Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Dearest Steve,

My Dearest Steve,

It’s almost been a week since you left me. I know you didn’t give up the fight, your body gave up. Your passing was so sudden and traumatic. I wasn’t ready and it already seems like an eternity. I am not sure what to do next we had so many dreams and plans. We can never again be what we were. Our fairy tale is done, ended tragically and much too soon. My life will never be the same and I try every day to be strong, but it is so hard.

I know you would be mad at me if you thought I wasted the time I have left being unhappy or sad. I’m trying really hard to make sense out of a situation that makes no sense. Why find the love of your lifetime that you’ve always dreamed of, only to have it ripped away? I won’t be bitter but try to honor you my love with a life worth living. You showed me so much of life in our three short years together.

I will forever remember all the ways you made my life so special and safe. I feel afraid at night to be alone so I stay up late until I pass out from exhaustion. I hope one day I will be able to lie down and rest without fear of the unknown. My love, my protector, my rock, my everything I pray to God that you are at peace and at rest with your loved ones who left before. I pray you know how much I love you and will always love. You forever live in my heart and in my soul. Until we meet again, it is never goodbye, just later.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Mourning

My husband died suddenly at 1454 on Christmas Day. We found out the previous day in the emergency room, after my husband had awaken at 6:00 am Christmas Eve coughing up blood, that he had a growth in his right lung. It was growing near the entrance of his trachea and it was wrapped around his right bronchus, right pulmonary artery, left pulmonary vein and was protruding into the entrance of his left atrium.

The pulmonologist that discovered the growth via CT scan and a bronchoscopy stated it was non operable, the specialist cardiovascular surgeon called in stated it was inoperable also. We were told that the only option that would be available was to seek out possible radiation, cyber knife or chemotherapy to shrink it and then it may be possible to perform surgery to remove it.

Steve was admitted against much opposition and grumbling, he did not want to spend Christmas in the hospital he wanted to go home and then go see his oncologist for the referral to the radiologist on Monday. The hospital was insistent on admitting him for observation and to give him medication for his blood pressure and heart rate. He was placed in room 8 on the Cardiac Care Unit. I consulted with his oncologist office and arranged for his oncologist's partner to come in the following morning and check blood work, scans, and progress. He said if everything was stable he would let Steve come home for Christmas and to be at his office first thing Monday morning. By this time it was getting late and Steve wanted me to go home and get some sleep, the CCU did not allow overnight visitors and he insisted I was not sleeping in the waiting room. I came home, showered, and tossed and turned all night.

I was up dressed and ready to be at the hospital the following morning at 9:00 am when visiting hours started. When I arrived Steve was sitting in a chair in his room complaining about the breakfast.  I pulled a Pepsi from my purse and he smiled and then began talking about going home. He didn't get any sleep the prior night he wanted a shower and then to get some sleep. He said we would celebrate and have our Christmas Dinner the following day.

Around 11:00 am the physician on call for his oncologist group stopped by and checked all the blood work and the scans. He stated he would let Steve go home after he had a transfusion of two units of blood. Again Steve was not happy but agreed to stay and have the two units of blood just to make me feel better. We were told each unit was going to take approximately 3 hours to complete.

We were sitting in his room, him in the bed receiving his first unit and me in a chair pulled up next to his bed watching some show on the Cooking Channel about hamburgers. A worker brought in a lunch plate, and then asked if I would like something to eat, to which I replied sure. We were fed a Christmas meal of prime rib, baked potato, green beans, and cheese cake. As far as hospital food goes it wasn't that bad we ate and talked about our plans for the following day and weekend, while watching some more television.

The lady returned to pick up the trays, and the nurse came in and gave Steve some medication for his blood pressure and his heart rate via his IV line. She then checked on the first unit of blood which was almost complete. She stated she would be back in about 20 minutes to start his next unit. Steve and I are holding hands and chatting about cooking our first Christmas dinner together as a married couple in our new apartment the following day. Steve is restless and states he is ready to go home now that this is just a waste of time he is fine.

At that moment Steve leaned forward and reached for the emesis (barf) bag that was on his bed tray. All the sudden he coughs and blood starts pouring out of his mouth and nose. I jump up trying to help him and began screaming "We need some help in here!!" in the back of my mind I knew this was worse than the previous day. The bag filled quickly, and then the second and when the nurse entered the room, she started screaming for help as she started the suction machine. I am in shock but being strong for Steve. I am standing there holding this bag and a soaked white towel, my hands and arms are covered in his blood, too much blood, I know but I do not accept it.

Other people begin running into the room and a nurse grabs me and starts pulling me out of the room. I want to leave, but I fight her to stay, I start yelling "I love you, I love you, I love you" as I am physically taken from the room. I am led to a sink and the nurse starts helping me wash the blood off, things are moving in slow motion, I hear a code blue called for CCU8 over the intercom. I start praying to God, please don't take him, we are not done yet, I will do anything just please don't take him from me. Oh God this can't really be happening, we were just talking, laughing and planning our weekend.

After what had seemed like an eternity the doctor came out of the room "I'm sorry your husband didn’t make it there was nothing more we could do.” He walked off and a charge nurse ordered two other nurses to go "Clean up her husband so she can see him.” People surrounded me asking if they could call someone for me. Someone gave me a sheet of paper with funeral home names and numbers and told me that I needed to call and make arrangement for my husband, because the hospital didn’t have a morgue they could move him too. I am in shock, crying, refusing to believe he is gone and everything is moving very, very slowly.

One of the nurses came out of the room and said she would take me to see my husband when I was ready. When I entered the room he was laying in his bed with a white sheet pulled up to his shoulders. His eyes were closed like he was sleeping and would wake up any moment, his white hair had been combed back and I could still see blood in it that they were unable to completely clean out. I touched his still warm face and placed my head on his chest where there was no heartbeat. I reached for his hand that could not close its fingers around mine. I told him that I was scared and I was not ready. I told him I loved him more than anything else in the world.  I don't know how to move forward from this and without you.  This is not how our great love story was suppose to end.

All the sudden I felt sick, I ran out of the room into the bathroom where I vomited and vomited some more. I stared in the mirror not feeling like this was real. I slowly cleaned myself up and return to the nurse station to call my mother, my sister, my good friend Jennifer and the funeral home to make arrangements to come pick up my husband’s body.

I returned to his room expecting him to be sitting up waiting for me that it had all been a bad dream. He was as I had previously left him. I walked around to the other side of the bed and removed his wedding band from his finger and placed it on mine. I sat in a chair, with my head lying on his hand and cried and cried some more, ugly crying, loud, mournful crying. Sometime during this time Jennifer arrived, then my mother.

Jennifer took over handling paperwork and filling out information for the funeral home people who had arrived. A preacher arrived and prayed for us and for Steve. The funeral home people were ready for him. I was told I should go home and rest there would be lots of things for me to do the next several days and several decisions I would have to make.

Steve fought every day of his adult life to live. He was diagnosed with cancer at a young age, started in his thyroid and moved to his lungs. Steve did not give up his body did. I do not regret one day that I had with my husband. Even knowing how he would die, how alone and devastated I would feel, I would do it all again in a heartbeat, just for the chance to be with him for the time we were allowed.

Rest in peace my Cowboy I will see you again one day. It isn't goodbye just later.