Michael was admitted to the hospital today. I called the doctor this morning because I didn’t like what was going on with him.

Since Thanksgiving Michael appeared to be declining. He didn’t eat anything on Thanksgiving. A little more on Friday and then nothing Saturday. Sunday I managed to get a few spoonfuls of clam chowder in him but it took me over an hour to get in about 10 small teaspoons. I had helped him up to go to the bathroom but he went all over himself by the time I got him up. We went to the bathroom to change and he couldn’t lift his head. He was confused. He was talking but not making sense. I changed him and while walking him back, he almost fell over. I caught him.

I spoonfed him the chowder and then helped him get settled for some sleep. I asked if he had any pain. He said no. Unlike other forms of cancer, many brain cancer patients do not have any pain. The suffering is all mine right now. I take care of him and then run upstairs to cry and cry. I have begun to imagine my life without him. And I hate it. I feel as if my heart is simply being torn out. After a lifetime of not knowing love even from people who are supposed to love you, like your parents, he came into my life and filled it with unselfish goodness and love.

When my son was hurt and then I was in a car accident, Michael sold his beloved Harley, and then his truck and then the Packard he was lovingly restoring ,to pay for our uninsured medical bills. He even put a for sale sign on his bass boat for a time but then I made him take it down. I’d give up the house before I’d make him sell one more thing.

I’ve always planned to make that up to him. In my entire life I’ve never bought a lottery ticket but for the past 4 years I have bought one or more every week. And like all ticket buyers I imagine winning the lottery and every time I imagined buying him a Harley and a truck and a new bass boat and having it sitting in the driveway for when he got home. I imagined his face over and over again. But even if I didn’t win the lottery he was going to have those things again. I had already been looking at bikes and boats this past summer and tried to learn about Ranger boats so that I could make a good choice. He never complained about not having those things except for this past summer when they opened up a motorcycle shop nearby. He wanted to go down and meet the people and hang out but it’s tough when you’ve got all the Harley gear and not the Harley. I said to him, “It’s coming, honey, it’s coming.” and I meant it. I really did.

I feel wracked with guilt that I didn’t get him those things sooner. Not that I was solely responsible for the decision to put it off, but we had a lot of bills to pay off first and I do the bills. So he would ask and I would say, no not yet. We were paying things off and we did have a plan in place. Sometimes he got impatient about it but would always regroup in his head. He would say “I know…I know…” and then apologize for being impatient. One of the first things he ever said to me is “I’m not known for my patience.” No he wasn’t but he exhibited incredible patience over the motorcycle thing.

We had a plan to get them in the next couple of years so we could take off on trips when Gina went to college. There was a plan but now I know that things happen before you get a chance to see those plans through. And it kills me that it’s left unfinished. Not because I didn’t get to do them…I mean, yes, that pain is there…but it’s because he didn’t get to do the thing he loved most in this world…ride a Harley…for the past 5 years. In a well world it made perfect and logical sense to hold off on it. In a terminally ill world all you want to do is turn back the hands of time and redo what you didn’t do.

And now I contemplate a future some days and other days am realistic to know there isn’t one. I vacillate between being with him and leaving him alone in peace. I am never quite sure which way to go.

When Goobies died last month I got him to the doctor and for tests right before he died. There was nothing they could do but I needed to know, even in the midst of my husband’s medical crisis, that I had not abandoned my cat when he needed me. On that last morning, I picked Goobies up to hold him in my arms about an hour before he died. I have no idea what made me do it. He was laboring and liked it on the cold tile floor but I picked him up and he didn’t protest. I wrapped him in a blanket and he just lay quietly in my arms until he died.

Over the weekend I was having similar behaviors toward Michael. On Saturday night I lay with him on the couch until my back simply couldn’t take it anymore. Then I pulled the love seat over and held his hand. When that was too much I finally went to bed for a few hours of restless sleep. I woke up and read about the end stage of cancer. And cried and cried. Then I went down to sit with him. All day. Watched his breathing which is very slow. Constantly checked the temperature of his hands and feet. Listening for odd sounds. Preparing for the worst. Crying on and off.

Then, yesterday, I’m sitting there holding his hand and watching the Giants game and suddenly his eyes slam open and he looks at me and says, clear as a bell, “Could I have some peaches hun?” and I run to open a can of peaches and cut them up and bring them back and begin to feed him.

He ate about 7 of them. All the while commenting, lucidly, on the football game. He knew what was going on and called the play before the announcer did. He made the right remarks at the right times. He clearly knew what was happening in the game. He was himself for about 15 minutes. Then he fell back to sleep. I felt guilty for thinking I had been holding a bedside death vigil for the past 24 hours and then there he is chipper as ever. But then he faded away again. I don’t know what I’m holding. Or what is going on.

So I called the doctor and we talked alternatives and choices. We decided to bring him in and get him some tests and some hydration and figure it out. I know I’ll know tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll like what I hear but I’ll know.

The house is so lonely without him here. Even when he’s sleeping 23 hours a day, his presence is here and I check on him all the time or just sit with him for hours. When he’s not here, the void is immense.

A great big chasm.

For me.

To scream into.

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