The prospect of facing a difficult decision is daunting. Who are we to say whether our brother lives or dies? But really, the choice was his when he decided to drink after being warned that further alcohol consumption would kill him. He chose this path, it is now up to us how he travels it. We have to walk beside him, make sure of his comfort and his care while waiting for the inevitable, and that's a hard seat on which to sit. Our conversations go in circles: maybe they can revive his failing kidneys, maybe his wits will return, but even so, without a functioning liver a human being can not survive, so what is the point of restoring kidney function or cognitive ability? Round and round . Ultimately all of the options present that same troubling conundrum.
Life is so much about choices, and never is it more apparent than when one is faced with a situation like this. Our choices are limited: doing nothing is not an option and yet we have little control over when we get information from the physicians; they are very busy with many patients, and so as we we wait for the phone to ring hours pass. And we have done nothing.Making the frustrating phone calls to seek information is a trying excersize in waiting as well. Long periods of time spent on hold, the same explanation to each person who answers the call, and ultimately the same response. Call back later, the nurse/doctor is busy/not in, leave a phone number, wait a few more hours. Has our brother regained his wits or is he still mad as a hatter like he was when we left him? Is he asking for us, wondering why we are not there, not remembering the hours we spent by his bedside? Or is he oblivious, comatose, serenely sleeping with no idea of our angst over his condition?
At this point in the day, it is too late to drive the hours it would take to get to him, having spent most of the day waiting for the promised doctor's phone call, but the instinct is to jump in the car and drive. The visiting hours in the ICU are very limited and our chances of getting in are slim to none. So we wait. And we worry. We question our rationalizations, our conclusions, and wonder if how we are proposing to handle this situation is the right way, even when we know there is no other way. We try to stay busy, but just hanging out the wash is exhausting, waiting for the phone to ring is exhausting, love is exhausting. The reassurance of other friends and family members takes the edge off momentarily, but doubt is sneaky and it creeps into one's thoughts on tip-toes. It is hard to be patient, very, very hard.