Sunday, April 12, 2009

This last entry is the hardest ever

On Thursday April 2 Jeff was rushed to Oak Hill Hospital with what ended up as an abdominal aneurysm that had burst. Normally people don't even make it to be hospital and die shortly after it happens.

Around 3AM on Friday the vascular surgeon reviewed the CT scan and gave him a 30% chance of survival if they did perform the surgery - and not only would he have to be intibated (breathing machine) but he would have to be put on dialysis because of kidney failure. This was because the aneurysm was located right below the kidneys and they would have to shut off the blood supply to correct the aneurysm. The big word was IF he survived. The surgeon said he would also be in terrible pain as well. He also said that if he did survive the surgery (followed by added dialysis) he would still have to deal with the brain tumor.
He said this was 'MAJOR MAJOR' surgery but the outcome did not look promising.

The other alternative was to make him "pain free" and comfortable and he recommended that. He said he has less than 24 hours. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make but elected to let him die peacefully without any pain.

Right after the decision was made - they gave him some great pain Rx and I asked him how he was feeling. He said he had no pain but he also had no feeling in his legs from his toes to the pelvic area. The doctors said that was very normal and to expect more of those symptoms.

Around 6AM I asked the nurse to call in the local Catholic Priest. He arrived around 6:30AM and started the "last rites". When Jeff saw him he just looked from me to him and back again and then made the sign of the cross. I truly think he knew it was the end.

After the Priest left I told him that when he gets up in Heaven to please pray for us poor souls left here on earth and his response was "not now" and smiled. I then apologized for losing my temper and getting angry over the past year and it wasn't directed at him but at the situation we found ourselves in. His response to that was to take his finger and thump my nose. So he hadn't lost his sense of humor even to the end.

I came home to shower, etc. and was right back up there mid morning. Around 5PM I left for home - my eyes were burning from no sleep. Don't know why I did that because I never did get any sleep. Called the hospital around 10PM and the informed me they had moved him to the second floor - had a couch set up with pillows, blankets and sheets and I could stay the night. I rushed back around 11PM to spend the night.

He had a male nurse (Eric) who entered the room and asked if we were people of faith and I told him yes. He then asked if he could pray with us. I've never seen this happen before but Eric knelt down at the foot of the bed and prayed. I do know he came back into the room to put another blanket on me and I finally slept until 6AM.

The vascular surgeon appeared Saturday morning and said he was surprised to see we were still there and reiterated that he would not be seeing us on Sunday. He was right -Jeff took his last breath at 2:40PM and his heart did not stop beating until 3:05PM.

I thank God I was able to be with him when he took his last breath - and he was at peace.

This past year has been the hardest journey I have ever been on and I'm sure Jeff felt the same way. A few weeks ago he said "Cheryl, this is so tragic that it's hard not to cry". I know he felt like crying at times - but he never did (at least not in front of me).

Thank you all for your prayers, encouraging words, e-mails, Masses, cards, flowers, food, ,etc. It means more than I can ever say.

His journey has just started and as Fr. Bernie said - what a glorious time for Jeff to be in Heaven.