My Wife's Last Days

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I would like to share with you the last days of my wife here on earth because alot you have had to suffer as she has. I have been told she was a very special person even in her sickness she care for others. Some of the nurses told me that times they kind of fought over her because she never complained and always had a smile for them even thought she was going though so much.

My wife Cathy was admitted to the hospital on March 29, 2004 with severe shortness of breath. She also had sigificant oxygenation desaturation below 90. She had underwent bronchosopy 10 days prior to being admitted which before had help clear the lungs out and help her breathe this time it did not. They said when listening to the lungs that there was significant rhonchi and wheezes in all lung fields. This was quite unusual for her in spite of her cf she usually maintained very clear lungs. Repeat cultures were carried outand multiple organisms were identified, most were highly resistant, klebsiella pnumoniae, basil hemolytic streptococcus, candidia, three strands of pseudomonas (2 mucoid and 1 non mucoid). She was put on a comb. of amikacin, oral cipro, meropenem and oral septra. They kept her for 12 days. They also did a ct scan of the lungs and found one hole inside of one lung. Nothing to much to worry about. At this time she was on 5 liters of o2. They felt she she could go home on o2 and continue meds at home so on Good Friday she was sent home on o2 and Iv and oral meds.

I will stop for now for this first instalment, I hope I am doing right by going into detail. Cathy wanted to know everything when it come to her health. If we did know about somthing,w e would hunt down all the info. we could find on the subject. I hope also this might help someone else with their battle for I know Cathys battle is over.

The next day she started getting short of breath even on the 5 Lt. Her O2 stats were droping into upper 80’s even on the O2. I called the Doctor on call and explained him the problem. The Doctor said I should bring her in to the ER for an evaluation. As soon as we got there they noticed how short she was and put her 10 Lt. of O2. They did some tests and did another ct scan of lungs – it had been almost a week since last ct scan. They told us that the ct looked like somebody had taken a shotgun to the lungs. The term that was used in the report was evidence of bilateral pulmonary infiltrates which were cavitary in nature. She was put in a reg. for awhile. Then the Doctor wanted to do another bronc scope and he wanted to put her in ICU for extra precauton and there would be a possibility of her being put on ventilator. Cathy asked that a medical directive be written up; she did not want to be on vent if there was not any hope. During the bronc she was having so much problems breathing they put her on the vent. It came out of here mouth and they also put a feeding tube down her throat. After a few days another Ct scan was done; more holes in lungs. Still no results on sputum cultures. After a week a tracheostomy and peg tube put in. She was allowed ice chips for awhile but that was taken away after awhile because they did a swallow test which she did not pass. I do not know what all the test intailed. A speech therapist came in and worked with her in the proper way of swallowing with the trac. They did another Ct scan; more holes than the other scan – the holes were bigger, one was the size of tennis ball; and a big danger if that hole goes though lining of the lung. Doctor said at the rate these hole are appearing and growing she may not have two weeks. I told Doctor she is a fighter; if there is is a miracle to be had, there will be one. Whether by her doing or by God, she was already healed of a lump in her breast and she has survived this long.

The results finaly came in on the bronc scope. Pseudomononas but five different strands. They thought at first it might had been a fungus, (not sure how to spell it) aspergilus. The Doctors put her on five different antibiotics. After being on these for a week another ct scan was done. The infection seems to have finally slowed down. Next blood showed up in stool did not know where it was coming from. The performed upper and lower GI scopes. They found that that she had a large polyp in the colon. Tried to remove it all. This was not where the bleeding was comming from, real bad hemorrhoids. The test results turned out to be pre-cancerous. So the Doctor had to go back in to make sure he got it all. I think it was a few nights latter I got a call from one of her Doctors at about 11pm at night,saying that she a bad spell of massive hemoptysis. The whole tube from from the trac out to the vent was full. What was bad she had been on blood thinners for blood clots. He gave her meds to counter the thinners he said she was stabble and the bleeding had stopped. The next day they did a special x-ray with a dye and scope to check to see where the bleeding was coming from. Could not find anything. The area they thought might be bleeding was to small for scope to enter.

My wife completed six weeks of antibotics at the hospital. Then the doctors and insurance decided it was time to move her to an extended stay hospital or skilled nursing facility. This hospital that she transfered to was a hospital for people on trac and respiratory. This hospital was a littile bit different in that it had open visiting times 8:30 to 8:30, so I was able to be with her more. What has been hard is that she has been totally alert though all of this. She continued to get treatments but no pts. They started training me on the vent and trac care. We also started making plans to bring her home on the vent. Had the home inspection and getting things ready at home. The next week she started running a fever and started having chest pain. The Doctors did cultures. The results came back pseuomonas — totally resistant to any antibotics. My wife asked me if I could let her go; she did not want to live like this. At first I could not say yes to her. Then I said yes and we talked to the doctor and told him that it was time to take my wife off the vent, and just put her on o2. He agreed and gave her medication to relax her and take the pain away. We thought she would go quickly and a couple of times she woke up and asked why am I still here, why is it taking so long. It took a total of 25 hours from the time she was taken off vent until she passed away. It has been very hard to take at times but I am making it. I have been told so many times that time will heal.

Just a special word to caregivers. This was past on to me by many people during my wifes illness. That I needed to take care of myself, get plenty of rest and good food. And don’t feel guilty if you can’t make it to all the visiting times. I learned my leason the hard way. I had not been getting enough sleep and one time on the way home from the hospital, I was on the freeway going home and I nodded off scraped the side of our van. I believe God was watching over me, it could have been a lot worse. So please caregivers take care of you! So you will be there to continue to give.