Thursday, November 13, 2008


After I consented to the DNR - Dr. D and I went to the nurse's station and began to call the children. I called Paul first - he was not home. I called Mark next. Mark is a doctor - we talked and then Dr. D. and Mark talked. We all agreed to the DNR.

Our ICU Room was dark and calm - broken only by the sounds of mechnical breathing and heart monitor beeps. At one point, I had my head down on the mattress, holding Tom's hand, chanting I love you, I love you, I love you. A hand touched my hair and a soft voice murmured, "and he loves you too." It was Cindy B - our friend and the Director of Nursing at the hospital. I must have mentioned to the staff that we knew Cindy (and John) (John gave the eulogy at Tom's funeral) because she got dressed and came down to the hospital to sit with me.

Through the long night I sat and dozed, I sat and held his hand, I prayed, I sang, I pledged, I slept fitfully in the reclining chair by his bed. I walked in the hall. Is this real? Wake me now Spirit. Oh Tom - my love, my friend, my husband. Only the inexorable beep of the heart monitor answered my pleas.

At dawn, I waited to call my friend Lisa - when she answered, I blurted it out. I told the story, finally I said, "will you come?" Lisa replied - "I dressed while we talked, I will be there soon." She must have come on a low flying jet.

Lisa scooped me up in her arms and touched Tom in her loving and inimitable way. The neurologist arrived - it was early - she showed us the MRI. It was devastating. Even the top slice of the MRI had an infarct - from the bottom of his right ear to the top of his head. I remember small, intense jolts of that first encounter in the small consultation room. Lisa asked the questions - I probably did too. Oh Tom - what does this mean?

I called Joan in Florida - Steve answered, she had gone to work. I will never forget, Steve broke down and wept as we talked. He called Joan. Ten minutes later she called - "I am arriving tonight!"

Lisa made me go home - the nurses said, "it's OK - we will call you if anything happens." Lisa drove - when we went inside, there was messy on the floor where I found Tom. I went downstairs - Lisa must have cleaned things up. Oh Spirit, is this real?

I got some clothes - I selected music and family photographs to take back in the room. I don't remember much of anything else - other than my life was not there right then. We returned to the last home Tom and I would have together.


1 comment:

  1. Suzann,
    you have some wonderful friends.
    I've met them. I know they were anxiuos - I can understand - but after a short while I felt part "your common friends environment"
    -- even Steve told me before I left:
    I feel like I've known you forever"

    Thanks to you