My Angel is gone...
by Debbie Flores
(Hayward, CA USA)
Angel Perez was my lover, we were finally to be married within a matter of weeks. We'd spent the last 9 years together, with both the ups & downs as well as the good & bad.
Early morning May 5th he woke me up complaining of a headache. By the look in his eyes, I instantly knew something was wrong. We arrived at the first hospital, where I was told he had a major cerebral aneurysm. How he'd survived up to then was a miracle.
Once transferred to the second hospital, a lot of fear & anxiety took over. As I was told the chances of survival, plus percentages of recovery. All along, still being told we were witnessing a miracle. He should not have been alive. He continued to talk & joke, all with a definite look of fear in his eyes.
They worked at checking him in & prepped him for surgery the next morning. Provided he survived the night. The only time I heard him complain was when the nurse inserted the catheter, even with all the drugs they'd already given him, he felt that pain. At one point they had to restrain him, he was scared & combative.
He pleaded with us to remove the ties. He demanded his knife, so he could cut them. It hurt me to my heart, when he said "he wanted to go home, cause he was hungry". I'd promised he could have what ever he wanted when he came home. He never did.
Surgery was early the next morning, it took hours. Then even more hours before I was able to see him again. Very heavily sedated, they had to continue to restrain him, he was in survival mode & trying his hardest to disconnect all the tubes & wires. Including the IVs attached to his neck, plus the drain tubes coming from his brain.
The following day they determined he had to be completely sedated, in order to allow with the healing process. He contracted pneumonia soon afterwards. Unable to breathe on his own, they placed him in a drug induced coma.
Around May 20th, we had a family meeting with the entire team of doctors who were caring for him. It was explained he had to be kept in the coma for a while longer. He still had the pneumonia. Finally, May 27th he was brought out of sedation, a lot had occurred since we had began this nightmare.
We waited & waited for signs that he was progressing. There were none. Thursday June 4th, they called another meeting, only myself, the grown children & their mother. They informed us, he was basically brain dead. The aneurysm had caused irreversible brain damage. He would remain in a vegetative state.
It was time to consider removing life support. I had already met prior to this with the staff doctor & made my position clear. I did not want him to suffer any longer. There was no chance of quality of life. So allow him his last dignities.
Of course, everybody was in shock. They all along had refused to understand exactly what was happening to him. They had to think about it!
Monday June 6th, a young female doctor had another meeting with us, I had convinced their mother, this had to be done. We agreed to the removal of life support. The children were still in a state of denial. There were no other options.
After a lot of tears & ugly emotions, we were able to proceed. I had him given "last rites & baptized". That was really beautiful. @ 4:40pm, they disconnected life support. He was given a sedative in order to relax & not fight. Within an hour he was gone. I was right at his side, I never left it. I pleaded with him to go find his mother, sister & brother who were waiting for him.
As I placed my mouth on his, he took his last breath. It broke my heart & took my breath away. The Love of My Life was gone.