Thursday, October 16, 2014

What Happened on Oct 4

Many have been confused, and justly so, of what happened as Tim was supposed to be discharged at last word and the next word was that he was gone.

Friday, the 3rd we watched Divergent and went to bed. Tim was uncomfortable and anxious but we thought it was due to some changes in his meds. Around 2AM he had a breathing treatment that he got sick in the middle of. He was given some nausea meds and we went back to sleep. He started throwing up a lot the next morning and was x-rayed. They needed a clearer picture so they decided a CT was needed but Tim couldn't keep the contrast down. They put in a tube through his nose and into his stomach, a very painful procedure for him. Once it was confirmed that it was placed the contrast was placed into his stomach via the NG tube. 

Transport finally came to get him and as he was feeling worse and his toes were numb, vitals were taken and his blood pressure was found to be at 79/29, normal is around 120/80. Transport was canceled and Rapid Response was called. The room quickly flooded with people and I just remember sobbing as I was stuck in a corner behind all of them as they worked to stabilize Tim and he looked at me with so much fear in his eyes.

He was stabilized enough to be moved to the CCU and down there they decided he needed a central line in one of his arteries. His breathing was so hard that they had to ask me if they could insert it in his groin instead. I asked them to do whatever they had to do to save him. They got the central line inserted which is like a mini surgical procedure and stabilized him enough to be taken to CT. At this point I was terrified but certain that he would pull through just like every other time.

When we got the results of the CT a short time later it was the last thing we expected to hear. I don't remember exactly what was said and luckily Steven was in the room with us at that point but the doctor started listing locations where the cancer was and told us the damage was too great and there wasn't anything they could do. The biggest issue being that a tumor was pressing on his small intestine and causing a blockage. This scan was completely different from the scan in August, apparently the breaks in chemo with all of the other issues had just given the cancer the freedom it needed to go crazy with its growth. We had been told two days prior that Tims CEA had dropped 200 points already. I still believe that the trial he was on would've worked had all of these other issues not occurred. 

Tim didn't seem to understand the implication of what the doctor had said and simply stated "ok, let's get this NG tube out and we will figure out the next step from there." I had to explain that the doctor was saying that there were no next steps. It broke my heart to have to tell him that sentence but I thought we'd have a few weeks at least to say our goodbyes and come to terms with everything. 

Tim had Steven and the doctor go out to explain what was happening to our families and bring them all back. I texted Dr. Edenfield's wife to tell her what was going on and ask that they come to the hospital quickly as I had overheard the doctors response to some question the nurse had asked. His response was "it won't be long"

The doctors told Tim he could have anythingn he wanted and their goal was for him to be comfortable. He talked to our families and to Dr. Edenfield and his wife Andrea. We got some time alone together and as I tried to say my good-byes he told me "no" and to stop. He never would let me say goodbye or say goodbye to me. I've been told he was likely trying to spare me pain or that he simply couldn't say goodbye to me but it's one of the biggest things I've struggled with since his death. He slipped into a coma not long after our families stepped out and his nurse moved him over a bit to the side of the bed and told me to climb in with him. Our families came in one by one to continue their good-byes and at some point we were alone again. 

Tim was on medication to increase his blood pressure to keep him alive. He was also struggling with his breathing a lot and seemed very uncomfortable to me. He had a living will and it covered this circumstance indirectly but I had to make the hardest decision of my life when I asked the nurse to turn off the blood pressure medication and give him morphine. I knew it would hasten his death but I also knew it would make him more comfortable and would be what he wanted. It was a straight-forward decision with an answer so obvious that it wasn't even a decision anymore but I still struggle with it every day.

A very short time later I had a gut feeling that I needed to tell our families to get back in the room and quickly. I don't know how much time passed between my text and when he let go but I'll never forget the feeling of his last breath against me. The hoping and praying that I was wrong and that he'd breathe again, that everyone was wrong and he'd come back to life and I wouldn't have to face a life without him in it.

Our families went back out some time later and left me with Tim. I remember a nurse manager asking what funeral home I wanted to use and not having a clue what to say or where to start as a doctor performed his assessment to confirm Tims death. I remember seeing the sheet move as he checked the pulse in Tims feet and having a glimmer of hope that Tims foot had moved. I barely remember signing a form refusing an autopsy bc his body had been put through enough. I remember trying to get enough together to help our parents and Steven get a list of people that had to be called that night. 

I do remember walking onto the elevator knowing I had to walk away from Tim and leave him alone in the hospital for the first time ever. I remember how cold it was outside but that I wanted to feel it bc every other part of me was so numb. I don't remember getting home or falling asleep and the next week is a big gap of nothingness for the most part. I remember the mortuary and having to plan Tims funeral. I remember that I was asked to identify his body at the mortuary and although someone else could do it, I wanted to do everything for him because these were the last things I actually could do and my last connections to him. I remember seeing him lying there, reaching out to touch him and being shocked at how hard and cold his arm was. I remember a day or two later feeling panic that I would never see his face again and that the memories I have are the only ones I get. 

I don't remember much of the funeral or the reception. I barely remember seeing a few faces and I don't remember a lot of that evening after. Ever since, I've just been exhausted and lost.

I miss my best friend, my partner in crime, the one person that knew me inside and out. I feel like a ship gone adrift or I'm floating in the clouds yet I don't feel connected to my body at all. This experience doesn't feel real and I can't believe this is my life. I'm starving yet I can't keep food down so I feel terrible constantly and for the first time in my life the fact that I'm quickly dropping weight concerns me. Up until two nights ago when my doctor prescribed sleeping pills, sleep has escaped me, it's still not good but better than before. I had friends stay with me each night last week and one said I would sit up constantly and just stare at her or straight ahead. I have no memory of doing that.

I'm afraid of answering the phone, crowds and being in public, or just seeing people in general unnerves me for some reason. I know I have to get back out there at some point but right now I can't see how. I am desparately ready to leave town and have had offers to host me from literally around the world but am afraid to be away from my childhood bed at my parents house as it's currently the only place I feel somewhat secure. My uncle is a psychologist and has been helping me start to figure out how to function again. Tomorrow (today) I will start to see a grief counselor. My doctor has been amazing and has made herself available to me for whenever I need her. I wanted to share all of this, not to make you feel sorry for me or bring you down. I have a tremendous support system and am receiving more messages each day than I have the energy to respond to.   I'm very lucky in that sense. Women who are also younger and have lost their husbands have reached out to me to offer support and guidance but ultimately I've found that other than that network and professional help, there isn't anything out there that tells you what really happens in these situations. It shocks me that I'm a widow and I'm only 30. It seems to be a live and learn type thing. Living and learning when you already feel as lost as I do isn't ideal so I thought in Tims spirit of sharing (which was never his favorite, done more to appease me so I didn't have to repeat everything over and over again) that I would share my experiences in case someone else has to endure this hell but isn't as lucky as I to have the endless support, at the very least maybe it will be cathartic for me. The fact that I have no shame is likely to serve me well in this instance, even as I know Tim would be cringing from my oversharing about myself. Bear with me as this isn't likely to be pretty but as Tim told me so many times through his fight, "if it helps one person, it's all worth it."
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