Return to site

Intensive Care

the ICU is a world of care and love

We had a long, tough day yesterday, but can absolutely *feel* all the Love, Light and Warmth being sent through the ether by you all ♥

To get to the quick, Dad is still on a respirator and his basic vitals are still solid without any type of drug-assist. He's unresponsive though, and yesterday's CT scan showed massive damage to core parts of his brain...

He looks surprisingly well and seems years younger somehow. The nurses were totally surprised to hear how old he was, and one actually told us yesterday that the night shift had been remarking about his strong physique and how handsome he was, and Addy and I were like, typical Dad! He's in a coma and the ladies are still flocking around him:)

Those nurses and his doctors have been So gentle and generous and caring, so respectful of all their patients (there've been four to five in the ICU this week) and so professional that it absolutely hasn't felt at all traumatic going to sit with Dad, and hold his hand, and talk with him. 

One nurse in particular shared a secret with me yesterday evening while she was giving Dad a beauty treatment. She was asked me questions like "Is he ok with having a beard or should we shave him?" all the while letting him politely know what she was going to doing next. I asked her how she ended up being an ICU nurse, and she told me that twenty years earlier, it had been her laying in this same room in a coma after a bad car accident. She'd been taken care of so gently and well, that after she recovered she'd felt compelled to dedicate her life to helping patients like herself, and like Dad. She was kind of whispering, and let me know that this wasn't general knowledge among her colleagues. 

I felt a bit overwhelmed by her story, by the beauty and simplicity of it. She told me that even in the deepest days of her coma, on a respirator and such, she'd heard what was said around her, and sensed things. Not everything, not every word, but enough. And so it became all-important for her to be with ICU patients and show them the respect they deserve, and to talk with them, to say things like, "Ok Þórir, now I'm going to shine a light in your eye...and now your other eye." There was nothing woowoo about it...she knew that even in the most dire situations, it might very well be that a patient was experiencing, on some level we can't understand, the environment around them, and that it was of utmost importance to provide them comfort in their otherwise helpless state ♥

I'm pretty sure I can speak for Addy and Mom when I say that spending time with the families of other ICU patients in the communal sitting room has been amazing. When your loved one is first admitted, and the nurses show you to the room to wait for news, it's disconcerting to see people lying under blankets, resting, or munching on snack, or, in my case, noticing after an hour or so that some semi-washed up actor was on the tv, giving a passionate interview about hand-picking the fabrics in his new men's clothing line. It all seems so petty when there are lives on the line! 

But then, after some time passes, you maybe begin a tentative chat about the room's rogue espresso machine, and you find out that maybe they'd been there at the hospital every day, all day, for a week, and that's why they were so settled in. You share the stories of your loved ones, and you show deep empathy for each others' situations, because at any given time there might be three or four families in there, waiting. By the third day you feel like you've known them for ages, and when they get called in to meetings with doctors you give them that hopeful look as they go out the room, silently wishing them the best possible news.

And when, as happened yesterday, a family finds out that their loved one won't make it through the day you hug them, and nod in support because you've talked together about things like DNR requests, organ donation, quality of life, and the kind of person their loved one was before the illness or accident that brought them there. You hug and you let them know that they're doing the right thing, that they can be confident that when their mother or sister or brother or father or adult child had told them, in one of those deep conversations that all families need to have about illness, death and dying, that they didn't want to live life hooked to machines, or incapacitated, or as a strain and drain on others, that they meant it. That now was the family's time to be heroic, to set aside any (in many ways) selfish desires to have their loved one their life forever, no matter what, and heed the request for a peaceful passing.

You may never see these people again, but you've shared sofas and cookies and stories with them, and have been lifted up, in your personal shock, by all the love energy that fills that comforting room. And when a new family comes in, in manic shock or heavy silence, hopeful and scared in turn, you smile and give them time to adjust to you on the sofa, under a blanket, eating snacks, seeming maybe callous or uncaring to them at first glance, but ready to teach them the ways of that damn espresso machine when they're ready for some chat. It's an endless chain of families supporting one another, some of whom nearly live there until their loved one's recovery or passing takes them away. It's beautiful and soulful and they're people you'll never forget...

Dad's maybe not a very visibly religious man, but he's very very Spiritual, and highly in tune with the esoteric aspects of life. Many many times, more than I can recount, he knew that Addy or Mom or I, or one of his grandchildren, needed him. And he always dropped everything and heeded that feeling, calling at just the right moment, or coming by, to the rescue as it were. I know with every cell in my body that he's being bathed in your Light and Love, and that he knows it ♥ I've heard from a few dear souls that they've felt his presence Very strongly in the past days, as if he's visiting them, maybe giving a message, or saying goodbye...

Because he is leaving us, this we know now for sure. There's no turning back from the trauma his brain has experienced in core regions, the parts that control all the vital functions of the human life experience, of living well. He's so otherwise bodily fit, though, that his desire to donate his organs will be easily fulfilled, and in that way he'll save lives, and physically leave us as the Hero he's always been to so many. 

He will never, though, be completely gone. This I guarantee. Like I told my ten year old son Óðinn, who Dad has been a father figure to, and has helped raise in so many ways: all you'll have to do is ask for his help, and he´ll be there for you. Speak to him, and he'll be listening. Share his stories and he'll live on through you, down the generations, becoming more mythic with each telling, as it should be when remembering the life of a great man.

Endless thanks for your support and concern and well-wishes. Addy and Mom are going to the hospital in a few minutes, and we will continue to stay by his side until his final transition.

He's led SUCH an amazing life, and I encourage you all to keep remembering the tales and jokes he told (remember the one about the cat who ran out of gas? hahaha:) and the adventures you shared with him, and his great big Aura and all that energy he's given to us all. Up to his last days he rose to any and all challenges put in front of him, and lived life to the full! 

He always told me he wanted a Wake and not a dour Funeral, and though we may all be greatly saddened right now, I personally want to honor his request to be remembered with smiles and laughter, bittersweet as it may be. Addy, Mom, Valentína, Óðinn and I are coping well, especially with the strength being sent our way. And I understand that Dan, Jacob and Mekkin are booking flights from California as we speak - it will be very good to have them all with us ♥ Bless you all for your support!

Peace and Love to you all,

Maria Alva


This is the original announcement that Addy and I posted on Wednesday, August 25th in the closed Fb group that we started:

Hi everyone ♥

As many of you know, and many don't, Dad took a very serious fall from the stairs in their apartment on Tuesday evening : (((

He's in ICU / gjörgæsla now, and has been since he was brought in. He experienced heavy brain trauma, with two subdural hematomas, one in his cerebellum, plus a skull fracture, and what is basically a broken neck, again;((

He lost consciousness on impact, or was possibly having another stroke while getting down the stairs and was unconscious during the fall itself. We have no way of knowing. He hasn't regained consciousness since.

The surgeon who took care of Dad on Tuesday told us today that Dad's vitals are stable, which is great. He's off the Fentonyl (the "induced coma" drug) and also off the Propocol (the painkiller) but he's still intubated (has a breathing tube). After the weekend the surgeon and the wonderful nurses and other doctors will take stock of the situation and reassess where to go from here.

I know this is shocking news, and hard to take in. I'm sorry for being so straightforward in this post, but I know that it's important to understand the situation so that we know what to pray for!

Right now, Dad needs lots of Light and Love, and needs us all to focus on our Very Best Memories of him, especially the daring, funny, adventurous, caring and endearing ones. If we all send Golden Light to him, we can do our part to assure that he isn't suffering, and that, whatever the outcome, he'll be Enveloped in Love and Warm Care.

Addy flew in today, and was here with Mom and I holding Dad's hands, and noticing every little twitch his muscles made - they give us Hope! ♥

Mom is doing well, is exhausted emotionally, but is in Function Mode, taking care of practicalities, but also spending as much time here with her husband, who is also of course her best friend, as she can.

For now, it's time to call in the Energy Troops and send our Þórir/ Thor all the best orka we can ♥ ♥ ♥

That's all for right now...I'm at the hospital, running low on battery.

Please feel free to post pics or memories of the Thor you know here. Addy and I will do our best to answer questions.

As he's in ICU, he really can't have visitors besides immediate family. And though I know you all will want to call Mom, please give her a bit of a break to catch her breathe and absorb this new situation. She's not on Facebook, but Addy and I will show her this group so she can read your well wishes <3 And we won't leave her alone for more than even a few minutes, we promise!

Ok, now I've got hit "Post"

Love to you all!

Maria Alva