November 13 – 14, 2013
Back in the ICU
Dr. Chernish bent close to JD so he could hear him over the noise of the machine assisting his breathing. He basically repeated all that was said to me in the consulting room.
You are out of options. Even if I had some new miracle anti-cancer drug to give to you, I wouldn’t be able to do it. You are too weak. You want life support but you will likely die as we put you on it. You have fought a tremendous fight but now it is over.
JD’s first words to me after Dr. C left were I want to go on life support.
My first words back to him were Handsome, if that is what you want done, then that is what we are going to do.
Next came the following, half-gasped, half-mimed: Will I be able to write notes while on life support? I said I didn’t know but would ask the nurse.
No, said the nurse. When you are on life support you are kept unconscious the whole time, and you don’t regain consciousness, ever. Oh, I said. I didn’t know that.
I relayed this information to my husband. Oh, he said, I didn’t know that. I said me either. We need to talk, he said. I asked my mom and the pastor to leave us for a few moments.
Get a paper and pen, said my husband. Now write this down and leave spaces for notes: Plan A, Plan B, Plan C. I did so. What is Plan A? I asked, pen poised to attack the paper.
Stay as is.
Go on life support.
I don’t know yet.
This was my moment. Don’t ask me where I got the strength or the words, but I put down the pen, grabbed his hand, and this is what I said.
Well Handsome, I have been thinking a bit about Plan C, and I think it has some good points to it. With Plan C you will be able to be with your mom again, and your Auntie Hazel and your grandparents. You will no longer be struggling to breathe. And, for you it won’t seem like very long until we are together again.
Yes. Plan C is the one, came the instant reply.
OK, I said. Let me talk to the nurse and find out what happens next.