Dying is a lonely journey. Not only for the sick person but also for the family. As hard as we may try to avoid death, the truth is that we do a lousy job of it. Science and medicine will certainly postpone it, even staying healthy might seem to delay it, but the harsh reality is that death does not wait for you, it does not ask you, and it does not listen to you. Death ignores your feelings and wants; you do not matter to death…Death is the only certainty in life! We need to remember that our existence here is fragile, and we never have as much time with people as we think we do. If there is someone or someones out there that you love, don’t neglect that and don’t put off engaging with them because waits for no-one… Vic's Journey ended on 18 January 2013 at 10:35. She was the most courageous person in the world and has inspired thousands of people all over the world. Vic's two boys are monuments of her existence. She was an amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend. I will miss you today, tomorrow and forever my Angle Child.
This morning, when I checked the BBM status’ of my loved ones, Jared had the lyrics to Linkin Park‘s “Skin to Bone” as his status. I did not realize that it was a song’s lyrics and wondered about the weird status. Normally his status says something like “I love my beautiful Jelly Tot” or “Kirsten, my one and only”
After school, while we were waiting for Jon-Daniel to finish cricket practice, he asked me whether I had heard the song, “Skin to Bone”, before. Obviously I hadn’t but even if I had, I doubt if I would have been able to distinguish the words from the loud musical arrangement….I am not the greatest Linkin Park fan in the world!
He spoke about the lyrics and I asked him whether the song reminded him of his Mom. He said “I suppose so. When I first heard the words I thought of Mom”
“Skin to bone“, represents her frail body to him. “Steel to steel” her steely hold on life! Her refusal to give up. “Ashes to ash, dust to dust”….. the inevitable
“The promises we made” I would imagine the promise that he envisages is the unspoken promise that a parent makes at the conception of the child….. to love and hold the child – until death do them part… The promise is not supposed to end in his early teens.
“Your deception, my disgust…..” relates to his feelings of betrayal. In a way he perceives his Mom’s ill health as a betrayal. His Mom is not supposed to be this ill and suffer the way she does. Vic was supposed to be a healthy Mom. Their lives were supposed to be “normal.” “My disgust” …. the despair of his life…..Anger for his mother’s suffering! Disgust with the medical system failing her. Anger for the OI gene. He is unable to understand all the “why’s”.
“When your name is finally drawn,I’ll be happy that you’re goneAsh to ashes, dust to dust.”
Jared absolutely adores his mother. He often says “Oumie, I don’t want Mommy to die.” I have however seen the sheer helplessness in his eyes when he sees her suffering the way she does. I know that Jared too longs for his mother to be at peace, without pain – Her spirit freed from her frail, pain wretched body. So my precious grandson joins the song and broken hearted sings along with Linkin Park
“I’ll be happy that you’re gone. Ash to ashes, dust to dust….”
This weekend I saw raw resentment towards me in my little girl’s eyes.
We checked into Hospital on Saturday morning at 08:00. Vic was seriously peeved that she did not get a private room as per the doctor’s instruction. Just to aggravate the situation the lady in the opposite bed was truly strange… She was loud and used bad language. She kept arguing with her husband, she would tell him to make a sexual departure, he would storm out of the room and she would shout obscenities at him.
Then she started telling us about this wonderful neurosurgeon that she works for. She and Vic ended up comparing back-op war wounds … Of course Vic won the contest hands down! Vic then said that she had decided no more surgeries…wow! Did this set the neighbour off! She took the moral high-ground and started telling us that we must have faith and God will heal Vic. Vic was in hospital because we keep asking God to heal her. We should only ask once and then have faith…
She laid hands on Vic when I went downstairs for a cup of tea. I would never have allowed it!!
Please don’t misunderstand me – I have nothing against religion. Religion is important. I do have a problem with a person who curses and swears and behaves in the most appalling manner and then think they can cure my child. Jared said to me today “Oumie, I don’t want to be a Christian like that …”
I do not stand in judgement of anyone. It is not for me to judge. I do have a problem with the ultra-religious people who judge others…surely that is the biggest sin? As my friend Marlene used to say “Who died that you think you became God?” If you are a Christian then surely you must believe that the blood of Jesus was spilt for ALL sinners and not only a select, elite group of Christians. If you disapprove of someone’s lifestyle or actions, condemn the sin and not the person…
People who claim to be “deeply religious” have turned their backs on their loved ones because of a lifestyle choice they made. They will not allow their own sons and daughters into their homes because they disapprove of the lifestyle choice. Yes, our loved ones make decisions that we do not condone or support but does that give us the right to turn our backs on them because of that? Surely love is unconditional? Through thick and thin?
I digress… Immediately after laying hands on Vic the lady swore at her son and made a racist remark… I suppose the Jesus she proclaims only died for white South Africans…
Jared sat at hospital with us all day Saturday. He is old enough to want to do it! That young man adores his Mommy. Jon-Daniel copes in a different way. He went to a private coaching cricket lesson at the Club in the morning and then went to Nathan, his best friend. Jon-Daniel makes Vic laugh. Jared makes Vic coffee.
Two different boys with two different ways of coping and two different ways of expressing their love. Yet united in their love and despair for their mother.
Vic ended up going into theatre just before 19:00 Saturday night…she was starving!! Poor little poppet! I was really annoyed that we had to wait from 10:00 to 19:00 to see the inside of the theatre. HOWEVER, this is where there is a twist in the tale…a second surgeon appeared in the waiting area and looked at the x-rays. He was most impressed by the complexity of the fracture…He is a humerus specialist who has in-depth knowledge and experience with Osteogenesis Imperfecta! I must add that he too had never had an OI patient as old as Vic. So Vic had two specialists operating on her little arm.
By 21:15 the anaesthetist came through to tell me the operation went well and that he was sending Vic to ICU – mainly because they are petrified of the high dosages of opiates that Vic is on and how it may counteract with the medication that Vic’s on.
History was made Saturday. A doctor wrote on Vic’s file “Mother of patient to stay with her”! In the past doctors would make U-turns in the passages to avoid me and here is this wonderful man telling the ICU staff “This mother must stay”. What a bright and intelligent young man he is even if he charged double medical aid rates.
Vic was however extremely angry with me because she was sent to ICU. Vic is petrified of ICU and does not appreciate that her pain control is so much better in there than in a ward. She cannot be given the amount of opiates that she needs, for pain control, out of ICU.
I am delighted as I told the anaesthetist that the Jurnista is new and although I did not give her one Friday night as I was scared that it may adversely affect the anaesthetic and post-op pain control. (Thank you Google for the fact sheet). When he said that it is better for her to go to ICU all Vic kept saying was “No Mommy, No Mommy!” She cried. I saw the resentment in her dark, sad eyes when she looked at me.
For once I did not care. I love my child and I will do anything and everything to spare her pain.
I have to find out which anaesthetic they used. The last two procedures at the Union resulted in terrible aggression in Vic. Vicky is normally a meek and mild little soul but boy, did she rip into me and her ICU sister. She told me exactly what she did and did not think of me. It was a horrific experience. I hope and pray that it was the anaesthetic and not actual resentment towards me that triggered her hate speech.
Vic ended up spending 2.5 days in ICU. I never left her side but to go shower at home and take Jared to the urologist this morning. The ICU at a standard hospital is actually not equipped to handle someone as ill as Vic and in such a pain control programme. I also think they were too scared to be left alone with her after the tongue-lashing she gave them whilst I was showering on Sunday morning.
Well this is now behind us. We will hope and pray that the sepsis in Vic’s abdomen and spine will not attack the pins in her arm. That Vicky will get better and enjoy some Jurnista quality of life!
I want to blog on ICU’s and what we subject our loved ones to next. I am just too tired and emotionally drained to even attempt it today.
It is 20:00 and Vic has been fed, changed, powdered and medicated. She screamed in pain when I changed her. Seeing my child sick and in pain, every day of her life kills me. I am dying, painfully slowly from my child’s pain.
I don’t know how much longer I can handle this. The chronic pain I am used to but this new pain is pushing all of us over the edge.
Esther called today and wants Danie and I to go to a Spa, close by, and she and Tracey will take turns in looking after Vic… How nice is that!! But I cannot. I cannot leave Vic now. Nobody knows her body the way I do. It is too big a responsibility to hand over to anyone. She needs lots of personal help. Vic needs pain meds’ every four hours, day and night. If she misses med’s she breaks through her pain levels and then it is disastrous. What if she needs help during the night as she so often does? What if she vomits and needs me? No can do!! I cannot desert Vic. Until she breathes her last breath I will be by her side. No matter how long it takes.
Many years ago I promised Vic that I would not let her die alone.
When Jesus was praying in Gethsemane his disciples fell asleep on Him. I am so scared that I will fall asleep on Vic in her final hour. I don’t think Vic is near the end. I have been around dying people enough to know the signs. But she needs me now.