The Love of a Lifetime Jesse George Cox age 48
by Eunice Cox
Jess and me at his 30 yr class reunion
Oddly enough, I met my husband, Jesse, through yahoo messenger that and with some help from my youngest son. My youngest son had already met Jesse. He had moved in with a woman who he'd met through yahoo. He had met Jesse, because he used to go up and visit my son and his then wife. I had a 2 week vacation suddenly come up, and decided I would make my first trip to Georgia to see my son, and also meet Jesse in person when he came up to visit. It was to me, love at first sight. He had already told me that he was in a wheelchair, due to an above the knee amputation and had lost the use of his arm on the same side. That happened as a result of him driving to work one morning on his motorcycle and getting clipped on the right side of his body by a semi tractor-trailer. Even after all his rehab, he had walked for a while with an artificial leg, but could not get it fitted right so that it didn't pinch him constantly, so he just settled for a life in his wheelchair, but the accident in general at first may have made him mad, he went through bouts of drugs and drinking after the narcotic pain killers didn't do him any good, then after he hit rock bottom, signed himself into a drug rehab.
We had spent a lot of time together when I came down and when I returned to Kentucky to return to work, Jesse and I spent a lot of time on the phone talking or chatting on the computer, time came and we decided that I would move in with him. We had a great time, he was the first time that showed me that not all men are drunks, abusive and violent. No arguments, we got married on November 28, 2006.
Jesse started having some serious health issues and went to the VA doctors in Lake City and also Gainesville,Florida in which he was sent a letter that he was positive for hepatitis C. He made another appointment in which they sent him back to Gainesville for a biopsy. Afterward, they told him yeah, he had hep C, but not to expect any problems for at least 10 years. How wrong they were in their prognosis.
We had decided in July of 2008 to go away for a getaway weekend. We had gone to Fernandina Beach, FL, we decided that the first night there would be "game" night, as both of us play computer games, and the 2nd night would be "date" night. I decided to go for a walk on the beach before it got dark, on the way back to the motel, I called him and asked him what he wanted to eat, he wanted chili dogs from DQ. So I got him a couple, I just got a burger. Later on that night, he got extremely sick, I asked if he wanted to go to the ER, he'd say no. The next day, he wasn't feeling much better and even the smell of food made him ill. Him being hard headed, he still refused to go to the ER, the next morning, he had no choice but to go to the ER as he didn't even know who he was or where he was, couldn't even comprehend words. He spent nearly a month in Jacksonville,FL for e-coli (at the time we didn't know that there was a warning about bad beef). He was also suffering from breathing problems and was put on a vent, he had to have numerous pints of blood and some surgeries because of blood seepage into his stomach because of liver failure. He come home and was ok for about 3 months. By that time, I had him put on my insurance, so I suggested he find a local doctor, as I wasn't happy with the VA doctors. They checked his hemoglobin level and it was only 4.8, so he started his nearly bi monthly stays in the hospitals for transfusions. He even went to blood specialist at Shands in Gainesville. After a year, his regular GI doctor recommended that he check with his hemotologist and see about a liver transplannt. I can only hope that not all people who go through transplant evaluations go through and be treated as badly as I felt my husband was. After talking to 3 surgeons, the last surgeon told him that his being in a wheelchair made him a poor candidate as far as he was concerned. My thought at that point was does that mean that anyone in a wheelchair is out of luck for a transplant? My husband never gave up. The evaluation team sent a list of the results, things he would have to do, like lose some weight, the weight limit they had listed meant he had to lose 25 lbs., and he had to be able to walk. To me, I gave up, he couldn't stay out of the hospital getting transfusions to go to rehab to learn to walk and have another leg made. Not Jesse though, he was so confident he'd make it, even to the end. His last admission to the hospital, he went in in October of 2010, things were ok for a while, they had some problems getting his blood level to stay up, then some of his other levels got off. Then the worst possible thing happened, his kidneys started failing, the liver damage had finally hit them. They had tried dialysis for several weeks, but it did not help. The doctor finally come in and told us, it was he had a choice a tough one to make, he could either stay in the hospital and continue things as they were, and they had to limit his pain medication, because of doing further damage to both his liver and kidneys or he could go home with hospice, in which case, they would let him have all the medication he needed, that either way, he was gonna die, because his kidneys had shut down. He took the news ok, never really broke down, but after we had talked to the representative from hospice to get things set up to deliver a hospital bed to the house and transportation to the house, because by this time, he was extremely weak. I went home and broke down, so that hopefully, I wouldn't do so in front of him when he got there. He came home on Friday afternoon the 19th of November and passed away on Sunday the 21st of November at 2:50 pm. You could tell Friday that when they got him to the house that he was pretty worn out, Saturday, he'd asked if I'd help him set up and we'd talked for a bit til he got tired and wanted to lay back down. He'd slept for a while and then asked to sit up again, he actually needed to use the bathroom, by this time, I was hopeful, thinking that the doctors were wrong. But by late Saturday night, you could tell, he didn't speak, he'd just smile at times. I slept on the couch near the hospital bed. Sunday, I rarely left his side, I had called the nurse to the house, because he'd began to breathe differently and seemed to be agitated. At that time, she took me to the side and informed me that he was in the final stages, I stayed outside for a few minutes to get myself under control. I sat near the bed holding his hand, telling him I loved him. Finally, I leaned close to his ear, because he couldn't talk, but the nurse said he could hear, I told him I loved him so much, but if he was tired and needed to go with God, that I would be ok, it was ok for him to go. He looked at me and almost immediately after telling him that, I watched his eyes close and his chest stopped moving as he quit breathing.
On that fateful day, I not only lost a husband, but my best friend, confidant, snuggle bear. Unlike him, I get mad and am mad at the transplant evaluation team we seen. I have decided that I'll not be a transplant donor with people like this not giving people they consider handicapped a chance.
But Jesse, he rarely ever got mad, always had an outstanding sense of humor, even during all the pain he suffered his whole life. He was always a good loving husband, a man who loved his children and step children and his grandchildren. Attending grief counseling has helped some, there are still some days, I rarely do anything besides lay in bed or on the couch. I still stay pretty much to myself. I have however try to make it to Church, the minister there was the hospice Chaplin who done my husband's services. I do talk to my children in Kentucky and friends up there, which helps. But for the most, I still miss him so much. I miss his smiling face, hearing his laughter. God Bless him and may he finally be free of all the pain he suffered.