"Daddy sleep now "
He was 32 years of age. A devotee of motorcycles, football and full life desire. A half year earlier he'd married his soul mate. The rings were tied to a ribbon carried by their pride, their little daughter. With smile on her little face; she waited anxious, hopping on a chair, until the moment came that she could give the rings to her mother and father. And full of pleasure she looked on them when she came running towards them.
She had the same look on her little face as we did when she came to visit her father, who stayed with us on the ward since a couple of weeks. Carefully she entered his room and with a big smile on her face she would say:"Daddy, wake up please." And then he would try his best to look down at her and answer her with a smile.
Soon after the wedding, Jake got sick. He suddenly had many epileptic attacks and went to the hospital to find the cause of this. He got bad news. A fast growing tumor in his brain caused him having these attacks. Heavy ones. Every attack caused more damage and Jakes condition got worse. And there was no way that the doctors could operate on him.
His wife would put the little girl on his bed. She didn't say much and just caressed him on his cheek or on his hands."Daddy wake now?"
his way out
The visits didn't last long. His wife tried to feed Jake and in between the attacks they had their conversations. Talks about his wishes, his future, the future of their little girl and hers. In the mean time, the little blond girl enjoyed herself with the other patients or at the nurses' station. And behind the closed door of Jakes room, you could hear them cry.
Jake was going downhill fast. The attacks became unbearable for him while the tumor kept growing and damaged his brain more. But Jake made a decision. To save him more pain and decline after each attack, he decided along with his wife and several doctors, that when he had an attack that would last more than 10 minutes, he would get an injection. An OD of painkillers and heavy muscle relaxing medication. Just a fatal dose.
Every following attack, the tension got worse. For his wife, for us, while his little girl was playing with her doll in the living room of the ward. During the attacks she was removed from Jakes room, to spare her from the sight of her suffering dad, so she would remember him with a smile on his face. Watching him would be too much for her at that age. And after every attack, when she went home with her mother, the only thing she saw was her daddy sleeping again. She threw him a little kiss and just said: "nighty night daddy."
The staff at the ward got professional help. Taking care of Jake was hard. Most of them were of the same age and the pressure of knowing that each attack could be The attack made it harder for them. No one wanted to be witness of this while he was taken care of. No one wanted to be the one who had to give him the final injection.
But that day had to come. At 13.00 his wife came running through the hall."Help him!" The two of us ran into the room, and looked at our watches. This was the one. We called the doctor after 8 minutes and he arrived in time. That day was Jakes last day. Accompanied by his mate he got what he wanted.
45 Minutes later, there was total peace and quiet in his room. The little girl came in with her mother, a smile on her face. Putting her little finger on to her lips and looking at us:"Shttt, daddy sleeping."
Fortunally there are laws in our country that can make it possible for people like Jake; to make a decision about how they would like their life to end when there is no cure possible. Jake could die in a human way.