Monday, January 18, 2010

Last days before death


The last days before death.

Janie was finally bringing her beloved husband home from the hospital. The doctor’s had questioned and explained in detail the stressful, strenuous and demanding nature of a husband dying. The doctor’s did not sugar coat this issue, therefore Janie knew it would be the end. Janie had promised many years ago that if it were within her power she would respect her husband’s wishes to die at home and not in a nursing home or hospital.

Janie had faithfully spent each day at the hospital through three weeks of tests, operation and removal of the horrid fast growing cancer in his brain. Never once did he forget who she was and how much they had lived and loved for one another. Theirs had been a love faithful and true for all nineteen years. Their anniversary had been only a week prior to his admission to the hospital and the discovery of this deadly tumor.

Every evening after leaving the hospital Janie would paint ceilings, wash walls, scrub carpets and floors in preparation for her husbands return home. Several times during the few quiet moments they would share between tests and relatives visiting, he would mention some thing that she had worked on the previous night instead of sleeping. Janie often felt his presence even though she was alone in their home. This was some thing Janie didn’t understand but for years they had talked about being able to will yourself some where and actually feel as if you were there.

When a person is so close to death some thing happens and they can see and talk to people as if they were alive or in the room. Janie’s husband often did this after he was home. The hospice head nurse and chaplain had explained these occurrences to Janie. He would often speak to his Mother and Father. For his Mother it was always a loving smile. For his Father it was to be forgiven for not taking proper care of the milk cow one hot summer day. Janie’s husband had told her of this incident, where at age sixteen he decided he was a man and didn’t have to do as his Father asked. He soon discovered that he wasn’t quite as grown up as he felt he was.

Janie had been told by the chaplain that if she knew what the circumstances which lead to these questions that it was fine to reassure her husband that he was forgiven. Often after each of these sessions He would go limp and almost lifeless.

One such incident caught Janie by surprise. It was three days before his death that Janie witnessed one such frightening occurrence. Janie had been told by the nurse that she would have to administer an enema at seven thirty the next morning. Janie admitted that she had never before given an enema to anyone. The nurse went over each step with Janie that evening before she left. The next morning by phone, as promised the nurse assured Janie that she could do this task.

Janie drew a deep breath and explained to her husband that she had to do this task. He smiled and gave her a kiss and helpfully posed himself in the proper position. Janie reassured her husband, as well as herself, and slowly with gentle pressure began the painful enema. Janie’s husband cried a mournful sob and in a voice she did not recognize he stated, “Stop this pain, I say stop it now. All you have ever done is to cause me pain.” Once again he called out his ex-wife’s name and stated, “You will never cause me pain again for I damn you to hell now.” Janie removed the empty enema bottle, pulled the protective sheet over her husband’s back side and on trembling legs she attempted to stand. Janie walked to the side of the bed for her husband lay still and to Janie, lifeless. Janie collapsed to her knees and gently placed her fingers on her husband’s wrist. Tears came from nowhere. Janie felt the loving touch of her husband’s hand against her cheek. He was smiling his little boy impish smile that Janie loved so very much and asked for a kiss. It was at that moment that Janie realized she had not been blamed for the pain administered moments before.

The nurse arrived moments later as did the chaplain. They both could see that Janie was visibly shaken. The nurse made an excuse for Janie and the chaplain to leave the room. It was hard to relive that moment but the chaplain reassured Janie all was well.

Two days later Janie was alone with her husband. Relatives, nurses and friends had been in and out most of the day. Janie stood by her husband’s bedside and talked gently as he lay there smiling. They had started the morphine about twelve hours earlier. In a slurred but loving voice Janie’s husband asked for a kiss good night. Upon receiving his kiss he said, “I love you Janie.” Janie’s palm of her hand lay against his and he smiled drew a deep breath and sighed. Janie’s fingers felt the life race from her beloved husband’s body.

1 comment:

Kathy Ostman-Magnusen & Dennis Magnusen said...

Oh such a sad story.. I am so sorry. ~Kathy