mittam99 Posted March 26, 2015 Report Share Posted March 26, 2015 This post will long (and emotional) but I hope you stick with it... I loved my wife Tammy with ever fiber of my being and no one ever loved me the way she did. It's only been 19 days and the pain is unbearable. I know I'm in the early stages of grief and the shock hasn't even worn off. I can only imagine how difficult this journey is going to be. The crying, the feeling that I'm all alone, the hopelessness, the anxiety, the feeling that I don't know how I'm going to get through this and survive... all those things you feel when you are grieving for your soul mate are excruciating. Right now I think one of my biggest issues to overcome is the guilt trip I'm putting on myself. But for you to fully get the big picture, some background: When Tammy and I first got together in 1999, I knew she had many prior health issues. She'd already been through more than you could image... from a stroke, to a situation where she almost lost her leg to infection and much, much more. Her systemic lupus was severe. But... I was in love with her, she made me happy and I wasn't about to give her up because she didn't have perfect health. And believe me, there were members of my family questioning my decision. From the time we met in 1999 until 2007, Tammy's health was overall fairly good. She took her meds and for the most part her lupus didn't stop her. She worked a job she loved, sometimes working 50 hour weeks. She was their Employee of the Year in 2006. Although she never could walk very long distances (due to her "bad" leg) she always managed. We took trips to the ocean, went out to eat all the time and had a wonderful life filled with love and laughter. Oh how I loved to make her laugh. Her health and lifestyle began to change in 2007. I got a phone call from her work that she had been rushed to the hospital. She had a severe infection in her lung that required major surgery. That turned into a harrowing 6 1/2 hour surgical ordeal. She required months in the hospital and months in rehab but she got through it. Her health from that point on was never great again. Her mental health took a hit later when her employer let her go. Not due to her work ability, it was clearly due to her health. That devastated her. It was always something with Tammy's health. In 2008 during a follow up visit with one of the surgeons that performed her lung surgery, she became very ill. Her pressure was nearly 200/... she was taken to the ER again. And again she pulled through. There were occasional middle of the night trips to the ER where Tammy was in unbearable pain and other issues. She always pulled through and I was always by her side. A friend of Tammy's recently told me that Tammy said she always knew that when she woke up in the ICU "Mitch would always be there" and that's the truth. In 2009 Tammy was rushed again to the ER with weakness and severe pain. At one point I had to take our daughter Katie to the rest room and when I returned to the room the door was closed and curtains drawn. I was told "the patient was very sick". Patient? That's MY wife!! I peekrd into a gap in the curtain and saw them using paddles on Tammy's chest. My heart sunk. Turned out the doctors unfortunately gave her a terrible mix of pain killers and anti-anxiety drugs causing a cardiac arrest. We waited to hear the news from the doctor. To my utter relief, Tammy came back. And again it was another many months long hospital/nursing home rehab ordeal. And again I was with Tammy night and day as much as possible. This type of pattern happened over the next few years. Tammy having serious issues and overcoming incredibly bad medical challenges. In the past few years she was diagnosed with raynaud's and sjogren's (autoimmune illnesses) in addition to the systemic lupus she had for 24 years. She had sepsis (severe blood infection that's often fatal) a couple times, Severe e-coli infection and MRSA (the pain from that was unbearable everyday) and other issues that a person with a compromised immune system shouldn't even have survived. But Tammy did because she loved life. She was a fighter. And I think my love for her played a big part in it as well. I remember a time where the doc in the ICU told me Tammy's blood was toxic and it didn't look good. The next morning the same doctor approached me with with an odd look on his face. I braced for the worst. Instead he told me in a suprised voice that Tammy's blood work came back normal. A miracle? No. That was my Tammy. She was incredible. Through all this Tammy had an amazing positive spirit. She was an inspiration. In February 2015, Tammy collapsed while I was helping her to the bathroom in our home. The ambulance came and left with the lights and sirens blaring. This didn't look good. They thought it was her heart. At the hospital procedures were done and they thankfully said it wasn't her heart. They said she had another severe infection and found some blood clots. Unfortunately, two of those blot clots may have been created by the clumsy way they tried to put a central line in. Another stay in the ICU with Tammy, this time she was on a ventilator. But again she got better. After a couple weeks in the hospital they told her she was well enough to go to a rehab place to regain her strength. At rehab, I've never seen Tammy so determined to get stronger. At one point there was a serious stomach bug everyone on the first floor was getting, including Tammy. Although she was too ill to go to the rehab gym, she made sure the PT people came into her room and she did exercises from her bed. I was so proud of her. She amazed. I loved watching her peddle the bike or walk the stairs... me being her cheerleader. After a short stay in rehab though, we were told my insurance ran out. There was no way she was ready to go home so after some fighting with the insurance company we were able to get a bit more time at the rehab place. Her new discharge date was March 6th (turned out to be the worst day of my life) in the morning. On Wednesday, March 4th, we heard about a major snowstorm that was going to hit our area Thursday. Tammy decided that (to avoid an issue with roads being impassable Friday morning), she'd ask to leave that night to go home. She left rehab Wednesday night by ambulance. I just remember thinking how beautiful she looked in her orange coat and colorful scarf. When we got to our hiouse she had some trouble getting up the steps but with help, she made it into our bed and I was so happy! This next part is going to be difficult to write but I coninue on... Tammy had some medications I needed to get at the pharmacy but they were closed. Wednesday night Tammy slept like a baby! Thursday, we had about a foot of snow so no chance to get her new meds. Tammy was still tired but she ate ok. She wasn't up to doing exercises. I was suprised but I knew how tired she was. Friday March 6th... I got up extra early to clean our sidewalks and car of snow. As soon as I was done I asked Tammy if she was ok with me leaving for and hour or so. She said she was. So I left to buy some groceries and fill the prescriptions. When I came home I checked on Tammy and she was sleeping fine. I looked at her legs to see how the swelling looked (in rehab her legs and feet really swelled up but the staff didn't seem concerned), As a suprise I bought a corned beef and planned a great meal for the two of us (corned beef, parsley potatoes and candied carrots). Tammy loved my cooking and I cooked all her meals. Tammy woke up around 11 AM and asked if I could turn the tv to "Price is Right" and I did. All seemed ok as we watched that show and her favorite soap "The Young and the Restless'. Around 1:30PM or so she said she was tired and needed to nap. This sleepiness wasn't unusual for Tammy, fatigue is common with lupus. So I went ahead and started cooking the corned beef and making the side dishes in advance. I also was setting up our exercise equipment with lighter weights for Tammy's use. All the while checking on her and again she just seemed tired. Later in the day (around 4PM or so) I offered Tammy some of the corned beef. She said she wasn't hungry. Unusual because she normally would have loved to eat it. In the next hour or so she didn't seem quite right. She seemed a bit confused and extremely drowsy. I was getting concerned. I called my brother in law (a doctor) and asked if this could be a symptom of the new, narcotic pain pill (oxycontin). He said it could be, especially considering Tammy also took oxycodone. Tammy's started to say she was getting uncomfortable. At one point she sat up on the edge of the bed and I saw her just fall back in slow motion. I went to hold her, screaming out her name. She opened her eyes and said she was ok just uncomfortable and very tired. She laid back down on her pillow. Then she said she was having trouble breathing... I had to call 911! How could this all be? She just got home in good spirits from rehab. I called 911.. and got a busy signal!?! I couldn't believe it. In the meantime Tammy told me not to worry. She said she was fine. Thinking about it now, she must have just caught her breath for a moment. It wasn't much after that she said she was having trouble breathing and I called 911 again. They arrived in maybe 10 minutes. Tammy was in terrible distress. I was a basket case. She looked up and said "Help me"... I felt so helpless! The EMT's then put an oxygen mask on her. They rushed her downstairs and into the ambulance. I rushed out of the house. Why wasn't the ambulance moving!!!! I asked some of the guys outside from the volunteer fire dept. and they said they were "doing what they do". I had to find out what was going on!! I looked into the ambulances back window in horror... I saw them pounding on my Tammy's chest. "OMG" and "Please don't hurt her" is all I could think. I was feeling sick. At the hospital not more than 1/2 hour went by before they told me Tammy had arrived unresponsive and they couldn't bring her back. At that moment it felt like my world had ended. How could this be? She's only 45! I apologize if I posted too many details... I just needed to wite this all down. Now on to the guilt I'm feeling. Logically, you have seen the kind of horrible medical ordeals Tammy went through. It's amazing she beat all those odds time and again. She was a miracle of a human being. And I've been told by many, I was the most amazing and devoted husband they have ever known. And yes, I would do anything for Tammy. I cooked, I cleaned, I did her wound care, did all the grocery shoping... And why shouldn't I? She made me happy and when I married her I signed up for the "Lifetime Plan". So why am I so guilt ridden? The doctors sent her home saying she was doing better. But why didn't I, Tammy's soul mate know that her organs were failing? Sure, Tammy kept saying she was tired but why didn't I know it was more than that? Why am I beating myself up with crazy thoughts that something I said in an argument years ago may have lead to this? Maybe I'm just torturing myself because I want Tammy here with me and I need to blame someone. I guess that's me. Logic says, I was a great husband. Tammy told me many times no one has ever loved her like I do. Matter of fact a short time before she passed she told me she loved me more each day. When I left the hospital with Tammy a doctor there told me he admired my devotion to Tammy (I stayed there two weeks straight and slept in an uncomfortable chair in Tammy's room). Why wouldn't I stay there with Tammy 24/7... what would I do at home but worry, right? I know I need to stop beating myself up. It's not helping and it's certainly not justified. I've always been the kind of person that's been hard on myself. How do I overcome these feelings and get a more realistic (and fair) point of view? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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