Yesterday (18 June 2010), I had a dentist appointment, and the dentist's office is located 5 minutes from St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton, California. As I was driving there, I realized that it was EXACTLY one year ago, nearly to the very minute, that I was driving into the St. Jude's parking lot to go into the Emergency Room where they were taking Byron.
I started to re-live all the events of that day; how the home health nurse had come to our place, taken one look at him, told him he had to go to the hospital NOW, how she arranged for the ambulance to take him to St. Jude's and not Chino Valley - all of that.
I remembered being in the Emergency Room - all the various people who came in and out to take blood and other samples, X-rays, etc, etc - and then he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. I stayed with him until late that night (he looked like the bridge of the Enterprise - he had so many leads, tubes, catheters (he did NOT like when the Foley was inserted, let me tell you - my hand remembers it well!) ).
I look, and I think "He had another 11 days left to live; I just did not know it then". I remembered visiting him after leaving work in Brea, parking, getting the wristband, going up to Intensive Care, having to phone and be buzzed in. I remember watching the heart monitors, the SpO2 monitors, the buzzing, humming. I remember that he also did NOT like the little restraints on his hands (he kept trying to pull out the catheter and the IV - the nurse even told me that he was a crafty one - he was aware enough to wait until she would leave and then try to remove things - we both smiled)
I remember him being transferred, I remember dissolving into tears with three separate MSW's, telling them I simply could not take him back home and care for him anymore - then the doctor agreeing to put him into hospice. I remember meeting the hospice coordinators (and a big "shout-out" to the Visiting Nurse Association of the Inland Empire - you guys are THE BEST!!!!!)
I remember interviewing caregivers to be with him while I was at work; I chose the agency that actually CAME to the hospital to meet him and talk to me, even though they cost more.
Even though I remember all of this and more....the things the various doctors said to me were a blur - there was the liver specialist who said Byron had a '50-50' chance (being a stone-cold computer geek, I started researching everything on Maddrey's Determinant, liver disease, treatments, etc) - I later realized that when I heard his Maddrey's Determinant was 69 - he was doomed (anything above 30 means that the person will likely die within 30-60 days)
A year later - I'm involved in The Great Data Center Move (even as I type this, I am increasing the size of an Oracle database on a development/Disaster Recovery server so I can Import the data from the production database into the disaster recovery copy because the end-user is nervous about all the activities happening regarding the move....I have been in many a looooong meeting, while trying to juggle email requests from users and other things)
On the 25th, when he was released from the hospital, and I was waiting for the ambulance to bring him home (he'd had them call me and then he got on the phone, begging me to bring his pants and come and get him - and I kept having to say, "Sweetie, I can't bring you home in the car (325i Bimmer)". As I was waiting, something just said to me: "They're sending him home to die" - and he did, four days later, on 29 June 2009.
This current week in June, 2010 is a very strange one - I have peace, I have painful memories, I cry at home, and are Ms. DBA at work.....I look at his picture, the things from the hospice - and there is an aspect of unreality about it - so much has happened in the past year!
The actual day Byron died, the 29th, is a Tuesday, and since I am involved in The Great Data Center Move, I will need to be at work (life of a DBA)...and that is okay, because it will keep me very busy, but when I get home, there will be the fact that it will have been one year since Byron Raymond Perkins, my beloved Old, Tired, Decrepit White Man With No Gluteus Maximus died.
Peace, comfort, healing and blessings be with and upon you all - Yaca Attwood Perkins