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The Beginnging of The End - Part 3 - Goodbye My Love

Story ID:2240
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Writers Conference:$500 2007 Family Memories Writing Project
Location:Fort Lee New Jersey USA
Year:2003
Person:My frist wife - Georgia
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The Beginnging of The End - Part 3 - Goodbye My Love

The Beginnging of The End - Part 3 - Goodbye My Love

Tonight I bring you part three of this series of five
I know! In the beginning, I said it had four parts.
I found a fifth. Sorry about that.
This part was the hardest to write.
Mike


The Beginning of the End

Part Three: Goodbye my Love



The first 12 years of our marriage were typical. We struggled

with finances and raising children. The last five years were a

whirlwind of changes. We moved three times and had many months

when we were apart.


I moved to New Jersey for a new job in the fall of 2002.

Georgia, stayed behind with our two children to allow my daughter

to complete her final year of high school. Before I left, I suspected

my wife was not well, but she refused to see a doctor, arguing that

she was fine.


My new job kept me busy. Trips home were limited to once every

couple of months. During each visit, I could tell Georgia was

getting worse. She would sit on the sofa and hold her right side.

When I asked if she was OK, she would claim she was fine. I watched

her closely and knew she was lying. Both her mother and grandmother

died from cancer. She was afraid she had it too.


On a visit for Valentines in 2003, I finally convinced her to

see a doctor - six months after I first asked her to. She was diagnosed

with cirrhosis of the liver. Years of drinking had taken its toll.

She told me the doctor said she would be fine, as long as she

stopped drinking. The doctors told me later, they were not sure if

she did stop.


Two months later, she was admitted to the hospital for transfusions

and other treatments. A few months after that, she was admitted again.

When she was released, she was too weak to attend our daughter's

graduation. I watched the ceremony alone. Tears flowed down my cheeks

for two reasons that morning: Seeing my little girl all grown up

and because Georgia was unable to witness it. Georgia missed our

daughter's graduation.


A few friends dropped by our house to celebrate my daughter's

big day. They hadn't seen Georgia in many months and were shocked

by her appearance. She had lost of lot weight. Her arms and legs

were sticks, her abdomen was distended, and her skin was the color

of an onion.


We planned for her and my son, Justin, to move to New Jersey

with me in August. The day before the scheduled move she was admitted

to the hospital with elevated potassium levels. Georgia told me to

go ahead with the move; she would only be in the hospital for a

few days. The few days stretched into a week. Justin and I went to

New Jersey to meet the movers. While we were unpacking and preparing

the new house for her arrival, her kidneys failed. It took a month

for them to stabilize her enough to handle a flight. At the time,

I wondered what they meant. She didn't appear that weak when I

left her.


One day I had a call from the case worker. She said, "Georgia

is now on dialysis. We just did a treatment today. You have to

arrange a flight for her to New Jersey for tomorrow, and get her

to dialysis the following day. She will need treatments three times

a week."


I was at the airport arrivals. They wheeled her around the

corner. I couldn't believe my eyes. Georgia had aged 30 years in

only a few weeks. Her face and arms were nothing but skin over the

bone, but her feet were so swollen she couldn't wear her normal shoes.

For the first time, I wondered if she was going to survive this battle.

We got her in the car, and I took her to our new home and attempted

to get her into the house. With her arm in my hand, she shuffled to

the steps, but couldn't lift her legs enough to get up the steps. I

called Justin for help. Together we lifted her legs, one at a time,

and slowly got her to the landing by the door, where she collapsed

to her hands and knees.


We tried everything to get her up, but she was too weak. Justin

ran to his room. I could hear him banging things around. I sat with

her, trying to convince her I needed to call 911, but she didn't

want that. A lady walking in the street said she was a nurse and

asked if she could help. The good Lord had sent us an angel. With

her help, we got Georgia into a sitting position. She was the one

to convince Georgia we needed 911 assistance.


Georgia had a note from the doctors stating she could be

forcefully admitted to a hospital if she exhibited any one of

a variety of symptoms. She showed none of these symptoms, therefore,

they couldn't take her when she refused. They carried her into

the house and made her comfortable on the sofa.


I talked to Justin later. He was in tears. "Dad, what happened?

That's not my mom down there! What happened to her?" I had no answer

for him. I was as shocked as he was.


The next day, I couldn't get her to her feet. I had to call

911 again. Two policemen came and helped me get her to the bathroom

and down the stairs to the car. I remember looking at them and

saying, "If I ever get that bad, take that gun on your hip,

and put me out of my misery."


At the dialysis center, a case worker arranged for Georgia to

get ambulance transport to and from the center. She gave me advice

on how to arrange for home care. I left there and went home, where

I added cushions to the sofa. I figured, if she was sitting higher,

I would be able to get her to her feet easier.


I borrowed a walker from the fire department, and Georgia and

I developed a system. Lifting her legs, I would swing them over

the side of the sofa, take her hands in mine and twist her into

a sitting position. I'd bend down, hug her under her arms, whisper

"I love you," and lift her to a standing position. She then used

the walker to get to the bathroom, but she still needed my help

with her pants, sitting, wiping, and standing again.


This went on for a several weeks. However, as time went on,

she became weaker. The poisons in her body caused hallucinations.

She would see people that weren't there and try to talk to them.

She could no longer use the walker on her own, and often lost

control of her bodily functions. I had to hold her up as she

made her way to the bathroom. I was a wreck trying to keep up

with a busy job, dealing with my son, and trying to take care

of her. My hands were shook constantly, and I had trouble

concentrating at work.


Four weeks after she moved to New Jersey, she had trouble

holding her food and drinks down. When I arrived home from work

that evening, she was crying. I asked, "What's wrong, Hun?"


"I fell down."


"You fell down? You couldn't have. How did you get back

on the sofa?"


"I fell off my horsy."


I called 911 right away. At the hospital, they said she

had a severe infection.


The next morning, I spoke to the doctors.


"Mr. Smith, Georgia is not doing very well. How do you

feel about life support?"


"It's that bad?" I asked


"I'm afraid so."


"My wife and I agreed we would never want to be on

life support."


"Mr. Smith," He said, "I understand, but sometimes it

is needed for a short time to get someone over a hump."


Later that day, she was put into a drug induced coma

and connected to life support.


Every night I would leave work and sit by her bedside.

As I held her hands, I would tell her I loved her, talk

about my day, and tell her how the kids were doing. The

nurses and doctors explained to me, although a patient

is unresponsive, they can still hear. I hope they were

right.


I called the intensive care unit one afternoon to

ask how she was doing. The nurse said, "Mr. Smith, Georgia

had a bad day. Are you coming to see her tonight?"


Warning bells went off in my head. I visited every

night. They knew I did. Why would they ask me such a question?


That evening, I was at her side as usual and the nurse

came in. "Mr. Smith, I took care of Georgia today. She had

a bad day. Are you going to be here for awhile? The doctor

needs to speak to you, but he is busy right now. If possible,

can you wait for him?"


"Sure! I can wait."


"Good! There are some decisions to be made.' she said

and left the room.


I'll never forget that night. I waited in the room

with Georgia. The only sounds were my sobs and the machines.

In my heart, I knew the decision I was going to have to

make. I paced the room crying and talking to her, hearing the

machines keeping her alive. The doctor was coming. I knew

the reason.


I cried even harder.


I said, "Honey, I think they are going to ask me to

turn off the machines. Georgia, I think they are right. We

discussed this in the past. We decided we would not want to

be on these machines. I hope you can forgive me, Sweetie.

I love you so much."


For forty minutes, I paced the room and cried. They

were the longest forty minutes I have ever endured. I never

felt so alone. I was new to New Jersey and had only a few

friends, most of them co-workers. All my family lived in

Nova Scotia. Georgia's only remaining family lived in

Hungary. I was on my own. I was a grown man, but that night,

I would have done anything to have had my mommy with me.


The doctor finally arrived. He said, "Mr. Smith, Georgia

is not doing so well. In situations like this, we have to

make decisions. Our main function here is to prolong life,

however, there's a time when we are prolonging life and

also a time when are prolonging death. In this case, I'm

afraid we are prolonging Georgia's death."


I asked the doctor to wait until my daughter, Vanessa,

could fly from Ohio. A week later we sat by Georgia's side,

Vanessa holding one of Georgia's hands and me holding the

other. Several doctors came and assured us that we were

doing the right thing. Georgia was no longer in an induced

coma. She was in a real coma now. They asked us to leave the

room for a few minutes, while they removed the machines, and

cleaned her up. When they finished, they invited us back in.


Georgia was breathing deep gulps of air, as we had been

warned. Vanessa and I sat and held her hands again. We kept

talking to her, telling her it was OK for her to leave us.

We understood. We noticed breaks in her breathing. She would

stop for a few seconds and then start again. These pauses

became more frequent and lasted longer as time went by.


A little over an hour after the machines had been

removed, Georgia was in Heaven.


Goodbye, my love. Thank you for the children you gave

me and the love and laughter we shared.

Michael T. Smith

To be continued...........