Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Robert Baker - 2/10/43-2/6/07

Due to the death of my Father-in-law, the past week has been rather crazy. Now that things have quieted down again, I just wanted to take a minute to remember this very loving man, Robert Baker.

Bob was diagnosed with a brain tumor the Friday after Thanksgiving and was operated on that Monday. Although the surgeon successfully removed the tumor, we were advised that there were many cells left behind that even additional treatments of chemo and radiation would never get rid of them all. It was just a matter of time and we were all hoping to enjoy another year with him before the inevitable.

There were some mile-stones that we had set in our minds for him. For my husband it was the Rod Stewart concert and his 64th birthday in February, Red Sox games in the spring, the birth of our baby (Bob's 6th grandchild) in June, vacations and trips to the beach throughout the summer, and if we were really lucky, Notre Dame football games in the fall. The saddest part of all was that he didn't make to any of those milestones. In fact he came within only one day of making it to the Rod Stewart concert on 2/2.

On Thursday morning, 2/1, my Mother-in-law called to inform us that Bob was having terrible pains in his lower extremities. She had taken him to the hospital that morning for his regular radiation treatment, they then sent him to the ER and by 4pm that afternoon he was admitted to MICU.
At 6pm that evening, I received the call at home that a DNR was signed and they were planning on intubating him due to his oxygen levels being so low. We knew then that this could be the beginning of the end, but were hoping that his stubborn personality would prevail and he would end up surprising us all once again.

Bill was able to get there ahead of time, but I didn't make it into the hospital in time to talk to him one last time before he was intubated. The sad part about that for me is that I can't remember the last conversation I had with him. Was it that Sunday while visiting him at home or perhaps on the phone...I just can't remember?

Bill spent as much time as possible with him in the hospital that weekend and I finally ran over on Monday during my lunch break. It just so happened that this was the exact moment that my Mother-in-law was speaking to the Doctor and the news wasn't good - he had 3 blood transfusions that weekend but nothing was helping. The infection in his lungs wasn't getting any better and with his platelets so low, things did not look promising. He was also being treated for pain, but they had no idea where or what was causing it and it just seemed like one thing after another was piling up at that point.

At 9am the next morning the entire family met with his Doctors and the final decision was made to extabate him. By 9:45am his breathing tube was removed and approximately 25 minutes later, with his family by his side and praying all the way, he took his final breath.
I couldn’t imagine death coming so peacefully like that but it really was a wonderful thing. Just knowing that he didn’t suffer - no gasping for air or any of the other horrible things that I feared could happen. Instead he quietly took his last breath and that was the end.
We continued to pray over him even after the reality that he had passed had struck us all. It was as though we were simply holding his hand through prayer as he transitioned to a better place. A place that we can only hope really exists. After a few more tearful goodbye’s the group of us left with jokes and wise-cracks already being made as we walked back down the hallway.

Bob wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

(Kevin, Bob, Sandy, Bill, Nanie and Matthew - at Matthew's Christening, 2004)

No comments: