The next morning I sang Happy Birthday to David and gave thanks to the Lord for his life. The staff came in to wish us well and to say their goodbyes. One of them recommended I check out the facility before leaving the hospital. At first her advice seemed strange until I learned it was not the acute rehab center David was being moved to but to a skilled nursing facility instead, which provided specialized care for those who needed long-term care to recover and were not able to be cared for at home.
Not only was I surprised and confused but I had this sense of urgency to find out the details of how and who had made the decision and what criterion was used for this determination. The hospital’s Psychologist came to talk to me and discussed the fact that paperwork stated David was at Rancho Scale 3 and the acute rehab required at least a 4. In addition to that, he explained that David could not keep his head up on his own and his response to showing tongue and 2 fingers was too slow to what it prevented his admission to the acute rehab center. With tears in my eyes, I insisted he verified David’s stage on the Rancho Scale and at my request he sent for a physical therapist to do the assessment.
My trust had been placed on the Lord and this was the opportunity for me to show my faith in Him and to let go. I didn’t know what all of this meant but I was certain God was at our side. There had to be a purpose why all this was happening in the manner it was unfolding.
All of a sudden, 2 nurses and a CNA came in the room to welcome David. They introduced themselves and then continued to assure me they would take good care of David and that I didn’t have to worry about him. They mentioned this was David’s new home now and commented I could leave, that he was in good hands and that I could visit him at any time I wished to do so.
I went into a panic. This was not what I had planned. I had not been told I was leaving David. It had already been such a stressful and emotional day, I couldn’t believe this was happening. I broke down. I was crying so deeply it felt as if I couldn’t breathe. I picked up the phone and called Eddy. He said he was leaving Segafredo immediately to meet me at the nursing facility.
As they tried to console me, the night Supervisor came to see me and realized the situation. I begged her to allow me to stay and promised to remain very quiet. I explained how I felt blind-sided to it all and begged her to make an exception. She asked the other nurses to bring me a special chair so that I could sleep and apologized to me for the poor protocol on the hospital’s way of handling David’s exit. She asked for me to understand the exception she was making that evening but that I couldn’t stay after that. She reassured me I was welcome to visit David anytime. I hugged her and thanked her.
Eddy came in and assessed the situation. I broke down again but this time it was of joy of seeing him there. He offered to stay but I wasn’t emotionally ready to leave. Eddy told David that many of his friends came to his party and wished him well. He thanked everyone for allowing me to stay with David, I gave him a kiss and he left to join Ana Carolina.
It was David’s birthday. It felt as if I had been through labor pains
the entire day. One day I will be in the full light of our Lord and see the big picture but for now I was learning how to deeply trust God even when I couldn’t understand. I had to let go. I rolled the curtain, turned off the lights, stood still and quietly fell asleep.
We keep in our hearts and prayers so many special people at the Jackson Memorial ICU in Miami: Leo (PA), Leslie, Marbel, Katherine, Miguel and Jillian (RIP) and from the 9th floor so many to thank but specially: Irene, Mary K, Alex, Dexter, Natasha, Ivette and Michel. To priests Fr. Dominique and Fr. Martin thank you for your beautiful ministry and commitment.
(Psalms 46: 2-3; Proverbs 3:5-6)