Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A year ago today

A year ago today we were holding hands.

A year ago today a gentle cardiologist came into our room in the cardiac ICU and told us it was over. He asked Kevin to sign a DNR and agree to go into what they called "comfort care." Kevin's eyes were huge. He was scared and he was angry.

We asked the doctor to leave the room and we talked about it. We talked about why they wanted the DNR. Kevin was so weak, so depleted, the cancer was such a mother-fucker that if his heart or lungs stopped it would be difficult to revive him. And if they did manage to revive him he would be battered by the experience. And if he was able to be revived it was unlikely they could ever remove his breathing tube or even allow him to come to any kind of consciousness. It was over.

He looked at me and asked what I thought he should do.

I remember wanting to lie. I remember wanting to say he should keep fighting, that we could do this. I remember hating the words coming out of my mouth as I told him that we had always known a time would come to lay down arms. We were there. I told him that if he wanted to ask for all measures to be taken to keep him alive I knew I could give the order to remove the breathing tube, that I could give him that gift. But that, if it were me, I would sign the DNR. I told him I hated it. But that I thought he should do it.

He looked at me with such a gentle expression. He probably stroked my cheek. And then he said. "I love you. And I trust you. If you think that's what I should do, that it's time, then that's okay. But I want to revisit it in the morning."

I have never felt less deserving of trust.

We called the doctor in and he signed, repeating that he wanted to revisit it in the morning. I stayed with him through the night, listening to him breathe, holding his hand. From time to time he would wake up and we would talk or touch or look at each other.

I miss him so much I can barely breathe.

(c)2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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