About a year and a half ago I lost my treasured husband of 37 years. He was nota perfect man, but her was perfect for me. A hundred more years of marriage with him would not have been enough and so I miss him immensely.
Last Sunday, my dad got up early to go to the bathroom. He and my mom (married 63 years) and one of my brothers share a condo. Well they heard a tremendous crash and in running to my dad's aid they found him unresponsive.They immediately called the life squad who took him to the hospital, working on him all the way. But in arriving, they still had not dtected a pulse. After 30 minutes of effort, they were able to detect a faint heartrate and he was then given life support.
I arrived soon after and was filled in on the dtails of the event. I am the spokesperson for both he and my mom when it comes to medical matters. As we sat in the waiting room, waiting to learn what the doctors would tell us next, I noticed that my mom was beging to experiencing some breathing difficulties. Her breathing became labored and quickened to a worrisome rate. though we were trying to get her to calm down, she could not. I feared for her welfare also so I had her admitted and had the ER begin to gather some information on her status as well.
They performed an EKG and determined that she was having a heart attack. Although we have been through several experiences with dad's health, including a full treatment for bladder cancer during which he achieved remission, this was evidently more than she could bear.
By this time, 4 of the 6 of us siblings were gathered and the other 2 were on the way.
As my mom was told of her condition, she told us we should just "let her go". I don't think she could begin to comprehend that she sould survive without him. In speaking to her, I convinced her to try to stay with us; that we wanted her to try. I told her that there were no guarantees, but the doctors were hopeful that they could help her. Luckily, she changed her mind and agreed to fight to live.
The next piece of news was that the hospital we were in was not able to do what she needed. The aircare team had been called and she would need to be flown to a nearby hospital for immediate treatment. We could not accompany her but would meet her there.
So 2 of my siblings remained with my dad who was still in a precarious state, and myself and a brother drove to the other hospital to be with my mom. On her arrival, they took her to the OR and began the angiogram to determine the treatment that would be necessary. They found that she had not coronary disease. Her heart was amazingly healthy and in fact better than the doctors who had performed the procedure. He is 65. She is 90. Instead it was decided that she was suffering from broken heart syndrome.
There was nothing they could do for her surgically, but damage was done to her heart and we were told she could in fact succomb to this event if things were not managed correctly. Her heart damage was significant.
For the remainder of that Sunday we were on needles and pins, hoping each would show some signs of hope that things would get better.
Being the spokesperson for both, I was called from the first hospital anytime any decision had to be made that would need permission in oder to treat him. But not being there, it was difficult at times to feel confident about what the right decisions were at ech request. Fortunately over time, it became clear that the decisions were the right ones and I have no regrets for the choices that were made.
Also during that time we kept my mom abreast of what my dad's status was. I wanted her to be aware of the seriousness of the situation, knowing that at any time his situation could worsen, but not tell her so much that it would cause her to again become unstable. It was a delicate balancing act.
The second day test were performed that would give us information on my dad's brain function. That test would help us to decide what the direction of his treatment would be. Unfortunately, the results were as we suspected. After being in arrest for about 30 minutes, there was no brain activity of any kind and no hope of recovery for him. During these 2 days, I have communicated very carefully with both hospitals and all doctors and nurses involved that if this was to be the outcome, my mom's wish was to be taken to see my dad to say goodbye. So when the results of the test came back, I carefully explained to her what they found and asked her if she still wanted to see him before we withdrew life support. Of course she said yes.
Although her situation was still tenuous, her doctor agreed to release her to my care and we wrapped her up in her hospital gown and blankets and drove her to see my dad. By then the other 2 siblings had arrived. So all of us gathered near him to send him off with love. It was such an emotional experience but one which honored his life and sent him off with prayers and dignity.
My dad's funeral was yesterday. Now it is my mom's future to begin to understand what her life can be without her husband. Having recently had that experience myself, I am in the unenviable position of knowing what she will be going through.
I am asking for your prayers for all of us that we can help her transition to her new reality. And I especially ask that you pray for her continued healing and strength. She has astounded us so far with her resilience.
Thank you for spending the time to read all of this. I am aware it was very wordy. And I am grateful for any prayer help you can give us in the weeks ahead. God bless you all. ~ Shelly