I think I have decided to call my [fantasized] book Mary, I Need You. The words don't have a lot of pizazz in them when you see it written on the page, but believe me when you hear the them come from across the hall in the wee hours of the morning by the one who's named you his health care surrogate sounding old or sick or scared or a combination of all three they can make even a sound sleeper like me come alive. Moms and caregivers should be able to relate to the book.
Normally I don't move very fast. Yet, I continue amaze myself at how quickly I can go from a deep sleep on one side of the hallway to standing by my father's bedside before he gets the second "Marrrrry" out. Adrenaline is an amazing thing. Adrenaline is my friend.
I imagine Dad's arrival at the Pearly Gates something like this: He stands at attention with his hand to his forehead in a crisp salute. "Reporting for duty, Sir, " Dad says using his Captain's voice no longer weakened from age and illness. St. Peter chuckles to himself about having another sailor aboard who must be taught in heaven he no longer needs to be in charge.
I think we should call the hospice triage team. After all, one of the reasons we opted for hospice (in my understanding) was to eliminate visits to the emergency room. Because there was a lack of any sign that would definitely point to a heart attack or imminent death we both agreed to go back to bed to await what would happen next. First I called hospice and, thankfully, was assured by the nurse on duty that they could - and would - send someone out to check on dad, give him some anxiety medication from the "special" box and notify his nurse in the morning. It was my call. I decided to wing it.
It took awhile for it all to sink in, but here's what I finally realized. My father is old. He's got cancer. His mate of 60+ years is gone. Most of his friends are gone. He has aches and pains that keep him from being active. He does not look forward to many more days/weeks/years of this kind of life. He is a bit of a grumpus. He is an engineer. He is very practical. It makes sense to him that a life, which has been a good one, should be over sooner rather than later. He's ready to go.
Apparently what I see in the middle of the night is not a man who is afraid to die. It's a man who is afraid to hurt. A man who doesn't want to be alone in the dark wondering how bad the pain that kills him is going to be. Two sides of the same coin? He calls out to me, not so much for help but for companionship. It kind of makes sense that if I'm there to boss around, then he can feel in control.