lost my husband

by Ann Hollingsworth
(Nashville, TN)

My husband passed away on the last day of January 2014. In 2008, he suffered his second heart attack. This time they did stents instead of by pass as they did after his first attack in 1988. The stents knocked plaque loose which traveled to his brain and caused a massive stroke with left side paralysis. I cared for him at home until July, 2013, when, as a result of botched surgery on my neck, I had to put him in a nursing home. The rest home was awful! They neglected him and, to be honest, discriminated against because he was white. It took five months to get the home to act on a transfer to another home. During those five months he went from 175 to 125. Despite my repeated requests that they bathe him, shampoo his hair, shave him and clip his nail, these were only done once in five months. When I would ask for him to be cleaned, I was told that was the responsibility of the second shift and they didn't think he could talk so they didn't bother with him. I also requested that his hair be cut and was told that their barber "didn't know how to cut white hair." Once he was finally transferred, he began to bounce back. He was slowly gaining weight, going to therapy every day, and his mind was becoming normal again. On January 29, 2014, he had a doctor's appointment and he was fine. The next day I was having lunch with a friend when they called me to say he was unresponsive and having trouble breathing. They transported him to the nearest hospital. The ER Dr told me he was critical that he came in with no BP. They began treating him fearing he had suffered another heart attack. They were going to do a heart Cath but decided it would not a good idea. His blood sugar was over 700 when he was admitted. They could not get him stables and told me I needed to decide whether to continue treatment or let him go. I waited until our daughter arrived and I had spoken with his brother. It was the next morning when the decision was made to stop and he passed away about 30 minutes later.

I feel guilt because I let him stay in the first home. I feel anger at the disrespectful way he was treated. I also feel anger at the cardiologist who in December, 2012, that he was fine after another doctor had told us, after a stress test, it was bad. Mostly I just feel like I will awaken from this nightmare. My husband and I would have been married 43 years in April. I feel like I have lost my place. I miss him so much.

Comments for lost my husband

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Feb 21, 2014
lost my husband
by: Doreen UK

Ann I just wanted to address Lawrence's comments on colour discrimination. We live in a fallen world and discrimination can happen anywhere. My grandfather was an Englishman who joined the army and went out to India where he lived a full life with 18 children from two wives after the first wife died. My father wanted to come to England the birthplace of his father. but due to difficulties in the 1940's my parents settled in a displaced person's hostel in Scotland where I was born. In those days we all 5 girls faced serious racial discrimination due to having a tanned skin. Our community did not know how to accept us. We were called niggers go home. So we all grew up with inferiority complexes. Mine was the worst. I had to wear the tag of nigger. I ignored it not realising it would affect my life in ways that I passed on a lot of my insecurities to my children. I lacked confidence and so did my 3 children despite doing my best to be a good mother. It was in my 40's that I eventually went into counselling to resolve my losses and insecurities and this was the best investment I made in my life. I found an inner happiness and joy in life for the first time. I had the most wonderful husband. But I had the best counsellor who gave me back my life in a new way. I became confident, I related better so was able to allow my family to Heal from my interaction. But sadly I lost my beloved husband of 44yrs. to cancer 21 months ago. My children are all grown and leading their own lives. But the purpose of writing this post is so that anyone reading and feeling depressed over their own issues of race will be encouraged to seek help for themselves so they can go on to live a productive life. Your past does not need to inhibit your present or future. Anne you could free yourself from the guilt of putting your husband in the first home. You didn't know any better. In hindsight we have to let go of what we didn't know otherwise we would do better. Your husband is at peace now. What he suffered cannot hurt him anymore. You need to find a way to release yourself of your guilt and your nightmare of what your husband suffered at the hands of the bigotry and ignorance in those early years. Find a way to write a new contract for your life that will make your years of life better and happier. You owe it to yourself. We all owe it to ourselves after we have lost our spouse. May you be Blessed in life.

Feb 19, 2014
Deepest sympathy
by: Lawrence

Ann,
What a ghastly story, whoever could have thought that these things could happen in 2014?
I live in the UK and thought color discrimination had ended in America, but to read that a black barber “didn’t know how to cut white man’s hair” shocked me to the core, talk about “MANS INHUMANITY TO MAN”
I was in a state of disbelief reading it..
All I can say is that it is finally all over and now you must grieve cry and scream out at the world until the pain eases.
You certainly do NOT need to feel any guilt, you did your absolute best, and nobody could have done more, wherever he is he must be very proud of you
You have joined a web site with many distraught and heartbroken people after losing a loved one, so we can all mourn together.
With deepest sympathy.
Lawrence


Feb 19, 2014
Lost Husband
by: Judith in California

Dear Ann, I'm so sorry for your loss and the situations that led up to it.
I can only urge you to lodge a formal complaint with the State regarding the first nursing home. Write it all down , with names and dates giving as much detail as possible. It is criminal what they did. It was not your fault. I went through similar things when my husband was in a white nursing facility. I called them on thier mess each time I saw anything wrong. I finally brought him home after a month and cared for him every minute of everyday until he passed 3 years ago. NO ONE is ever going to care for your loved ones the way you do.

The Doctors said he would recover just fine when they released him. I'd like to slap those doctors for lying to me and giving me false hope.

You did the best you could and you must not feel guilty as you had no intent to harm him in anyway. You just did not know what you did not know.

I pray God will help you find peace and strength to go on this most heartbreaking grief journey.

Take care of you now as fervently as you cared for your husband.

Feb 19, 2014
lost my husband
by: Doreen UK

Anne I am so sorry for your loss of your husband in a very neglectful way.
You are not responsible for what happened to your husband. You cared for him up to the point you couldn't due to your own health issues. What went wrong in the system is to blame. More and more in life we are hearing about care homes, and the neglect of doctors all with different opinions. Here in the UK we are seeing more and more of the difficulties at the top which is the hierarchy of our government who interfere greatly with the running of hospitals and care homes. It is all paperwork and many of the staff in these institutions can't keep up with the changes. They are so busy filling out paperwork that the staff compromise on good patient care. There is often not much we can do about this area since it is bigger than us. They usually have patient liaison services to which if we are not happy they can take up a complaint on our behalf if we are not happy with any services. But even this is tedious, time consuming, and stressful. I have done this to the point of a breakdown due to the enormous stress of taking on the whole organisation. I feel satisfied and glad I did take on this battle. I won for my husband to get better patient care. In the end my husband died 21 months ago of a rare and serious malignant cancer. He suffered greatly over 3yrs. I was his carer. Married for 44yrs. I was up against the system often screaming down the phone for a doctor or nurse to come and give my husband a pain killing injection. They took 3hours to come. They had to finish clinic first. This was a battle I couldn't fight because it was down to funding and they didn't have the resources. But all this pain adds to our grief. Don't beat yourself up. Often there is nothing one can do. FOCUS on what you did do and let go of the rest which was beyond your control. May God comfort you in your grief and give you His Peace.

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