Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The House is so quiet

His heavy-duty oxygen concentrator lies sleeping in the hallway. One gets used to noisy machines, but once they're turned off, the quiet is unsettling.

David was admitted to the Palliative Care Floor at Mount Sinai Hospital yesterday. It was snowing. Very strange at this time of year, especially since we've had such a warm spring. Driving was a little freaky. They put him in the ambulance at the hospital, while I dashed to the parking lot, unlocked my car door, paid the exit fee and barrelled down the road, hoping to follow. A couple of blocks away I saw a yellow ambulance. Oh good - visibility was poor, so following a big yellow ambulance made my job easier - until it took a wrong turn.

Oops - my mistake - wrong ambulance. Good thing I knew where I was going and happened to end up at Mt. Sinai just as the Real Ambulance was arriving.

Things are much more relaxed. I can finally breathe a little bit, knowing he is receiving good care. The nurses are angels, the doctor - superb. Comfort is their goal and accommodation almost takes my breath away. I slept on a cot beside David's bed last night. Not too comfortable, but he slept like a baby all night. I wanted so badly to open a window, but they were sealed. Lights and noises kept me awake. I had not brought anything with me, so slept in one of David's T-shirts. Tonight I will sleep in my own bed, with the windows wide open. I hate being away from him, but really cannot sleep in the hospital.

I know this "letting go" process is a gradual one. I am learning to "let go" of his personal care. I need to let the nurses bathe him and look after him, particularly since I can't be there every day. The drive is about an hour. Twice as far as the active hospital. But I am wearing out. So I have to take a step back.

It feels like our paths are beginning to fork - he taking one and I the other. We can still see each other, still hold hands and kiss, still share coffee and meals, but I know it's time for him to move on.

I have come to realize that the human spirit is incredibly strong. I may have said it before (long ago when I first started blogging) that his body is crumbling, yet his spirit shines brightly and strongly through his eyes.

Most people would have left this Earth by now. But David's mind is still sharp. I bring him the mail and we open it together. He "instructs me" (as if I didn't know) on paying the bills and other household accounting. This keeps his mind active and busy and makes him feel as if he's still a part of Normal Life Out There. He wants to do some physio to gain back a little strength, so he can sit in a chair and hopefully stand up once again. I am humbled by the strength and fighting spirit he has.

As I drive home, I watch people doing everyday things: shopping, eating, walking. I speak to my children. "What can we do to help?" they ask. "Just tell me about your day. I need to know there is a Normal Life Out There somewhere".

28 comments:

Karin said...

So sorry to hear of all you are going through! It's hard to know just what to say. May it comfort you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. May God give you strength one step at a time.

beckie said...

Wendy, have had you on my mind a lot wondering how things were going. My heart goes out to you and I keep you both in my prayers.

I am so impressed by your intuition, you seem to know what you both have to do and it sounds so right to me. I don't know that I would have your insight and courage.

You are living in 2 worlds aren't you- the real one at home and the surreal one at the hospital.

Do take as good care of yourself as you can and remember to be very kind to yourself. You are such a good writer and maybe a journal now would help you sort through all that you are feeling.
Take care dear Wendy and know that we hold you near.

mxtodis123 said...

Oh, Wendy, I am so sorry to hear what you are going through right now. You are a very strong woman;I read that in your words. Know that you are not alone. You have so many friends here who love you. My prayers are with you.
Mary

Hilary said...

I'm keeping you and your David in my best thoughts. Wishing you both strength. Hugs to you, Wendy.

joanne said...

your sweet and gentle spirit is an inspiration to me. Sending prayers for all of you...take a deep breath and get a little rest.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

The human spirit is just amazing, isn't it? I think we surprise ourselves when we see what we are really capable of...and we really don't know until we are faced with our own mortality, just how strong our spirit blazes. Your's is shining just as brightly as David's. Be kind to yourself. I am so glad you have your family close to you, but I wish I could be there to give you a big hug...

...filled with love,
jenny

white_lilly said...

My heart goes out to you and David at this time and I pray for the peace and Love of God will rest in your hearts.

x0x0x0

Rose said...

Dear Wendy, I am glad that your husband has been moved to another hospital that will give him the best care possible. I know that must be so reassuring to you and give you some peace of mind. I'm happy that you can spend some nights at home now; you will need your strength. You have been such an inspiration with your strength through all of this, and now I can see that your husband shares this indomitable spirit as well. What a lovely tribute to him!

The feeling of detachment you describe as you see others going about their "normal lives out there" is one that all of us who have experienced a tragedy or personal loss can relate to. Please know, though, that all of your friends here are thinking of you and keeping you in our prayers. Wishing I could give you a big hug right now,

Rose

Cheryl said...

My dear Wendy......I am trying to type through the tears. I cry for you and David.
Letting go is the hardest thing.....it comes with acceptance.
I feel your journey deep within me.
Know I think of you each day and take you in the garden when the day is quiet......

Holding you close......

Teacher's Pet said...

Wendy...I'm still right here....thinking of you and David.
Always,
Jackie

Beverly said...

I will be thinking of you, and hope for the best.

Andrea said...

Dear Wendy, all of us your blogging friends pray for you and David. Everybody goes there sometime, it is just a matter of time. I am moved by your courage and strength of spirit. Have some rest and dont forget your vitamins before you return to your beloved David.

My father's name is David and i stayed the whole of 1 month in the hospital before he left us. My sister come and go, but i did not go home until the end. It was my time to thank him for everything,show him his love. Sometimes these moments are actually needed not by the patient but by us, those left behind. These are moments of processing the thoughts for better adjustments. Happy weekend Wendy. We love you and God loves you.

Naturegirl said...

Wendy I am saddened to hear of what has transpired since my last visit with you. Know that both you and David are in my prayers and thoughts.I send you comfort.giving you a gentle hug anna

Mimi said...

Wendy, you are an incredible spirit. You are so strong and I am glad to know that you have already come to terms with all that life may throw at us and DOES throw at us. Sending you lots of hugs and blessings!

hummer said...

Wendy, your followers have expressed it all. I feel for you. I remember sitting in the hospital holding hands with my husband and his twinkling eye as he squeezed my hand. The hardest time was when my spirit knew I had to let him go. My daughter asked how did you handle it when your daddy died? I had to say, it had been a gradual process because he had mini strokes for a year, and he gradually left us going towards the light and us towards life. My sweetie had done the same. He wouldn't take pain medication so he could visit and enjoy everyone as long as possible, but finally the long sought after peace came.

JeanMac said...

Wendy, I am with you in spirit. The hour drive is long - Wayne is an hour away from home also and I sometimes skip a day and then worry all that day! Will be with you in spirit. Sending love to both of you. J

Shammickite said...

I've been away from blogging foir a couple of weeks, so I am only now catching up with your news. My heart goes out to you and to David. You are doing your best for him and you know he will be gtting the best of care while he is in the hospital. I'm thinking of you and sending you both my best wishes.

LK said...

Dear Wendy,
I feel for you. It seems you are coping as best you can and I hope your dear hubby is too. It is a twilight zone when you are so caught up in this caregiving world and you realize that others are going about their day with no knowledge of what is happening in yours.
Take care,
L

Allie said...

You are in my thoughts, Wendy. Your perspective on this is amazing, and I am so in awe of the grace and love you put forth even in the face of difficult changes.

onesilentwinter said...

tears ot my eys dear auntie wendy. your lovely and gracious.

femail doc said...

Oh heavens Wendy, I am so sorry to hear about your recent struggles, but relieved that you've found such a supportive place for David to wind down his journey. My thoughts are with you.

amelia said...

This is all so sad. It's good for you that David is in a place where you can at least relax and give over his care to the nurses but at the same time it's very sad because you know that these are the end days and that can't be easy.
I hope so much that you continue to find peace in your life
Sending you and David lots of love...

Shammickite said...

Hi there... just checking in so see if you are OK and to see if there is any news. Keep smiling.

Naturegirl said...

Wendy today is Mother's Day and I stop by to wish you a bunch of happiness today and tomorrow and all summer!

Q said...

Dear Wendy,
You are a remarkable woman. I send strength and smiles and many hugs. I send joy and peace. Please know you are the best of wives and friends. May you sleep well knowing David is cared for. May you enjoy all the special times you and David have.
You are an inspiration.
Thank you for sharing your journey.
I now have known true gracefulness.
It is an honor to be your friend.
Love and light,
Sherry

Andrea said...

Hello Wendy, it is already May 11 since your last post in April here. I just dropped by to say hello and many faceless friends (because you dont know us) are thinking about you and David, to give you energy and strength. How is David now? God loves you and your family, take care!

Abba's Girl said...

Praying for you and your husband.

hummer said...

I have been thinking of you. Hope you and hubby are better. Would call you if I knew how to. When my husband was in the hospital I had a friend that called with a joke every day to lighten our moods.
Hugs