Monday, July 21, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Cid Goes Home

I never dreamed the relationship Cid and I had - and how it evolved – would ever be one of the confessions he felt he had to make before receiving the last rites. In a small way I was honoured, but my devastation overshadowed that.

After the priest left we started to arrange for Cid to go home. There was nothing more the hospital could do and we knew it and it was obvious that Cid wanted to be ‘home’ once more.

Just before we left the hospital the nurses showed me how to administer Cid’s nebulizer and to regulate his oxygen. They also let me take home a machine that measured the blood oxygen saturation levels. It attached to his finger and gave a continuous reading. After I had been through my little bit of training, one by one the nurses of the unit came to say good-bye to Cid. We knew it was going to be the last time and again I was impressed with how people reacted to Cid. He was instantly likable – no - lovable – and it was obvious they had been touched by this man while they cared for him.

His uncle had gone to Lethbridge and brought back Cid’s mother, and she waited at his condo while his uncle came to the hospital and ‘took him home’. I knew his uncle wanted to help in some way, and that being the strong masculine person who helped Cid get from the hospital into his condo was what he needed to do. It was awkward being the one on the ‘outside’ of the family – but I felt that I deserved to be alongside Cid as much as they did and I held my place firmly.

Cid walked into his condo building under his own steam while I trailed the oxygen machine along behind him. He looked around the lobby with great interest as we waited for the elevator and you could see his shoulders sag as he entered his own home once more. We had already talked about how hysterical his mother was going to be and he had visibly steeled himself to this meeting while we rode along in the car and his mother had been mentioned. I had reached across into the front seat and given him my hand and he had squeezed it and then held it almost desperately. It’s not that Cid didn’t love his mother - it was quite the opposite. They were extremely close. It was just that his mother was known for being ‘excitable’.

As he stepped through the front door, his mother launched herself at him and threw her arms around his neck and screamed his name. I could see that he wasn’t strong enough to hold her and himself up and I motioned for the uncle to help Cid and take the mother off him. From what I could gather from the Italian that flew around the room, Cid was telling her 'he was okay – he was okay'.

Eventually we had him settled on the couch as comfortably as we could and we tried to get into a routine. The condo was small – a one-bedroom with a living/dining room and a small kitchen. His mother immediately took over the kitchen and began making food. Cid looked around his condo and said “I like what you’ve done with the place Aims” and we both laughed.

That day turned into a small family reunion with his mother cooking and the three of us trying to keep up with the food that came out of the kitchen. Cid kept bringing the conversation back to English so I wouldn’t be left out and his mother would shake her head a bit and frown before carrying on. I kept an eye on the machines and regularly gave Cid his nebulizer and checked his blood oxygen levels. When evening rolled around we got Cid into his bed and I set the alarm for giving him his nebulizer. His uncle took the couch and his mother took an easy chair while I curled up at the foot of Cid’s bed so I wouldn’t have far to go and I could shut off the alarm without waking the others.

I kept the curtains open so I could study and memorize Cid’s face in every light possible and I watched his chest rise and fall - rise and fall. As I listened to the sound of his harsh breathing as it filled the bedroom and floated away in the dark, I admitted to myself how terrified I was. I was afraid he was going to stop breathing right there and then – and I felt scared and alone as I sat in the dark watching his beloved face – and shaking.

25 comments:

dawn said...

Wow, I am the first to comment, lucky me. I would have been terrified too. I am sure your presence was a comfort to him.

I Beatrice said...

I was a nurse, as you know - so I had seen many people die before I was 25.

Nothing can ever prepare you though, for the grief which comes with seeing someone near and dear to you struggle for life. That is terrible almost beyond bearing - but you somehow bore it, and were there for Cid when he most needed you. That at least must be of comfort to you as you remember it all now...

rosiero said...

It is not pleasant watching someone you love die and studying them intensely to soak up all the contours of their being so that you will never forget them. It must have been so heart-rending for you.

david mcmahon said...

You have been through so much - and you tell us so much in so many amazing ways.

(Off post, I'm so grateful for your comment telling me the book has arrived - that's great news)

I'd love to see you write one ....

softinthehead said...

aims - so sad - the inevitability of it all. I admire you so much to have been able to write it all down and share it with all of us.

Leatherdykeuk said...

I'm sure there was nowhere on earth he would rather have been.

Lane said...

I can just picture the four of you in Cid's small condo. Heartbreaking.
I'm glad Cid was in his own home, surrounded by those who loved him.

Mima said...

I'm glad that you managed to get him home, and felt up to looking after him there, I can totally understand him not wanting to die in hospital.

Melanie said...

Well done Aims for staying with him where you were needed instead of being pushed aside. In times of grief people are thoughtless without meaning to be- they can't see over their own pain.

What a long night that must've been with little sleep. It's good that you were strong for him.

I've been tagged for "5 things you love". Would you like to join in? Details on my blog.

Hugs,
Melanie
p.s. 2 wicker baskets full have been reaped so far.

John-Michael said...

Those richly coloured threads, spun in moments of deep significance and meaning, are beautifully evident in the tapestry that is your Character. And I find comfort and peaceful enjoyment in the honour of being allowed to wrap my Self in it ... as you share your Self with me. Thank you, Precious Aims.

Lovingly ...

Living the Dream said...

The love that you and Cid have shared, nothing can diminish, you lay there, holding him, feeling scared,there for him to the finish. He will always be a part of you till your own days turn golden, for his love and friendship, laughter and tears, you will always be beholden. God bless you aims.

aims said...

I can't express what all these comments mean to me.

My heart aches constantly these days as I am writing this portion of the story. More so than any other time. And your comments -

Well - thank you for them.

Mae said...

I know it hard watching your love ones in pain and even more so on their dying bed.

Joy T. said...

As a mother to three children...I 'get' Cid's mom. Cid was very lucky to have all of you there for him. It's such a hard thing to go through and I'm sure everyone brought strength to each other.

Miranda said...

I spent the Whole Of Yesterday reading your story. I hope you don't mind my intrusion. I found you in the morning and when I looked up and took a breath it was 5 in the evening! Boy. You write beautifully. So honest, so sore.

I'm sorry that life has dealt you this hand but you seem to be so strong.

You have a fan in East Africa...

Maggie May said...

What a story this is....... heart wrenching & every other kind of emotion you could think about!

Merisi said...

I agree with David , you are a great writer! I am sorry you had to go through so much, and wish you all the best for the future.

lisaschaos said...

It had to be so hard for you.

Stinking Billy said...

aims, baby, I keep wondering how you are going to "top this one", but you always do. It isn't just what you write, but also what we can feel you repressing. You have been 'in the zone' right from the start of your story and I doubt whether you could come out of it now if you wanted to? Amazing!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I know how difficult this has been for you to approach this part of the story.

CJ xx

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

It takes courage to write down/document the end of a life and all so eloquently too. But Cid would be very proud of you and how you are imortalising him in such a fine way. You have great compassion AIMS.

Lehners in France said...

Aims, You have written this beautifully. It's such an awful experience to go through. I admire you for having the courage to write about it, something I could never do. Debs x

Daryl said...

Its gets harder and harder to process .. and I suspect its hard for you to write even from a distance of - how many? - years ...

You are a tough one my friend and my admiration grows with each post

Catching up now that I am back .. you are my first stop!

:-Daryl

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Dear Aims - thought I would have a lot to catch up with, but this part has obviously been so hard for you to re-live and write. I can't imagine what you must be going through, but send love. M xx

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