Heartbreak in Italy
by Kristin A. Brown
(Chicago, Illinois, USA)
In the early winter of 2012, I finally (at the age of 36) met a really great guy! "Yes, Finally!" I thought. After 5 months of dating, we decided to take a 3 week backpacking trip to Italy. It was summer and the timing couldn't have been better.
Prior to our departure I noticed that my boyfriend began bruising very easily all over his body. Then came some tiny red spots on his legs. Then some small purple spots on his stomach. Alarmed, I urged him to see a doctor before we left the country. He blew off his symptoms as being nothing as he wasn't in any pain nor did he feel sick. He promised to take care of things upon our return home to the States. For whatever reason (I still don't know why), I went along with this plan.
On Day 2 in Italy, he came down with a sudden horrible headache, vomited, and began bleeding from both nostrils. Very alarmed, I urged that we go see a doctor immediately. Something didn't feel right inside of me. Again, he downplayed his situation and told me that he wanted to nap for 1-2 hours. If at that point his headache was not any better, he promised we'd go see a doctor immediately. Again, for whatever god unknown reason, I went along with this ridiculous plan.
He laid down for a nap and never woke up again. I then went through the absolute horror and terror of discovering that he had passed away while sleeping. The nightmare only began from there as we were in a foreign country.
It's been almost 3 months since his death. I have so many questions that are still unanswered. I feel incredibly guilty and partially responsible for his death, because I didn't make him see a doctor right away. What in the world possessed me to listen to his ridiculous rationalizations? I've been struggling with his death, why it happened, and where to go with my life from this point forward.
It is believed that he had an undiagnosed medical condition called ITP. ITP is a low blood platelet count. His levels dipped so low that his body could no longer clot his own blood and thus he began bleeding internally. The sudden headache is believed to be the start of a brain hemmorhage that his body could not stop. Eventually, he had a version of a stroke and passed away in his sleep. At least, this is how it was explained to me by his doctor.
I have been left absolutely heartbroken, frustrated, angry, and so incredibly disappointed. I just don't get it. One day he was here and the next day he was gone. Why in the world did this have to happen?
Thanks for listening.
-Heartbreak in Italy