End of Life Trauma Part 6 – The Final Hospital Stay

This is a continuing series about the end-of-life trauma of my recently departed wife. I was totally unprepared for what I would encounter during this 78-day period. I post this series to maybe prepare some of you for the same eventuality. All of us have to die sometime. Some of us go peacefully in our sleep, and some take months, even years, to pass.

As I mentioned in post #5 in this series, my wife took a fall when coming back from one of the many doctor’s appointments we had during this period. I don’t know the number of appointments we had, and I really don’t want to take the time to figure that out. But, as a result of the fall and her being in week 3 of being unable to take nourishment, she was again in the hospital.

She had now lost 25 lbs in a two-month period. I don’t really remember which group of doctors were in charge of this round, but he didn’t mince his words with flowery hope as some others had done. He told us that if she had any possibility of recovering, she would need to have a feeding tube down her throat. My wife was immediately against a feeding tube, but I told the doctor that we needed to discuss this alone before deciding.

At this point, she had multiple problems: severe heart attack, badly damaged gall bladder, inability to swallow, kidney damage, and severe pain, anxiety, and depression. If it had been me, I would have given up much sooner, but I didn’t tell her that. She needed to make that decision on her own. She decided to refuse the feeding tube and to put a DNR (do not resuscitate) order on her charts. The doctor who was one of the few who seemed to really care about us said that without the feeding tube she would not likely last no more than two weeks, so he was recommending hospice.

It so happened that the nurse who was also there knew that there was a bed available in a facility exclusively equipped for hospice. Within four hours, she was on her way to the “Hospice House”. This was the first time her eventual demise really struck me, so of course, I had another Aspie meltdown. But, it was really more from relief than panic, as the previous ones had been. I simply had trouble accepting the fact that the love of my life, the person who loved me despite all my problems, was going to die soon. How could I live without her!

The highs and lows of the hospice will be the story next time.

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