Denis Guay- My Husband, my partner, my lover, my best friend
by Bea Guay
(Elizabethtown, KY USA)
June 4, 2012 started as any other morning, Until I went to kiss my husband before heading off to work, I found him laid back across the bed, I knew immediately that he had had a stroke. He could not move or speak. There was such fear in his eyes. At the hospital later that morning he regained use of his left arm and leg, I thought it was good news, that with time everything would be ok, with a new normal but ok.
Denis had a massive hemorrhagic stroke they said most of the left side of his brain was gone. He could not swallow or speak. He had another massive bleed on Tuesday. By Wednesday the neurosurgeon and his primary Dr. said I had a decision to make, he could not get better, it was probably only a matter of weeks, but he could possibly live like that for years, his neurologist was not present. My choices were put him in a nursing home with a surgical feeding tube or take him home. I asked for time, they said that was fine. He continued to have more bleeds into his brain.
I had set up a system of yes and no with his left hand thumb up was yes and no was a hand up like a stop. His twin sister had the courage to asked what I could not. He had heard everything the Doctors had told us and he understood. When his twin asked him if he wanted to live he told her NO. He pointed to his two sisters and I and although it took over 40 mins. He managed to make us understand "don't want" The nurses could not believe he had managed to speak at all. We made the decision to bring him home. Had a Priest give him last rights. His face just glowed, he knew he was going home.
The next morning the neurologist came to the room and yelled at us that we were just going to take him home and starve him to death, nurses came running, my 19yr granddaughter was present and ran from the room. this Dr. said he was ordering another swallow test and if he passed he would have the ethics board remove me a guardian. Denis did not pass the test. He refused to follow any commands for this Doctor. We were told later that this Dr. had asked the speech therapist why she was saying Denis followed her commands,when he was not following his. She said she told him he won't for you because he wants to go home. This Doctors words haunt me.
We went with Hosparus the most wonderful agency. I also hired private care to help me for 16hrs each day. He was so happy to be home,to pet his dogs. He came home on the night of the 14th his birthday was the 15th. He had a wonderful Fathers day that Sunday. On Monday morning he suddenly put his hand to his head and started moaning. George from Hosparus was there and within a few minutes got his pain under control. He never responded to us again. He'd had another massive bleed. I fought with myself until about 5am on Weds morning when I found the courage to tell him it was ok to go, I would be alright, that I would always love him with all my heart. He took one breath after I finished and left me,it was 5:04 am.
I am afraid to let the full extent of my grief out, I am afraid it will destroy me. I have always been a person that can't talk about my feeling with others,(except Denis). I am better at writing.
I feel so lost, If I dream it's that I am looking for him and can't find him. I don't understand why I have trouble picturing his face, imagining him hugging me,or his voice they all seem just out of reach. I go from being numb to devastated. I am on meds for depression, anxiety and have sleeping pills.
I am sure there are many who have been through the same with the same feelings. I hope you will reach out and share with me, your story and how you are coping