Friday, November 12, 2010

The Doctor Called Today

The Doctor called today.  I didn't want to hear what he had to say.  I think I knew all along, but at least I could say it was just my lack of faith.  And I guess it still is my lack of faith or I wouldn't be shedding all those tears.
I had been noticing his thinking patterns changing since he started getting so sick, just little things like his inability to find the correct word, or a slight slurring of speech at times.  But whenever I asked they always told me that it was normal when a fever is high and a person is fighting infection.
Then when he was no longer fighting an infection, his heart valve started leaking badly and he had edema and congestive heart failure.  I was assured that it was all that extra water on the brain that was giving him the trouble.  He needed to get the valve replaced.  The implication was that the open heart surgery would make him all better.
No one told me how hard that valve surgery would be on the brain.  They give you the standard life or death odds, but not much in between, so I was horrified when my husband came out of surgery with a badly messed up brain.  His voice was low and grumbley and he would get strange delusions.
But gradually that began to improve.  Within three weeks he had recovered almost to where he was before.  I was assured by one of the doctors that he would slowly gain his mental health back. He didn't say he would gain it all back, but at least he wasn't as harsh as the geriatrician who gave me little hope.
Two months after his surgery Bruce was ready to be released from Rehab.  They were thrilled with his progress physically.  When I questioned them about his brain problems they comforted me with the assurance that the brain would just take a while longer to mend.
He had only been home four days when I was given a heart wrenching scare.  Bruce slept in a chair in the living room, so the first thing I would do every morning was check to make sure he was OK.  I came out as usual ready to bid him a cheery good morning, but he wasn't sitting back in his chair.
Instead he was slumped forward.  His eyes were open but the pupils were rolled up under droopy lids.  He would not respond to me.  Finally his hands started to flap as he tried to move them, but that was all he could do. 
I called my son-in-law, and when neither of us could rouse him I called the ambulance. 
Our family doctor was there.  I think it was the first time he realized the seriousness of Bruce's mental condition.  Bruce gradually started to come out of his stupor, but the doctor admitted him into the hospital and did some tests for stroke,Nothing showed up.
Today the doctor called.  They checked Bruce for his cognitive skills and on a scale of 1 to 30 with normal being about 28 he says Bruce tested at 11.  He says there is no hope for improvement.  He says it will get worse.  Maybe gradually, maybe in spurts.
He is worried about me looking after Bruce.  He is giving Bruce a weekend pass, but wanted me to bring him back if it's too hard on me.  I am getting a bit of home help, about an hour a day, but he thinks I may have to put him in a retirement or nursing home.
I don't want to let that happen.  The doctor said he knew we had spent forty-three years together, but I would have to realize that the together part can't last much longer.  I don't want to even think about what that would mean.
This blog is all about how God leads us along, and I know beyond a doubt that he does, but today I just need to let it out, and do a bit of crying.  Maybe tomorrow I can be cheerful again.
"Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning."  Thank You Lord for Your promise.

For more on this topic see my Everyday Christian post Give thanks when my husband has dementia?
For the previous post see: Anna 
For the next post see Thanksgiving Trip


  1. I'm so sorry to hear this. God Bless you and strengthen you, I pray.

  2. Oh, Carol, I wish I could hug you right now! I can't even imagine your present agony. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. May our Heavenly Father comfort you and uphold you in His everlasting arms.

  3. still praying and believing for a miracle

  4. Oh sweetie:( Many hugs and prayers for you and Bruce.

  5. I just stopped and prayed for you and your husband.

    God bless you, ~Ron

  6. Why art thou cast down, oh my soul, and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Psalm 42:5

    Thank you all for your love and prayers. We are going to make it through!

  7. Oh Carol, My heart drops not knowing what to say.
    Just know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
    I can only imagine how hard this must be.

  8. Dear Carol,
    You are both in our prayers daily, we were wondering today how you were since Bruce came home. Take courage you are both in God's hands, knowing that he cares for you and about you.
    Malcolm & Jean Stanley

  9. Love, Hugs and Prayers for a blessing and a peace of mind as you make each new decision Carol.

  10. Oh Carol, What a hard path to walk, I know the Lord Jesus Christ is carrying you and will be with you all the way. I will keep praying.

  11. Carol, you are in my prayers. Peace and comfort to you as you walk this path that God has laid for you.

  12. Love you Carol,and praying for you both! Hug!!!!!!

  13. Just want you all to know that we are doing OK. Personal Support Workers come in 4 times a week and give me help.
    Thank you all for your love and concern.

  14. Praying for guidance and peace in the midst...