I lost my husband 76 days ago from a massive pulmonary embolism. We had been together 7 years. He collapsed on our anniversary. From that day, family and friends have told me they cannot believe how strong I am, and they are amazed by my faith that God was meant to take him. I did accept that. That he was at peace and I made a big effort to hold on to the night before he passed.
Those moments where he was smiling and so excited to see me and tell me how amazing the helicopter ride had been. He had never flown before. They had flown him as they told him they were going to do a surgery to remove the clot but when he got here, they changed their minds. They told him he was lucky that the clot appeared to have passed through the heart without causing any significant damage. They were happy with his progress and he was doing well – the doctor told him “you are a very lucky man.” My husband told the doc, “luck had nothing to do with it – It was God.” He had such a joyous expression.
But now, I feel I am in one of the lowest points of grieving thus far. People who were there for that first week have “lost touch with me.” They call, make plans with me, then at the last minute cancel. I started swimming and walking to keep my mind and body going. But I forget to eat. I do go to counseling actually twice weekly as this whole situation has brought out some issues from my past as well to contend with. I cannot seem to move forward from “the details” of that morning though at this point.
I wake in a cold sweat at night every 1 to 2 hours expecting the morning to bring me bad news like it did that day. That day at 7:10 a.m. will not leave me. Ring Ring: “Hello?” “Hello Mrs. _____ this is Amy a Resident at the hospital. “Mrs.___ are you sitting down?” “No I am lying down what is it, what happened?” “Is there anyone there with you?” “No, no, just tell me for God’s sake what has happened?” “Your husband put the call light on this morning and when the nurse went to check on him he stated his chest was hurting and he became hypoxic. He then went unconscious.” “Oh my God, Oh my God…are you telling me he is gone?” “Well no, we are still working on him – how soon can you get here?” “It is an hour and a half away.
Oh my God, you people assured me us he was stable and actually out of the woods last night. You told me you were transferring him to a regular floor as soon as a bed became available. I would never have come home to rest if he was unstable.” “Well, I am not sure, let me see how it’s going.” She walks into the room with me on the phone and I hear. “Third amp of Epi in, grab the echo lets get a picture of his heart, we’re not capturing a rhythm, oh wait there – he is in PEA…is the TPA on board yet? Yeah? Ok, let’s get that echo.” I hear laughter.
“Oh my God, I cannot believe you are having me listen to this and now I hear two women giggling…I am irate and screaming is this some kind of sick joke? What’s going on there? Am I hearing things? I know I just heard people laughing.” I hear her shush the individuals and then she returns to talk to me. “I’m sorry Mrs. ____ sometimes people in difficult situations nervously laugh. “I cannot believe this, why did you call me and have me listen in like this? I hear someone shout, “He is in PEA.” I lose it, “did he just say PEA? She says, “um, yes Mrs. Fike, PEA stands for pulseless electrical activity, it means…” I interrupt her. “For God’s sake you people knew I am a nurse!” Oh God, PEA…you don’t recover from PEA. Is it because you know I am a nurse that you are having me listen to all this?
I would NEVER do this to a family member! Why did you call me like this? Did you need me to tell you his wishes – he made that clear should anything happen he did not want life support if something should happen. Oh my God, please don’t do anything to cause him anymore trauma if you are seeing no hope.” Again, I hear them shouting in the background. “TPA in, echo, right sided failure wall motion is… I hear her walk from the room, “well I’m sorry Mrs. Fike do you want to talk to his nurse? Would you like me to hang up and call you back…um, do you think you will be coming up here?”
I scream at her…”I cannot believe you just had me listen in on my own husband’s code, of course I’m coming up there. I am hanging up now. I cannot take this all in like this.” I hang up. I am terrorized, traumatized and in shock I walk around in a daze and then call my mom to have my sister come get me – I at least realize know I should not drive in this state.
The nurse calls me back at 7:30 a.m. “Mrs. Fike, it’s over…he is gone.” I fall to my knees sobbing, now, I have to tell his kids… The day is emblazoned in my mind. I want to move through it but I am stuck there. I miss him every second of the day.