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sdk
February 16th, 2012, 17:13
My husband passed away 5 weeks ago after spending two months in the hospital. He went to the hospital after suffering a massive stroke. Within 24 hours he developed pneumonia, pancreatis and had a heart attack (his 5th one) and went into kidney failure.He was put on a ventilator and was given a 5-10% to survive. He woke up 6 weeks later and was talking and beginning to learn how to sit up, comb his hair and brush his teeth. All his doctors called him a miracle patient, He was scheduled to go to rehab after 7weeks. Two days before discharge, he developed congestive heart failure, pneumonia, kidney shut down, another heart attack and flash pumonary edema. He was put back on the ventilator again and was unable to breath on his own. The doctors tried medication to get rid of the fluid on his lungs but it did not work. They said he was not breathing over the vent and they could try dialysis, but he probably would not make it.

My chilren and I decided to turn off the vent and he died 48 hours later. The guilt I feel is so overwhelming that I can not seem to get on with the grieving process. When I close my eyes I can only see him those last two months in the hospital. My husband was only 66 years old.
I need advice,

SDK

cal821
February 16th, 2012, 18:01
I have been in this position myself...

I can relate directly to the guilt you are feeling. I lost my wife Tammy 4 years ago after an auto accident. I was driving that day and was distracted by our children.. I looked away from the road for a split second and we hit a large hole in the road surface .. The vehicle then went out of control and over a cliff side. It rolled and my wife's side of the vehicle took the brunt of the damage. My wife was only 38 years old and the mother of our three girls... 6 , 3, and 15 months...

She was critically injured from the accident I caused by my in-attention.

They Medivacced her out via air ambulance to a trama hospital about 200 miles from the crash site. When I was finally able to get to the hospital they had taken her to she had just come out of emergency surgery. She was in a coma critically injured and there was little chance she would wake up... No One..... the Doctors or The Nurses in ICU wouldn't give me the straight story on her chances of ever waking up from the Coma.. They kept feeding me Happy stories and telling me of miracle cases similar that walked out of the step down unit.. The next unit to the ICU where once they get a person stabilized they start the real work on recovery..


I believed the stories got my hopes up... I believed there was chance for a miracle .. I believed she would wake up... but on the 9th day after the accident my wife had a massive stroke.. It took out her Brain Stem... She was brain dead.. She had to be put on a full time ventillator and couldn't breathe on her own...

The doctors and Nurses stopped talking to me about anything miracle like after that...
I was very lucky in the sense the new Neuro Doc had come in for her rotation and she had to sit down with me and give me the facts...

The bottom line is she asked me if I wanted to remove life support on my wife .........""" The sheer thought of it angered me!!!" I could never do that to my wife.. I couldn't pull the plug even if there was only a 1% chance of ever recovering from the coma... I was infuriated with the sheer thought of it.. I could never do it I didn't know if I had the strength in me to give the order...


But then the Doc told me something that hit true to my core... She told me I didn't have to make that choice.. God Did... My wife was clinically brain dead... She also couldn't breathe on her own.... If taken off life support she would pass very quickly... And even if a MIRACLE BY THE GRACE OF GOD!! she was able to breath on her own she would be in a vegetative state.. No Quality of life... The many tubes and hoses draining and pumping fluids out her body would ultimately be her demise... entry points for Bacterial infections sepstis of the blood and body...

The doc told me even just even if a person's body in a vegetative state was in perfect shape ... they would not last for very long.. ultimately their body would succumb ... basically they will launguish.....wither and slowly die..


WHAT QUALITY OF LIFE IS THAT... There is none... My wife was a nurse and I know for a fact what her feelings were if she was ever in a situation as such... she would never want to live... she told me that her self.. the year before when she had to remove life support for her STEP MOM who had suffered a massive heart attack and stroke and was in the same position she her self would be in...


So SDK you have to look at this logically.. You knew your husband better than anyone else.. Would HE have wanted to live if there was no chance for recovery... quality of life....???

I know the decision to remove life support was one that will pain you forever if you let it.. But as the DOC told me YOU DIDN"T MAKE THAT DECISION "GOD DID"... If he was meant to recover the miracle would have happened..


Believe me SDK I feel your pain with all my heart... Because I walked a similar path..

PLease you have to start to forgive yourself... Your Husband would never blame you for doing what was already decided by GOD!

Put yourself in your husband's position ... and I'm sure that he would have done the same thing for you.... Your husband's essence and soul were already gone to be with GOD!! What was left was just his shell of a body..


SDK I wish you peace for your hurting heart... If you wish to talk further please feel free to private message me.. Or even if you don't feel like talking take a look at some of my posts.. I may be able to offer some advice that will help you start to heal..

You have to start tell youself you gave your husband Peace... Not more pain for his broken body... and this logic will slowly sink in and you will be able to release some of your pain..
The sense of guilt really serves no purpose when you look at things....what you did was out of LOVE for your husband.. It was GOD who ended your husband's suffering long before!!

I wish you peace in this horrible time for you.. and clarity in thought when everything is confused

CAL821

hamilton
February 17th, 2012, 06:25
cal, eloquently and beautifully said, I really can't add much to that, but I am so sorry for both of your losses. I will only say that guilt is extremely common when losing someone, although not always that direct (ie about one specifici decision or action). Believe me, although I didn't have to make the call you did, I have had tons of guilt about what I did or didn't do in many ways.

You are human, you loved them, you did what you felt best given the situation, and that is all anyone can ask. Think if positions were reversed and your loved one was beating themselves up about it; would you want that? Of course not. And they don't want that for you. Try to remember that and remember that beating yourself up doesn't change or fix anything; the only thing it can do is hurt you, and that makes your loved one sad, because they see you being hard on yourself. I know it's incredibly hard, but try not to.

Marjatta
February 25th, 2012, 08:43
Hi SDK,

Amen to what Cal and Hamilton said. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. And your grieving process has already begun ... it's just that you also have that horrible time while he was in the hospital overriding your thoughts and memories right now. Like you, I remember that moment like it was yesterday, but it does take a bit more effort to bring it up in my mind. What I do remember more now are the happier times when he was alive and well.

You are not alone in struggling against guilt. I also felt that if I had nagged him more to go to the doctor (he was stubborn that way) and go sooner, he would still be alive today. In fact, he was scheduled to go to the doctor a day after he died. Finally, after putting my foot down, he was going ... but it was too late.

But I don't dwell on that or beat myself up over it because as humans we can only do so much. You were faced with a decision where there was only one right answer, you knew what it was, and you did what had to be done. The selfish thing to do would have been to keep him alive longer, trapped in a broken body that would never work again. That would have been unmerciful and unkind. Through your love for him, you allowed what God and nature had already decided. The decision had already been made.

May peace and comfort find you and soothe your aching heart and soul. We're all here for you, and we care.

Marjatta

sdk
February 25th, 2012, 12:30
marjatta,

thank you for your encouragment and kind words. It is so much easier talking to others who know exactly how I feel.

it has now been 7 weeks since my husband died and the guilt is still there, but there a times when I can think about how I did do the right thing. I had become obsessed with reading his medical records from the 2 months in the hospital (all 1325 pages) but I am down to only once or twice a week, One of the pages listed everything that was wrong with him and the fact that he was incurable and could not survive of the ventilator,
I have started to look at pictures from vacations we took and it puts a smile on my face for a few seconds and then i start to cry realizing we would never go on vacation again together. Since I retired last year we had made so many plans to go away and now that will never happen and that makes me so sad.
I find that the hardest part of the day is at night when i go to sleep and he is not there. I want so much to feel his arms around me again and knowing he is there. I lay in bed and close my eyes and talk to him (as I do throughout the day) and that sometimes help.
I went to the cementary the other day for the first time I broke my foot the day he died and the cast just came off). and really felt his arms around me, but now sometimes when I close my eyes I just see a pile of dirt.

I know the grieving process is hard but it is helping that there are people out there who listen and most important REALLY understand.

SDK

hamilton
February 25th, 2012, 17:23
I have started to look at pictures from vacations we took and it puts a smile on my face for a few seconds and then i start to cry realizing we would never go on vacation again together.
I have had a very mixed or inconsistent approach and feelings about pictures too. At first I put some out to see her face, but then it was too hard and so I put them away - I have some on the PC and look at them sometimes and sometimes wish I hadn't, it hurts so much to see her and know that's roughly as close as I can get, at least directly, and as you say know we'll never go on vacation again etc. I hope one day I can have her pictures out or look at them and although miss her, not hurt so much, and hopefully have even good feelings and gratitude for those times we did have. I'm so sorry and wish you the best dealing with this.

sdk
February 25th, 2012, 18:43
i have a picture of my husband sitting on the kitchen table where he used to sit along with his magazines and the medicene he used to take every morning. This makes me feel like he is there and I talk to him while I eat. I also have a picture of him on his pillow in our bed and I kiss it every night. This makes me feel a little better because he hasn't been home since november 13 when in went into the hospital.

hamilton
February 26th, 2012, 08:23
That's great sdk; again whatever helps get you through. Both interesting ideas, might try myself. :)

sdk
February 26th, 2012, 10:08
last night I had a real melt-down. I was thinking about when he had gotten better in the hospital after about 5 weeks and was scheduled to go to rehab. Jim eas talking, learning how to comb his hair, brush his teeth and sit up with help. He was breathing mostly on his won. The hospital had him tranferred out of ICU to PCU and then a day later to a regular room. He was very neglected during the day and a half he was in the regular room and everything went down hill. He was put back into ICU where one week later he died after being taken off life support. I have now decided to hire a lawyer to see if the neglect he experienced in the regulsr care unit had anything to do with his getting so sick at the end. I know it will not bring him back, but I have to know. I do not know if it will relieve some of my guilt, but I feel I need to try.

Marjatta
February 26th, 2012, 11:06
Hi SDK,

Yes, I imagine now that the dust is settling a bit and the events of the recent past can be visualized more clearly, things like this will come to mind ... things that you probably didn't even have a chance to think about before.

You must do what you must do, so if you have any doubts about Jim's care, yes, it's definitely your right to know, I believe.

Like you, I have a picture of Shaun on my desk where I work, so every now and then I talk to him too ... even out loud! LOL I feel he is always with me, guiding me and helping me survive my grief. He also has helped me in many other ways ... strange, coincidental ways that, well, can't be coincidences!

Speaking of pillows, Shaun had this old, ratty feather-stuffed pillow, which I just hated, but he'd had it since he was a kid and it was the only pillow he found comfortable. Well, guess what? I sleep with that ratty old thing and it makes me feel closer to him. I know I'll never get rid of it now (just like his old baseball cap, which I wear around the house every now and then ... just because.)

Hoping today is a better day for you, SDK. I know how draining those nights can be. Meltdowns are exhausting.

Big hugs to you,

Marjatta

cal821
February 26th, 2012, 13:50
last night I had a real melt-down. I was thinking about when he had gotten better in the hospital after about 5 weeks and was scheduled to go to rehab. Jim eas talking, learning how to comb his hair, brush his teeth and sit up with help. He was breathing mostly on his won. The hospital had him tranferred out of ICU to PCU and then a day later to a regular room. He was very neglected during the day and a half he was in the regular room and everything went down hill. He was put back into ICU where one week later he died after being taken off life support. I have now decided to hire a lawyer to see if the neglect he experienced in the regulsr care unit had anything to do with his getting so sick at the end. I know it will not bring him back, but I have to know. I do not know if it will relieve some of my guilt, but I feel I need to try.

SDK Iam really sorry to see you hurting on this.. I went through the same thing.. I had poured over my wife's medical files and looked for reason for her decline and stroke that took her. For months after her death I was in constant communication with the coroner in charge of the case. The accident itself was fully investigated by the RCMP ( MVAI) Division which is like your CSI in the states. I spent many months "stuck" in my anger stage of grief looking for answers to the point it became obsessive and I began to neglect my health..

Please don't get me wrong SDK you have to do what you have to do.. I just want to say please go easy. it can very easily become a real obsession looking for answers and it will actually slow down or stop your grieving process and (Grief Work) if you let it.


I say this very carefully because I know how consumed I became with looking for answers.. I think it delayed myself coming to understanding and closure because of the obsession.


I wish you peace and hope you find the answers you are looking for.

Cal821

sdk
February 26th, 2012, 17:06
marjatta,

First, my name is Sheryl. Today is a better day. I went to see my granddaughter and she always makes me feel better. I know it was a great blessing that Jim saw her being born and had 6 weeks with her before he got sick. I also know how much he loved her because when we were waiting for him to pass, I placed pictures of her under is hand and on top of his heart and he died one hour later. He was just waiting for her. I also believe that he will always be her guardian angel.
I also sleep with Jims pillows and in fact I still am sleeping on his side of the bed. I always did that whenever he was in the hospital over the last 14 years. I am not quite ready to move back to my side, but know I eventual will.
Hugs,
Sheryl

sdk
February 26th, 2012, 20:26
CAL21,
i know what you mean by becoming obsessed. this afternoon I was late going to see my granddaughter because I was going through jims medical records (all 1325 not in order). After a few minutes the tears started and was getting harder to see the words. So I stopped. I will do it slowly and see if there is any proof to what I think before I see a lawyer.
Thank you for the advice about everything. Its great to speak to people who really understand how I am feeling and what I am thinking.

have a good night
Sheryl (SDK)