John Michael

A week ago today I had to make the difficult decision to have my brother removed from life support. He had gone into cardiac arrest a few days before. They worked on him for 30 minutes and brought him back. He had heart damage, a huge hematoma on his brain and was experiencing liver and kidney failure. There was no hope for recovery.

I had carried a picture of my brother, in my bible, for many years. A few years back my sister Sharon and I did DNA and we were able to find him. He was a nice guy with the gift of gab and many great stories to tell. His adoptive parents had been wonderful and he had two sisters who were also adopted. Unfortunately my brother also had a dark side. He was an addict who struggled with drugs and mental illness. After a while it was necessary to set up boundaries. Sharon and I have always kept in touch with him but were not able to spend a lot of time with him. 

The last week has been a crazy one for my sister and I. We tried to find any paperwork that could help with decision making. Wills, DNR’s or health care proxy. He lived at the knights Inn in Endwell so he only had a room. We found nothing we were looking for. What we did find was a sad living situation. It was heartbreaking to see how he had been living.

 Finally they called his primary and she had me listed as an emergency contact. Then I went to the hospital and I went through his personal items and found his health care proxy in his wallet. He had me listed as his proxy. I talked to his sister in Arizona and let her know. All decisions were made with her on speaker phone. First with the ICU team and then with palliative care.

When they removed him from all medical assistance , they allowed my sister Shron to be in the room. He continued to breath on his own. Sharon and I stayed until the evening then headed home. I expected a phone call during the night. The next day we went back and because he was continuing to breath on his own they would not allow Sharon and I in the room together. It was a different Nurse manager that day. I cannot say anything nice about her so I will not say anything more.  I took Sharon home and went back to the hospital because there were more decisions to be made. They were going to move him to a different floor and Lourdes hospice was going to evaluate him the next morning. 

I had a nice conversation with his attending nurse. We talked about mental illness and addiction and she understood both. She sent the aids in to reposition him and when they left his breathing started to slow down. Within the half hour he passed away. So there we were just my brother and I. He had trusted me with his life.

I am glad his struggle is over. I am glad he does not have to go back to the Knights Inn. The moment he passed he opened his eyes, He took a breath and then closed his eyes and he was gone. I believe he knew I was there and I also believe he was looking at Jesus.

Rest in peace my little brother.

3 thoughts on “John Michael

  1. I am so sorry to hear of John’s passing. Over the years John would come and go out of my life, depending on what he was doing physically or psychologically. John would always let me know when he was coming into town and going West. John would always tell me, he would always keep me as a good friend but would contact me when he needed to talk. We went many years without seeing or talking with each other. I hate to say it, about 30 years.When John contacted me, he had just moved back to the area to take care of his adopted Mom and we had a lengthy lunch in the Vestal Nirchies. He was very happy to have a speidie sub.. Up until this point, I never knew he was adopted. He also told me he was going to start searching for his real mother and family. He called me again to inform me that he had found your mother and both of you. He was so excited. You really were the stars in his life. I had not heard from him until 3 years ago, when he was planning( finally) to come to our high school class reunion. He never appeared because he recently broke his arm and needed surgery and pain meds. He had been clean and sober for years and last time I received a text message he was graduating from Helio rehab and was very happy and was going to need sometime to get reestablished in the community. I am sorry, I did not know where he was living or I would have tried to get him some help. I want you to know how happy you and your sister made him over the years. He was thrilled that all of you were able to reunite. Thank you for taking good care of my good friend. I know that taking someone off life support is very difficult, because, I unfortunately needed to make that decision last Oct.25 2019. I and her husband needed to take my sister off life support.

    God Bless you and keep the fun memories alive of John. He did have a kind heart and gentle soul.
    Helen( Lisi) Lee


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