MONDAY AUGUST 29, 2005
Roy Wilfred Johnston died the same day Katrina destroyed New Orleans. How appropriate since he was like a hurricane the last months of his life. Violence-In-Diapers is what I called him in my head. He was either trying to assault people, or screaming and swearing when restrained.
How painful to see your once-peaceful and intelligent father reduced to a drooling, diaper-wearing, violent maniac. My brother, sisters and I had wished he had died way before August 29. An early death would have saved us from being assaulted and seeing him being tied to his bed.
On Monday August 29, 2005, at 11:00 a.m., Dad had a heart attack and died in his hospital room while tied to his bed. They did not find him until 11:15. They revived him. They did not see the Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR). He was unconscious, but hooked to machines in Intensive Care.
My brother, sisters and I did not understand why Dad was in Intensive Care. We did not know that the hospital staff had missed the DNR. The doctor diplomatically suggested that we give permission to unplug the machines. The doctor thought that we wanted to keep Dad alive with the further brain damage he had suffered while being dead for fifteen minutes. Also, the doctor had just been yelled at by another family who had wanted to keep their loved one alive when he (the doctor) suggested that they pull the plug. How relieved the doctor was when he discovered that we had no problem with him pulling the plug. He apologized for missing the DNR.
They pulled the plug at 3:35 p.m. Dad hung on, breathing on his own, until 4:30. At 4:30, he finally let go. Amen.
I heard about Katrina destroying New Orleans on the radio as we drove to the funeral home. The story did not register because of my emotional numbness.
Have they repaired all the damage caused by Katrina? I am still working on the damage Dad caused me. I know that he did not mean to damage me emotionally. His intentions were good, but he, too, had emotional damage caused by his parents. His parents had emotional damage caused by their parents, and so on.
I can see the damage I unintentionally caused my children. Perhaps one day they will start learning to forgive me as I am learning to forgive my father.