Pappy's memory

by Sheri Wherry
(Lisbon, Ohio USA)


I became a farmer today. As I decided to honor the memory of my husband, I became a farmer for the day. It wasn't an easy thing for me to do. It wasn't easy to sit on that tractor. That tractor that MY husband loved! My husband loved this farm! He lived for this farm...& yet...it was this farm...that cost him his life!

On April 15, 2010, Russell planted his fields, like he had done for MANY years since we had married. He had a few minor problems, but nothing that he couldn't handle. Nothing that stressed him out!

By May, the fields were done, and he was aticiaptating a good crop. By this time, he was also experiencing some strange symptoms...some numbness & tingling of his feet. Nothing more, we thought than some out of control blood sugars. Nothing, we thought that a new pill wouldn't fix.

I remember him waking me up one day in early June. Him saying he didn't feel good. He said he was having some numbness & felt like he couldn't urinate. I remember looking at him & thinking he looked sick. I remember convincing him to go to ER. I remember them saying they thought it was heat exhaustion. I remember believing them. I mean, really it was 100 degrees the day before...& he did work outside as a heavy equipment operator as well as farming. I remember them giving him IV fluids & sending him home. I remember thinking...good this is behind us!

I remember 3 days after....him getting worse. Him barely able to walk. Him saying he felt so weak & still having urinating problems. I remember going back to ER. This time...them doing an catscan of his back. I remember them saying it showed a disc problem. Remember me thinking...good...surgery or pain doc...it'll be fixed!

I remember calling our family doc. I remember the referral to a pain doc. I remember daily phone calls from Russell. I remember one day him saying..."Hey, Babe...I know what's wrong! You're NOT gonna like it! It's the round up I used...it's something on the farm...I know it!"....I remember me saying..."that's not it...people have used CHEMICALS forever...they are Safe"....

I remember his first appointment with the pain doc. I remember him saying he didn't know what was going on, but he was sure it wasn't his BACK. I remember asking...is it ALS...is is MS? Him saying he wasn't sure. Let's see you again in a week, run some more tests...see what happens. Me thinking OK...we've got a grip...we'll get answers....

I remember waiting for the appointment. I remember...Russell calling me one day...crying...saying..."babe...I'm done...I can't work! I fell today..fell under a dump truck...I couldn't get up...I'm coming home." I remember saying..."it's OK...come home...we'll work this out."

I remember our grandsons' first birthday party. I remember Russell trying to use a walker...cause he couldn't stand for any amount of time. I remember telling my parents....I'm scared...there's something really WRONG with him.

I remember going to the doc the next day. Him doing a test. Russell not doing well on the test. Him admitting him to our local hospital. (the one I work at!)...I remember test after test...MRI after MRI...them giving me the tests...asking ME what I thought...Me looking at them...saying I DON'T KNOW...FIX it...FIX HIM...send him somewhere! Them sending him to a bigger hospital. A hospital 2 1/2 hr. away. (UPMC, Pittsburgh). I remember him being there 7 days...them doing test after test...them saying everything is normal...we're not finding anything. Russell trying to do physical therapy...unable to move his legs....getting weaker. UPMC saying...it's nothing...nothing medically...we think it's in HIS HEAD....he's doing it to GET YOUR ATTENTION! Me yelling...saying YOU don't know him....how can you say that? Them...saying he needs to go home. Me saying he can't WALK! He's a big man (6 ft 2 inc)...I'm a small lady (5ft 2in)...then him falling at the hospital...not being able to get up...FINALLY them saying...OK...we'll send him to a re-hab center...closer to home.

I remember driving him home...to a NURSING HOME. Admitting my 57 YEAR old husband to a nursing home. (do you know HOW that made me feel?) I remember the month he spent there! I remember...taking a leave from work...being there EVERY day...watching him do the physical therapy. Watching him go down hill EVERY day!!

I remember having a conversation with him...him telling me he didn't know what was wrong with him...but he DID know...HE was going to die! This was going to take him from me! I remember him saying...when the time comes, take me home...let me die on the farm. I remember asking him...do you think it's soon? Him saying...NO not yet...but soon. I remember planning a weekend to bring him home. I would bring him home Sept. 16.

I remember taking him to UPMC on 9/15 for a re-check...I remember them readmitting him...because...they were shocked at how much worse he had gotten. He was NOW in a wheelchair...unable to hold his head up most days. I remember returning to work...going to work 9/16...going to work 9/17. I remember 9/17 talking to him many times throughout the day...telling him...I'd be down on Saturday. I'd see him tomorrow. I remember talking to him at 3:30, after my shift. I remember him saying he didn't feel well....I remember begging him to call his nurse...I remember him telling me he would...I remember our final words...OUR last words...EVER..."I love you, Babe...I need a nap...I'll call you later.".....I remember waiting....waiting....waiting...HE never called. At 5:47 he died....he died of a blood clot that went to his lungs.....I had an autopsy done....it showed....CHEMICAL exposure...probably from the farm.

So....I became a farmer today....I don't like farming AT ALL......I miss him...I love him....& would give anything to HAVE HIM BACK!!! Farming isn't for me...I don't like this farm at all...I keep a tractor so the grandkids can remember their pappy...but I hate this farm.....

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