Monday, January 24, 2011

This time a year ago I was in the emergency room in Monticello saying goodbye to David.

He had gone to the bathroom about 6 p.m., and when he came out he just stood there, unable to move. Christian and I got him into his chair and called 911. The ambulance came, and instead of getting him to the hospital (they couldn’t even get a blood pressure reading on him), they stood around waiting for another ambulance that had a special gurney that lifted up and down. I rode with them to the hospital, and sat and cried and prayed. After a couple of hours they decided to transport him down to the cities, but being we were in the middle of a bad snowstorm, they couldn’t call the helicopter, and they wouldn’t let me ride down with them. So I said goodbye to him. I don’t know if he heard me, there was no sign of it (I found out later that his heart quit on the way to the hospital and they had to do CPR on him). I called my neighbor and asked her to sit with Lukas while Christian came and picked me up. Throughout the night I talked to my sister-in-law, who went down there to be with him and called me to tell me that he was hooked up to machines, and he wouldn’t want that done, and then the doctors, one wanting to try to find out what had bought this on (did he drink rubbing alcohol, or takes some drugs, etc.), another one telling me if he wasn’t hooked up to a kidney dialysis machine he would die, and the night nurse telling me what they were doing with him.

The next morning I talked again to the main doctor, trying to figure out what I should do, if I should come down and have him taken off the machines or wait. He held out hope that there was a chance of recovery, so I waited. Again that night, I was told he was going downhill, but when I called the night nurse, she said no, he was holding his own, but then at 4 a.m. she called and said the tests were coming back worse, and that it was a matter of time. I told her I would have to wait until daylight to come down. I have developed eye problems, so I have to wear prism glasses to see to drive, and headlights fracture into dozens of lights. So the next morning I went to the hospital and requested they take him off the machines. My sister and David’s sister and her family were there, along with David’s two children from his previous marriage. We all stood around his bed and watched the heart monitor. That was the most difficult time of my life. I held his hand and felt it getting colder. It didn’t take long, 20 minutes? The monitor beeped slower and slower, and then it started picking up and going faster. There were those brief moments of hope, that it was all wrong, he was going to be OK. But then it stopped.

We all left the room while they removed the machine hookups and then they asked if I wanted to go back and say goodbye. I went in, and saw him laying there, and I couldn’t do it. I left the room.

David died of septic shock. He had an infection that went into his bloodstream and shut down his organs. Over the next weeks and months I felt so guilty for not just calling a doctor and somehow making him go, instead of just trying to get him to call, or even let me make an appointment. By the time he consented to let me make an appointment, it was already too late.

We never had a funeral for him. I couldn’t do it. A friend suggested having a memorial service for him when the weather warmed up, but I didn’t do that either. I still miss him, and it still hurts.

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