Love or Duty?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Twice a day, for four days now, we’ve been in the SICU to see my dad. During the first three days, his lucidity wavered from completely unconscious to opening his eyes when we called him and even looking in our direction, though with no reaction whatsoever.

The fourth and fifth days, however, he went back to being completely unresponsive. It’s been deflating, to say the least, after we believed him to be making such great progress.

By the fourth night (last night), we had to start discussing the likelihood that we’d be in this for the long haul. I think my mom, sister, and I were all hoping (though none of us ever mentioned it out loud… I guess we didn’t want to jinx ourselves) that he would make consistent progress and be released from the SICU by the end of the week. Requirements for release? To be fully conscious.

At this point, it doesn’t look like he’ll be leaving the SICU anytime soon. And that’s why we had to start the discussion of how we could come up with a routine. And here’s where it just gets depressing….

Visiting him twice a day, every day, just isn’t sustainable. It’s exhausting for us, both physically and mentally. My sister pointed out that, realistically, our presence there probably isn’t helping. I think we all want to believe that if we’re by his side, and we talk to him, and we encourage him and rally behind him, he’ll hear us and wake up. But… the reality is, he’s probably not hearing us. And in that case, we have to consider how the routine affects us.

Well, it’s not affecting us in a healthy way.

This afternoon, we had to take the train down to Kaohsiung, about an hour away. My dad has a colleague/family friend there who is going to help us take care of some medical insurance stuff, so we met with her to take care of some business. Afterwards, she and her family invited us to stay for dinner.

And that’s when we were confronted with the decision:

It would be awesome to actually be social and catch up with our family friends. But it would also mean that we’d miss the 6:00 PM visiting period.

I want to say that our love told us the right thing to do was to head back up to Tainan to see my dad. I want to say that we wrestled with the decision.

But we didn’t.

We had already talked about it last night, and we knew we wanted to stay for dinner. I think it took us all of 30 seconds to decide. We couldn’t drag ourselves back up to Tainan out of some sense of duty. And furthermore, doing so didn’t mean that we loved him any less.

Yeah, I felt like shit when 6:00 PM rolled around, and we were sitting at this fancy restaurant 40 miles away, instead of at my dad’s side. I pictured the mass of people flowing into the SICU, but my dad’s room remaining empty.

But we just couldn’t do it. Doing our own thing tonight was something we needed to do.

I hope the guilt will pass soon….

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