Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I write today from a hospital room. My father-in-law had knee surgery on Monday, and today, from the pain and medication and whatever else, he's disoriented. I've been here since noon, and he continually tells me he wants to get out of bed to go upstairs, or go outside. It's awful to have to tell him no, he can't get out of bed, and there is no upstairs, he's on the top floor of the hospital. I feel cruel, and it's heartbreaking to hear him tell me to shut up and get out of his way.

I love my father-in-law like a second father, and I hate to see him in pain. Currently, he's assailing my following the Buddhist lay precepts. He drifts in and out of sleep, and keeps trying to take his oxygen supply off, and pulls his fingers out of the vitals monitor. I continually coax him into putting his finger back into the clamp. I can't imagine doing this 24/7.

1 responses:

Milena said...

Reading your post hit me hard, having too recently lost my own father to late stage lung cancer. Remaining at a loved one's bedside who is ailing is the hardest work. My sister had the 24/7 duty for the 3.5 months my father struggled from time of diagnosis to passing, and while we are all irrevocably changed by his death, it has left her a different person, no doubt.

It is difficult to reconcile that there may no gratitude from the receiver, due to medications, disorientation, and their own inner demons. There may be little response to offerings for conversation or food as they doze off or attempt to manage their pain, they may be irritable for no reason.

Just being with your father-in-law is wonderful, you are both better for it.

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