These days, I spend alot of time alone. Therefore, I spend alot of time in my head going over the events of Thursday, Febuary 19 and Friday, Febuary 20 of this year. This was the 24 hour period when my life was forever changed. So I am thinking that if I write what I remember here, maybe the thinking and the analysing may stop (at least for a minute so I can organize my thoughts and feelings.)
Thursday morning was normal, except I was running late for work and was rocking the wrath of god look we all have when we jump straight out of bed and run out the door within 15 minutes. My husband wasn't feeling well so he stayed home from work. My hten 19 year old son was in the shower and I called him back to tell him to stay at home with his Dad that day. I told him to trust his judgement rather than his Dads and to call 911 if he needed them. I was uneasy to say the least but never did I think I would never hear my husband say "Babe" again or see his eyes smiling when he walked into the door. Trips to the hospital was what we did rather than a vacation. Going to the emergency room was as normal in our house as going to the movies. A brittle diabetic, my husband had been in renal failure for 11 years. Our first transplanted kidney was done on June 1, 1999. It stopped functioning on Good Friday in April of 2008. We had begun hemodialysis that Monday. We had also been through 2 unsuccessful pancreatic transplants, diabetic retinopathy and various car accidents, motorcycle accidents and a blood clotting issue. We were seasoned in the art of fighting for Richards life. I was good at it. I was his advocate and his taskmaster. I did not beg and plead for his life as a normal wife, I stood up, squared my shoulders and sounded my voice loud. I declared that he would live or I would know the reason why. I jerked him up by his hospital gown and said "You've had one day to mourn, today we put our feet on the ground and our fists in the air. Today we fight. You will not leave me and your son here alone. He needs his father and I need my husband." A sheer and unforgiving force of nature is how my husbands doctor's described me. I have called them at 3am if I wanted an MRI or a CAT scan. His medical file has written on the outside in wide red Sharpie "Wife is Aggressive." So I did what I normally do, I went to work.
I had begun crying in the car and continued at my desk. I was on the phone and working thru the tears at 8 am. I was doing my best to do my job while I watched the clock for 915 when I could go to break and call my son. When the clock hit the right time I jumped to my feet and ran to the elevator since I had no signal inside. Down 4 floors and straight out the door, his phone was ringing when I stepped into the frigid air. He checked his Dad and said he wasn't responding and I told him to call 911 and said I was on my way. I hit the door in a dead run. Back to my desk to grab my purse and tell my manager there was an emergency and I had to go. Back down the elevator and I called my son again. He said 911 was in their way and I told him to call me as soon as they got to him so I could give them his medical history. Looking at it now, I should have heard it in his voice, but God made me headblind because I was 36 miles from home. When I hit the interstate I was flying and the phone rang. I rattled off his medical history and told her we preferred a specific hospital to which she responded "In these situations we go to the closest ER." In 11 minutes I had traveled 36 miles and I met the ambulance coming out of the subdivision. I called my son and told him I had the ambulance. He told me then "Mama, he doesn't have a heart beat and he's not breathing."
When I got to the hospital they put me in a little room with a strange little man who was a patient representative. He was making stupid small talk when the doctor came into the room and sat down. He informed me that they had gotten his heartbeat back in the ambulance and then he coded again. They got his heart started again and all I could say was "Take me to Richard." The little man was mumbling again about "it doesn't look like it does on TV" and he tried to put his arm around me. Truth be told the rest of whatever he was prattling on about was drowned out by the beating of my heart in my ears as we rushed to the Trauma room.
And then the curtains parted and there lay Richard. He was helpless and lifeless. His spirit did not greet me when I arrived. The silence was deafening. It felt as though my heart had been removed from my chest. The world made a hard stop when I took his hand in mine. My spirit was screaming, searching, pleading for his to answer, but I couldn't make a sound.
My son arrived and the little man was back asking me what to do as I ran to the waiting room leaving him talking to himself in that strange hushed voice. I sent him to his father and stepped outside to call my husband's mother. I don't know how long it took them to get there or how I got back inside the hospital. About 5 minutes after she arrived Richard coded again and my world went pear shaped. They sent everyone out and they ran for the waiting room. I stood at the door and prayed. I don't remember what I asked for, how long it took or even the act. I was evidently swaying when the doctor stepped out of the room because he sat me in a chair. Then I was back at Richard's side. I remember how cold his hand was in mine. I reached down and opened his eye. Those beautiful, laughing green eyes were silent and his pupils were fixed and dialated. The family returned but I wasn't listening.
Then the doctor told me that they were going to fly him to another hospital within the next 10 minutes. I waited as they made him ready to fly. I made sure I kissed him last. I told him how much I loved him. And then they flew away.
Enough for now.....