As I sit here typing and thinking of my younger brother in the hospital so terminally ill, I realize just how fragile life can be.
My brother was diagnosed a year and a half ago with colorectal cancer. His prognosis at that time was classified as "poor." He went through extensive chemotherapy, radiation therapy and then surgery. He seemed to be doing well until December of 2009 when he went for a PET scan. The scan revealed a small mass that appeared to be a hematoma. His oncologist told him to enjoy the Christmas Holiday and to return in three months for another PET scan.
One evening in early January he became very ill and was taken to the emergency room. He had been in severe pain and was vomiting. Another PET scan was done, which revealed that he had suspicious carcinogenesis (more cancer) in his abdomen. Surgery was perfomed two weeks later to find that his cancer had spread extensively and he was inoperable.
Not to make this posting very long, my brother is now in critical condition in the hospital. Many feel that the doctors were negligent. I did at first, but unfortunately they are not GOD, and PET scans are not the "find all" of any cancer. I have worked for a surgeon 11 of my 27 years and know that many do care about their patients. It is difficult to understand that because many physicians do not show compassion or have a difficult time showing it. There are the small group who do, but in all my years working for physicians I found that most do not.
I sit at my brother's bed side and watch him in so much pain and feel so helpless wondering what is it I can do to help him. I tried to talk to him but if you mention anything about "dying" either he will throw you out of his room, or he doesn't want to talk about it. This is okay as this is part of the process to "death and dying." I have found other ways to comfort him and one was just to be there and get him whatever he needs. I am sure that one day soon he will pass away and life will go on. He will leave behind a lovely wife, three children, six grandchildren, a sister and brother, and a 82 year old mother.
Whoever reads this posting I want you to know that I am okay. The advice I would give, however, to anyone that has a loved one who is dying is be there and just listen. Never argue, judge, or tell them what to do. Most important, do NOT walk into their hospital room or bedroom and ask "how are you feeling" when you know they are dying. Just say "hi" thought I would stop in to chat for a while. If you know they like a particular food and can still eat bring it, if they can only drink then bring them what you know they like or ask for, if they cannot eat or drink and are just lying there unable to talk then just bring yourself. Also, I want to let everyone know that they still can hear. Therefore, enter and say "hi" and your name that you are there. They will appreciate it, I'm sure.
Wishing everyone a Blessed Sunday and most of all, "Live Life as if it were your last day as tomorrow is never promised to anyone."