It was a normal Monday morning. As we had for the past 158 days, Kathy and I sent the kids to school, loaded up our supplies for the day, and headed to Vancouver General Hospital.
It was a normal Monday morning. In the Lower Mainland, the sun was shining between the clouds and there were cloudbursts of rain between patches of blue sky.
It was a normal Monday morning. He was awake, alert, and responsive but he was somewhat cranky and starting to refuse care; he was done with being poked and prodded.
It was a normal Monday morning. While the doctors did their rounds, Kathy and I walked up the stairwell from the third floor to the sixteenth floor and back while we waited to go back in.
It was a normal Monday morning. The doctors delivered the news that there was nothing further they could do. Should he have another emergent dip in health, it would be against his best interests to bring him back. It would do more harm than good.
It was a normal Monday morning. I consulted with him as to what his wishes were. Did he want to fight? Or did he want to let go? Were we going to say goodbye?
It was a normal Monday morning. He wanted to come home. He had been in the hospital for 22 weeks. He had tubes sticking out of him. He had wires in his arteries. He had a hole in his throat to help him breathe, a hole in his belly where they cut him open to save his life, a hole in his side to drain the waste, and a hole in his back where his skin had degraded so far that it wouldn’t heal.
It was a normal Monday morning. I walked over to the ICU physician who gave us the news and told them that he wanted to come home. I was crying as I explained to them that he was done. He was ready for the machines to be turned off, for the tubes to come out, and for him to come home.
It was a normal Monday morning. I had one last day with him all to myself, before I had to tell our children that their Dad was going to die. I had one last day to decide if I was going to try to convince him to keep trying, to hold on for us, or if I was going to honour his wishes, let him die, and bring him home.
It was a normal Monday morning. His primary surgeon pulled me into a private room to explain that he has seen people come back from worse. The surgeon urged me to use guilt and convince him to try harder.
It was a normal Monday morning. I sat beside him, sobbing, my head on his chest, and asked him, “If I asked you to try one more time, would you?” He shook his head no. The man who would move mountains to make me happy, refused to do this for me.
It was a normal Monday morning. I decided to respect my husband’s wishes and turn off the machines. I decided to put his feelings, his desires, and his needs before mine or my children’s. I decided to say goodbye.
It was a normal Monday morning.