Saturday, March 13, 2010

There are no words

But I will try.
January 12th, my brother, Rob, came home on leave from Afghanistan to his family in New York. On January 15th, while at a party, Rob collapsed. It was determined while he was in the hospital in New York that he suffered a stroke. He used to be a paratrooper, yeah, he jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, until he broke his leg a few times. Separate times. "They" think that clot that caused the stroke came loose from the breaks.
Rob was transferred to Walter Reed and while he was there they found that he had cancer. Further tests showed that it was stage 4 pancreatic cancer with liver and spleen involvement.
They moved him to Mankato, our hometown to be closer to family and friends. The goal was to fatten him up and make him stronger so he could have chemo. He lost 50-60 pounds while he was overseas.
After a few weeks of being in the Mankato hospital, he was moved to a swing bed facility at the Waseca hospital. He was there barely a week when he another stroke. One that incapacitated him. His breathing was down to two breaths a minute and his heart rate was at 70. That was when he was put on hospice care or palliative care.
On February 21st the nurses decided to get him up for a shower (the man couldn't sit up by himself, I just don't know how they were going to give him a shower) and his heart gave out. that's the time line. Now here come the touchy feely part.
I went down to Mankato when my mother went because she wouldn't be able to handle it alone. She wasn't allowed to be in New York with her son. I KNOW! Why? I don't know why his wife told her not to come. So, she was finally able to see him when he came to Mankato. We got there on Feb. 7th, my birthday. When we got there, we could tell we were not welcome, but we wanted to help out in anyway we could. It was hard to see him the way he was. He couldn't get comfortable. He wasn't given enough pain meds, that's for sure. When he was moved to Waseca, I took mom home. Her depression was so bad that she just couldn't keep up with her cleaning, something I know WAY to much about. She was also battling some alcohol abuse and health problems with no insurance. So while I cleaned her house (including fixing some leaks in the plumbing. Oh yeah, I am that good.) I also found her some free health care and very low cost counseling.
We had planned on going to visit Rob on the next Thursday but we got a call on Wednesday by the social worker, telling us that we need to come and see him right away. He had been declining some before the big stroke that doomed him right before we got the call.
I packed up everything, I had planned on going home that Friday anyway, and made the reservations at one of the local hotels.
The trip there was uneventful but when we got to the hospital, it was more of the same. We were treated like we were unwelcome.
More later. My damn fingernails are too long to type more.