Too Far Away
I can't start this story at the beginning because the beginning seems to far away. The same way he seems to be to me. Too far away. I can't see him, I can't hear him and I can't feel him anymore.
June 5, 2013, he was sick and was so tired. I told him he should call his doctor and see if he could go into the office so he did. The nurse told him to come in and be there by 11:00 AM. When he hung up, I told him we did not have time to get there so he called back and was told to go to the ER so the doctor could see him there since the doctor would be going out of town the next day.
We got dressed and started to leave but every time he would stand up, he would soil his clothes. This was something very unusual. He had always been responsible for his own care but that day, he was too weak and too tired so I assisted him. This happened three more times. Each time I had to do more of the clean up and the dressing than before. I am so thankful that I did not complain but did it willingly and lovingly.
We started to the door and he asked me help balance him as he walked because he was getting so weak. I held on to his arm. We got to the porch and as I turned to lock the door, he walked just ahead of me. I turned back just in time to see him start down the three steps. I saw his feet as they became entwined and watched him hit the concrete sidewalk face first. By the time I got to him, he had turned over but was unable to get up. He had a cut above his right eye.
I called for my sister to call an ambulance. He was taken to a local ER which was about 35 miles from the hospital we had started out for. After he was stabilized, he was transferred to the other hospital. He never walked again.
We spent almost two months in that hospital. He got weaker and weaker and sicker and sicker. His mind began to come and go. In July I was told that he possibly had pancreatic or liver cancer but that he was too weak for the surgery necessary to verify the diagnosis. One day the doctor told me that he maybe had a few weeks to live.
I can't even remember the date we came home from the hospital the first time. He stayed home for about three days and had to go back because he was having difficulty breathing. He stayed close to another week and then we came home.
I took care of him everyday and he went to his dialysis treatments by ambulance. I don't even remember how many times he went. Maybe three or four. He had been going to dialysis for about five years because he had been diagnosed with a kidney disease about 18 years earlier. He made it about 13 years without dialysis.
On Monday, July 29, 2013 when I got up and went to check on him in his hospital bed, I noticed there was a difference. He spoke just a above a whisper and seemed so weak and so tired. I asked if he was ready for breakfast, and he said he didn't feel like eating. Usually he would let me fix his breakfast even though he had almost stopped eating. He did not his usual coffee.
His oldest sister called and I gave him the phone. He spoke softly and did not seem to be able to communicate with her due to confusion. When I took the phone back and spoke with her, she began to cry because she, too, noticed a difference.
I went back into the bedroom and asked if he wanted to go to dialysis and he said he was too tired but felt like he should go. Later he decided he did not feel like going to dialysis. He gradually grew weaker and weaker.
The home health nurse came and when she saw him, she told me that if she could sign him up for Hospice, I could get more help with him. The only thing stopping the Hospice was the fact that he was going to dialysis. She did not seem to think he would be able to go to dialysis again. She talked with him and he told her he was too tired for dialysis. She signed him up for hospice.
Within an hour or two of the nurse leaving, I noticed he was so much weaker. I kissed him on the forehead and told him that I love him. He whispered that he loved me too. He never spoke to me again. He fell asleep and did not wake up. His family came and we maintained a vigil by his bedside until he took his last breath on July 31, 2013 at 3:45 AM.
I had cried earlier as I watched his breathing change but I could not cry at his last breath. I could only stand there in disbelief that he had actually died. I don't know what I had thought was going to happen. At one point before his death, I told his twin sister than I was going to call an ambulance, get him to the ER and get them to give him fluids, do dialysis and get him back. She shook her head and told me it would not help.
I planned his funeral just the way I knew he would want it to be. The songs were happy songs and the ministers told happy stories about him and spoke encouragement to my children, grandchildren, his sisters and brother and me. It was perfect and I did not cry.
Today, one week and two days later, I have every emotion possible at one time. It is frightening. I sometimes think, "He is in heaven so he doesn't need or love me anymore." He seems so, so far away from me. I have his things on his table beside his chair. I have extra pictures of him and a burning candle but I can't seem to get him close again. I just don't want him so far away.