presence was felt through the compassion of those 2 paramedics that day.
About Kate Powers: Published author, speaker and coach, Kate shares information, experience and useful tools to help women rethink their limiting beliefs, incorporate their values in all areas, reduce emotional baggage and move forward with confidence and knowing. Kate has been a passionate advocate for her clients for over 10 years and recently released her second book.
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