Kenneth John Kalishek, March 20, 1942 – March 8, 2021
So, the long ride to and from Memphis with the emotions stacked was very much a tiring ordeal.
Dad was cocooned in a “bed” that allowed them to rotate him, and apparently they had him sleeping face down, as his numbers were better that way, but it caused his nose to be a red bloody mess. My first visit, we got no real response from him, but he was still under the sedation used at night. The nurse for him, Nelson, said he’d responded right after rotating him but didn’t think he’d be “around” until later. My middle sis had also driven up from Atlanta and went up a after I had left (limit of 2 visitors), and got a squeeze of the hand from him in response to questions. My other 2 sisters also got responses from him (they’d both been up several times already), and they Face Timed with my Nephews, so they could say their love.
Monday was still up in the air on how it was to work, but a Nurse Practitioner ensured us she would get all us kids into his room with Mom so we all could be there. The doctor was also up for this plan, so she had no worries, he said he would take any heat for violating silly rules. Mom and I went in early (before we were certain all of us would be allowed in) and they had gotten Dad out of the mummy bed, and he was a touch more aware. Nelson had move the nurse monitors out into the hall, and other than is regular routine, left us to visit with him. He gave me a squeeze when we told him the tubes were coming out, the N.P. got my sisters in (the people controlling the access to the place also were lenient allowing all 3 girls to check in and get their arm bands at once, even though it is two at a time only, and Ma and I were already there), we had a bit more of a visit, and we got a few more replies, especially after saying the time was near to remove the intubation. At 12:30, Mom told them she was ready for it to be removed, they got it out at about 15 minutes later, and about 45 minutes after he breathed his last. The nurse who had spent most of the time with him came in (to hug Mom and say his quick goodbye), and left to notify the doctor. Mom and one sis left to use the restroom and the TV that had been on suddenly went to static. My other two sisters said Dad finally got to turn off the thing. His doctor came in, did the final checks and verified the death. Passed his condolences, and we left them to dealing with him. Saturday we bought Pizzas, but the rest of my time there we were fed by Ma and Dad’s friends (which was continuing after I left) and much great food was on hand. We were infested by Southern Ladies. cake cookies, brownies, cheesecake, lemon pie, oh my
I want to thank the Doctors and Nurses of the Memphis V.A. hospital. They, and most of the administration people did their very best. Thanks to Mom and Dad’s friends, who fed us. And thanks to everyone here and elsewhere who offered their prayers and condolences in this difficult time.
Now the silly. Dad’s wishes were no funeral services, and to be cremated. Mom and middle Sis got the Funeral home set up and once everything was set up, they went to acquire the body and the driver was told no such body was available. He called his office, they called us, we called the V.A. and the morgue lady hit the ceiling, demanded to know who said he wasn’t there. It turned out to be a driver for a competing funeral home trying to poach the body. We were in a bad ’70s comedy movie for a bit.
Again, thanks, y’all