Continuing on from last week’s post, I bring you this, Nick’s last day in hospital:
Nick had drifted off to sleep, while I lay on the stretcher besides him. His health that day had steadily declined to a point where he wasn’t able to communicate much, and when he did his voice was just a whisper. He’d barely been out of his bed in over 24 hours. The once rowdy, confident Nick of old was gone, replaced by this quiet, raspy voiced person instead. His face was angular, having lost all of its plumpness and his body wasn’t much more than skin and bones.
I couldn’t believe we’d ended up here, but yet we were. Only 7 months earlier, we’d had it all and now I was contemplating a future alone, without my partner in love and life. But still, I stay focused and strong, Nick needed me now, and we vowed to stay positive, always, and one thing we never did, was ask ‘why us?’, I wasn’t about to start now.
Halfway through the night, I remember him waking me up to say he needed to go to the bathroom. He motioned to the bathroom door and started to try and get up. I went to him to assist, but he pushed me away, showing he wanted to do it alone and he did, just like that. He steadied himself on the side of the bed and lifted his torso up and starting the few steps to the bathroom door, not saying very much, just mumbling as he went.
I stood behind him, ready to catch him, but he seemed strong, shuffling his way across the floor. I was secretly thrilled, watching him do this alone, when he’d needed assistance before. It gave me hope that maybe things were turning around. He started shuffling back to bed, again unassisted, though I helped him swing his legs up onto the bed and he went back to sleep. Me with a big smile on my face, thinking in the morning, we are finally going to have good news, this had to be a sign!
Next morning, I start about my normal routine, making my bed, folding sheets away, and getting ready to head back to the apartment to shower and change. Nick wasn’t very responsive, but I put that down to the morphine working its magic. His oncologist came in to check on him with more tests, I started to rattle off, how Nick had walked unassisted and it was a good sign, blah, blah, blah…apparently I wasn’t quite the nurse I thought I was.
Within a half hour of his visit, and me almost on my way out back home, the doctor came to me outside the room and said, ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea you go anywhere, Nick doesn’t have long to go and I’d hate for you to not be here.’ Uhh, doctor said what ???
Although this was something we knew would happen eventually, from the week starting off so well, I couldn’t have imagined that the last two days meant the end, right now! But, seeing him laying in his hospital bed, a shadow of his former self, his body once strong, was now giving up its fight, there was nothing left to give, he couldn’t go on, I understood what had to happen next.
Apparently, his final act of walking himself to the bathroom, is a common occurrence in people who are near the end, they somehow find this last store of energy to use. Have you ever witnessed this?
Anyway, I dove straight into action, telling everyone who’d listen that we had to get him home. I spoke softly to him and told him I was taking him home, he nodded with a faint smile, acknowledging what i’d said, he knew his time had come.
The ambulance would take us and i’d follow in my car, Nick tried to speak, he was telling me he wanted me in the ambulance with him, and then the thought occurred, that if he didn’t make the ride home, I wouldn’t be with him. Change tactics, I called his good friend, John to meet me at the hospital to drive my car, so I could ride with him instead. Sorted.
The palliative care team were sent to the room to speak to me, to discuss end of life options and support for me after his death, I told them I was fine and thanked them for coming by. They said, ‘You do realise Nick isn’t going to make it and the end has come’, but I was prepared and standing around talking to a bunch of ladies about it, was taking me away from my final hours with Nick.
I was given bags of medication to take with us, since we were going home, we were also going it alone, without doctor assistance. I didn’t really know what that meant, at that stage, just that it was Nick’s last wish and I was going to make it happen. Our oncologist and another good doctor friend, came past and briefed me on what might happen when the end came, I think anyone else might have fainted having to hear worst case scenarios, but I took it all in and hoped for the best.
Then came the farewells, nurses, doctors, other patients, receptionists, our beautiful pharmacist friend, it was a steady stream of people who Nick had touched so dearly in his time there. The news had travelled fast. Some couldn’t come into the room, not wanting to see him like that, how far he’d deteriorated, they called me outside instead, to pass me their details and give me a hug. There were tears as we said our goodbyes, knowing we’d never be back there and I could never re-pay them for the friendship and support they’d given us.
I started making phone calls to our families, to meet us at home, the news was less than welcomed, but I knew he’d want them with us when the time came.
And soon, it was time to leave the hospital, the ambulance had arrived, we were going home. and I was ready.
I’ll end this here and I want to include the below video of Nick in better health, the date is 28th September, 2010. This video is far less emotional than the last I shared.
It shows Nick talking about his chemo treatment and as always, his love for his baby girl, Claudia. I like that it shows his strength, in trying to maintain as normal a life as he could, under the circumstances.
As he said, he kept soldiering on and never gave up hope, because everyday is a new day!
I think that’s something we should all remember, when you’re having a bad day, when the kids are crying, when your work day hasn’t gone as planned, when you ruin your new favourite shoes, everyday is a new day and a chance to do over and start again.
Having perspective over these type of issues, is what will see you through the hard days, because life isn’t perfect, its made up of lots of less than perfect moments, but it’s how you react to those times, that make you a stronger person.
Without Nick battling and losing his fight, I might not have learnt this life lesson, which is why I am grateful for him and everyday I have been given.
Thank you for reading, i’ll pick this up again next week, please continue to share, like, comment, it means the world to me to get Nick’s message across, life is precious.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post!
Til next week, Michela x
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