First off, I want to thank Ctrider for giving me the courage to put together this post. This is truly a community of friends who care for each other.
2018 has been a very trying year for the household. I have kept up with activities on GTT, but have posted far and few in between because I was always reading as a guest on my phone.
Following my Christmas vacation, I worked from home full time because my wife Hilda was having increasing difficulty with her mobility, primarily from Multiple Sclerosis (diagnosed in late 90s). On January 16th, she was transferring from the toilet to her scooter and fell, this resulted in a nasty compound fracture of the tibia and fibula of her right leg right above the ankle. I called 911 and she was transported directly to Winchester Medical Center.
At the hospital it was determined that she was experiencing high levels of retained CO2 in her blood, something that most likely contributed to the fall. She had been in the hospital for this issue several times over the past few years. She ended up having emergency surgery the first night to clean out the open would (it extended from ankle to ankle across the front). This was followed by additional surgeries to repair the bones.
During this whole time, she was intubated and on a respirator to try and get the CO2 problem under control. Going on the second week in ICU, we were told that the tube could only be in a few more days and that they were going to have to put in a Trach tube on the front of her neck and the respirator would be hooked to that. She stayed in the ICU until February when she was transferred to the Transitional Care Hospital at the University Of Virginia down in Charlottesville.
She stayed at UVA until they had her off the respirator and the trach tube removed. She then was transferred to Autumn Care of Madison in late March. There she received speech and physical therapy.
On April 19th, she finally came home, after spending over 13 weeks in hospital/care facilities. Things were going good for a while, she was going to physical therapy to get her leg in shape and we had perfected the use of a slide board to transfer her from the scooter to the car, couch, bed, etc. On May 23 I noticed she wasn't acting quite right again so I managed to get her in the car and to the emergency room, as suspected, her CO2 was accumulating again. A few nights in the ICU and she was back home.
They never came to a concrete conclusion as to why she had a CO2 retention problem, only that she was breathing real shallow all the time due to lack of physical activity (limited by the MS). She slept with a BiPAP machine, and we had a spare CPAP machine in the great room for her to use.
Anyway, a few days after coming home, her blood O2 levels were going down and staying there and she was less and less responsive, so I needed to call 911 again. She had been scheduled for a visit to her pain doctor and I was trying to get her going for that, so I called that doctor and canceled the appointment and this is where a gear grinder kicks in.
That doctor’s office had the nerve to charge us $75 for a missed appointment because we did not give 24 hour notice. Even after explaining to them and showing paperwork that she had been transported via 911 EMTs and admitted to the hospital, they would not budge on the $75 dollar fee. Needless to say I sent a very negative review on them to my insurance carrier and will never recommend them to anybody.
Well, she spent another week in the ICU before coming home in early June. There were some tough days, but with extended time on the BiPAP she would rebound.
On July 8th I went to check on her around 1 AM, and she was asleep, but not wearing her BiPAP, so I woke her and made her put it on, satisfied, I went back to bed. In the morning, I took the dogs out and sat down and watched some TV. Around 9 I decided to wake her up so I went in her room and the bed was empty, bathroom door closed, light on. Now it wasn't unusual for her to be in the bathroom for extended times, so I waited watching TV. After 30 minutes I went to check on her and found her passed away on the floor.
Hilda and I first met back 1993 and were married in 1997. We never had any children together, but she did have a son from her first marriage. He is all grown now and gave Hilda a grandson to enjoy. We built our dream home together and moved in back in 2009. The house is all accessible for her MS and I had even build a nice ADA compliant ramp in the garage while she was in the hospital because I knew she would be scooter bound. She enjoyed living out here in the country, watching all the critters. She got to meet and hold Herbie https://www.greentractortalk.com/for...ml#post2464866. This fella lived with us (free range) from mid-December up until early August, he has since taken up residency 1/2 mile from here with his new family Kyle and Jessica. Maybe he truly was a sign, a messenger sent to help me through the trying times.
Since her passing life has been a rollercoaster of emotions. My sister came up from Florida for a few weeks to help me through the first part. She worked on going through Hilda's clothes and stuff and handled the donations. After she left, I was overcome with a lot of nervous energy, doing things like cleaning out the basement and closets. I repainted the master bedroom, updated the closet with new shelving, but still need to repaint the master bath. I guess I keep putting that off because it is the last reason for me not to move in to the master bedroom.
Following the burst of energy phase came a month of frustration. Dealing with the life insurance company was a continuous battle. My stepson got his payout (separate policy, same company) in 2 weeks. Mine took almost 2 months due to forms they said they sent that I did not receive, clerical errors from 30+ years ago where the entered her SSN incorrectly in the computer, even though the application had the correct number.
I went to sell the old house (finally at breakeven point), something we had started to plan before her passing. Gave the bad tenants their 30 day notice, found a realtor and put it on the market as a fixer upper. The only highlight is that I got a full price offer in 8 days, settle in 30. A week before settlement it was discovered that we were on the title as Tenants in Common, which meant that since she passed without a will, more hurdles had to be overcome in a short time to settle on the original date. In the end it all came together, house is sold and I netted a whole 2K, but at least I no longer have to deal with tenants or $2100 in mortgage payments on that house.
And the fun continued, when I went to renew the registration on her car, DMV showed her passing in the system so I would have to clear the title first. Guess what, we were listed as AND on the title, so more hurdles due to no will. Need to get her son to sign forms and everything. I will be giving the car to him anyway for the grandson, but need to get somethings fixed first.
So now it's October, everything seems to be behind me, but now my mind is clear and the grieving emotions have really kicked in. My company has a real good Employee Assistance Program. I have been getting weekly telephone counseling sessions and that has really helped, but I fear the next couple of months. Soon it will be my birthday, followed by Thanksgiving, then her birthday, then Christmas and finally our anniversary on Jan 11th. She has a lot of family in the area that I can rely on for support during those times.
Although we may never meet in person, I appreciate all that the GTT family has to offer. Just remember to hug your loved ones often, tell them you love them.