Sunday, July 02, 2006

Going to Kansas City

It was just a month ago when my family spoke of platelets, white blood cell counts and hemoglobin numbers. There was chemo and transfusions and hope for a few of those good days the doctors kept promising with each new treatment. Then, about a week ago, my stepfather said that he wanted nothing more. I was relieved and was ready for his pain to be over.

I was safe in Minneapolis with my own family and friends. I had geographical and emotional distance which lend themselves nicely to my defense mechanism of choice: intellectualization. I could provide support and suggest questions for the hospice nurse and social worker. I could review with my mother the health care directives that my stepfather had signed. I could do what I have always done in our family...I could guide them. I had made peace with the fact that I would never see my stepfather alive again. I planned to come down as soon as he died to help make arrangements and to provide support for my mother and sister. Then, something I never expected happened...my mother asked me to come help her care for him in his last days.

I came up with a long list of reasons why I could not help. I have no vacation or sick time. I have two small children. Our house is under construction and it's pretty chaotic right now. In the end, I realized that I needed to do it. So, I made arrangements with my supervisor to take Family Medical Leave and began planning with my family. I planned to fly to Kansas City for the last week of his life. I would keep in touch with the hospice nurse so that I would have information to help me decide when it was the right time to go.

I did not expect that time would come so quickly. I did not expect that my sister would call me on Friday morning and tell me that he had gotten much worse. I did not expect to miss my son's birthday. Yet, here I am in Kansas City, blogging on my mother's computer. I don't know what the next several days will hold.

4 comments:

Kristin said...

Well, what's happening today?

Work is BORING. Not a soul on the bus or the train. No field workers here. SG isn't even here. It remains to be seen if the borderline bionic duo will stir up some injustice.

Susan Raffo said...

vikki, love, you're in my heart and i'm glad you're blogging. who knew that this innocent little trend would become friend, processor, lifeline literally and figuratively.

Anonymous said...

hey vikki
way to listen and know what it is that you need to do...for yourself, for your mother and for your family. You are in my thoughts. When is Miguels birthday?
peace & love
leigh

Luisa said...

Leigh - Miguel's birthday is tomorrow (July 4th - somehow appropriate to his personality :-) We'll be grilling and hanging out in the backyard if you feel like stopping by.

Vikki - I know I'll talk to you later, but I love you and miss you and I know that in the end you'll be glad that you were there.