Monday, November 22, 2010
Life as I knew it changed forever on Sept 10th. That's the day Joe was scheduled for a deep cleaning and a tooth pulled and this required to be put under at the hospital. I got the call around 10am if I remember right. The news was bad. Joe was unable to breath on his own post surgery and was rushed into ICU and placed on a ventilator.
Life as Joe knew it changed that day as well. He went from being a very social, active, full of life, non-stop talker, flirter, charmer, smiley man to being in bed hooked up to a machine to help him breath.
For the 20 days he spent in ICU I spent 40 hrs a week by his bedside holding his hand, trying to cheer his spirits, keeping him company, praying and crying.
He was then transferred up to Portland on Sept 30th. That move forever changed Joe once again. As the days passed i watched his love of life drain out of him as depression set in due to isolation in a room where his view of the world around him was a window looking at tree tops and the back of a huge purple metal door. His only connection to the outside world was his family and staff who visited him 7 days a week.
I got to go up every Friday and Saturday to be with him. I was his voice as he was no longer able to talk on the vent. He had no way of calling for help when he was in pain, needed changed or repositioned. The staff were unpredictable on how often he was checked on. With out his staff and family at his bedside he would have suffered even more than he already had to solely because of his physical inability to use a call bell device, no air could pass to the vocal cords to allow him to be heard when he cried and the eerie silent yelling.
Dan(my coworker) got to go up every Sunday and Tuesday to be by his bedside. Family fill the rest of the days when we could not be there.
Joe has been in Portland for 54 days now and his spirit is all but totally dead. He seldom ever smiles now. He is glad when staff and family first arrive but them his spirit glazes over again and he is so sad when it is time for us to go.
Joes and his staffs lives forever changed again as of the 21st when we found out that he can never return back to the group home that has been his home for the last 13 years of his life. He can not come back home to us because he will have to be on the ventilator for the rest of his life to help him breath and there is no way for our company to get vent certified so he can return back to his home.
Dec 8th will be his 90 days away from his home and that is the day his funding has to change hands. That is the day Dan and I lose our jobs as Joes caregiver. That is the day my company will no longer serve him as a client. He may not have a home found to move to by that day and that is very sad. It is a very difficult process finding a home that is vent certified that has an open bed for him to move to.
I am praying one can be found close to home so he will still have family contact and us departing staff can still go and visit him. but there is a possibility he will have to move to a different state to find an open bed in a vent certified home. I am praying hard this will not be the case.
I am emotionally devastated about losing Joe. He has been a huge part of my life for 8 years. Joe was never just a job. He became like family to me. Losing him feels like having your child ripped from your arms and there is nothing you can do about it but let it happen.
God has already opened up a door for a new job position at another house for me and I am in prayer about it. I interview for the position on Wednesday @ 2pm. I am thankful this position opened up as I know it was 100% God as the timing for this opening was a God kind of timing.
My days are numbered concerning my long drives up to Portland to visit Joe. I have only 5 more visits I am scheduled to make and that last visit on the 4th of dec will be my hardest visit of all as that is the final one on company time. Also knowing that come Dec 8th if Joe can not leave the place he is at in Portland he is losing his voice unless his family can go up 7 days a week he will then spend hours and hours alone in a room looking at the back of a large purple door totally silent unable to call for help and unseen from the hallway and at the mercy of waiting for a staff to poke their head in to check on him at no regular intervals.
My heart is breaking for Joe because of this. I pray he can find a new home before Dec 8th when he loses 2/3 of his support system due to the state and federal government cutting all his funding to us once he has not lived at his home for 90 days.