Tomorrow will be 7 months. I can tell you know the pain is as real today as it was the day Ray died. They say in time it will get easier but I can tell you I don't think I will ever get over those last few days with Ray. I'd like to tell you why this is so painful but I must warn you like everything it was never so simple. I must warn you this post will be a little long.
July 22'nd Ray picked me up from work and then left to see some friends. I decided to cut the grass and let me tell you that was a mistake. It was so hot I gave myself a migraine. That night Ray's nephew and his friend brought Eleni home. She had been in SC visiting. I went o bed early and slept most of the next day from the migraine meds. When I woke up later Saturday Ray was coming in. I was out when he came home Friday and he didn't wake me Saturday when he left to play golf. He came in and seemed fine. He laughed and joked all weekend with his nephew. They were all horse playing and it was a good weekend but really hot. Ray mentioned he was sore from playing golf. We laughed about him getting old.
July 26th Ray picked me up from work. He was in pain. He thought he had gas and that's why his back and stomach hurt. I gave him some of my soda and he still was not feeling great. I said maybe we should go to the ER while we are by it. He said no it would pass. That night Ray didn't feel good so I took off July 27th and we went to a patient first. They examined Ray and treated him for muscle spasms. Sent him home with muscle relaxers and pain pills. The doc in the box told Ray he may not be able to play golf anymore if this kept happening. Well, Ray being the golf lover he was said yeah ok. Knowing he would never agree to that. They took labs on Ray and seen his sugar was high and suggested we notify the Transplant clinic just in case this was out of his normal. I called the clinic and faxed over Ray's paper work. Wedensday the 28th I received a call stating the clinic needed to see Ray Friday the 30th. She said his labs were higher than they would like. I asked should I come with him and she said no it probably won't be much to it. The next few days Ray was in pain on and off the muscle relaxers weren't really working. The pain meds just kept Ray up so he refused to take them. By the time Friday got here Ray was not feeling well at all. He went to the clinic and I tried to call him but I kept getting voice mail. I was worried because he was there so long. He called me and said they gave him some fluids and took him off all sugar and his meds until Tuesday August 3'rd. I thought was strange with his health history but I trusted the clinic. They had been Ray's Dr's for 17 years. That afternoon Ray's nurse called me and said when Ray got there he was sick and his blood pressure was really low. I said his back has been killing him she said then they didn't really address that they were more concerned about the sugar. She explained what Ray needed to do and I asked then should he have stayed and she said no. I said what if he gets worse over the weekend. She said call the after hours line. That afternoon when Ray picked me up he actually looked good. He had some color and said he actually ate which he had not felt like doing. We came home Ray rode to a friends and I went to the grocery store. Ray ended up meeting me there so he could pick out some sugar free drinks and snacks. He walked the whole store with me and then unloaded groceries. He even ate a couple more times I was so happy he was feeling somewhat better.
July 31th Ray sat around most of the day. He decided he was going to the Farmer's Market for some tomatoes and fresh veggies. While he was gone I cleaned and took pictures of the house, We has only been here about 6 weeks after living with my mom the past year. Due to me losing my job. Anyway I was excited to post pictures of the house on my blog. Life changed those plans. When Ray came home he wasn't feeling great but not bad. We took his blood pressure and it was a little high. We had instructions on what pills to add if this should happen. Ray was really restless and didn't want to eat.
August 1st Ray's blood pressure was a little high and he was breathing funny. I called the after hours line and the nurse called back. She called the Dr and they said Ray was having rebounds from not taking his medicines. They told us which pill to give him. Ray went and laid down awhile but he was so restless. That afternoon he seemed a little more calm but once again refused to eat and drank very little. I went to bed worried that night and woke up a few times to hear the TV. About 4:30 am which was now the 2'nd Ray woke me up getting in the bed. He was breathing so hard and in pain. I said what's wrong he said I can't catch my breath when I lay down. So I got up with him and rubbed his back. I said Ray once that clinic opens we are going. Shortly after that I gave Ray 2 muscle relaxers for his back. Ray got up threw up came back and said call 911. The ambulance came Ray walked out to the stretcher and Jessica and I followed. They never cut the siren or lights on. I could see Ray sitting up in the back. We got to the ER and parked and went in. I signed some paper work and with in minutes they came and got me. They said they only had minutes to get in and save him he was having a massive heart attack. I watched him gasp for every breath and I ran with them through the halls up to the cath lab. As Ray was being wheeled away I said I love you Ray and he said I love you. AT that moment reality hit home. I was scared and angry. Ray had to be put on life support and had 6 stints put in on one side and 1 on the other side. I was so happy when I could see him. He looked so weak but he still had a nice tan about him and he was strong considering all he just went through. It was then I was told Ray's back pain was not from a pulled muscle but signs of heart issues.
The next few days were pretty calm Ray seemed to be feeling better and he was getting hungry. I caught myself not eating out of guilt because he couldn't. Aug 5th Ray was doing so well they took him of life support. He was so thirsty and his drink of choice was a cold Mountain Dew. Which he thought he had to give up because of his sugar. The nurse said after all he had been through he deserved one. That day was a good day. I was excited he could talk to me and I actually fed him very little off his hospital tray but he was definitely thirsty. When I left Ray that night he was doing great and smiling he even insisted I kiss him good bye on the lips. He said I love you as I left. I came home and went to sleep hard. I had a sense of relief.
August 6th I was awakened by the phone. They said Ray had what they thought was another heart attack and had to put him back on life support. The girls and I rushed back to the hospital. Once again Ray seemed to be out of it but still had good color. I was called into a room to be told the stints they put in collapsed and he was NOT a candidate for by pass or a heart transplant. I looked at them and said so I am waiting for him to just die. They said no we will keep and eye on him and review his case in a few days. My friend Kim was with me and I remember crying and saying what was I going to do. I couldn't lose him now. Ray did ok the rest of the day. I actually stayed that night and sat by his side. I didn't want to miss anything. Earlier the next morning the 7th Ray's heart rate was off. They said they may have to shock him to put it back in rhythm. I was so scared all I could think is this is it. I will never see him again. As the day went by and after the shock Ray once again seemed to be ok. He was blessed with over 20 visitors that day. I thought this would lift his spirits. Ray did so good the rest of the day I went home and got a good nights sleep.
August 8th Ray continued to do well. He even watched the Nascar race on TV. The hardest part was watching him try to tell you he was hungry or thirsty. They were afraid to give Ray fluids because his heart was working hard enough and because of his sugar going up and down. Ne was a real trooper. The next few days were good he was getting better. Still critical but stable.
August 11th I was pulled aside and told Ray was having surgery the next day. They were going to put in an LVAC heart. Which is a temporary electric heart until you get well enough or get a transplanted heart. It was scary but I knew this was the only choice we had. Ray was having a rough night and I almost didn't leave but decided I would need my rest. I called to check on him and they said he was really restless and trying to go home. I came back to the hospital and stayed the night with Ray. He was on his second day of not sleeping. He was scared to go to sleep. He was afraid of dieing. So I basically sat up with him.
August 12th the girls came back to see Ray before he went to surgery. Ray couldn't talk but he could mouth things. The last thing he said to the girls is I will be fine. They cried and said I know daddy. When they wheeled him away the last thing I said to Ray was I love you. His blues eyes just looked back at me. The surgery was long and Ray went into cardiac arrest but they brought him back. They said he did very well. He was very swollen but once again he had a nice color to him. I was so happy I hugged the Dr and thanked him. The girls went home and I stayed in the waiting room. If anything happened I wanted to be right there by his side.
August 13th Ray was doing nicely they even brought him around some to make sure he was ok. I can not tell you how exciting it was to see him wiggle his toe and finger when he heard my voice. I was on cloud nine They had some things to do so I walked out to tell the girls and we were all so happy. Within hours things changed they didn't know if he would make it through the night. The girls were crushed and just fell apart. I was alone at this time and it took all I had to keep it together for them. We called the rest of the family in. Ray's brother and his wife took the girls home and stayed with them. Ray's other family stayed with me at the hospital that night. I tried to go back to be with Ray as much as possible. Finally at 3 the nurse asked I step out. I went back to the waiting room and sat while everyone else went to sleep.
August 14th I was awakened before 6am by a resident. She said that by looking at Ray's eyes one was sluggish which could mean a sign of brain damage. She said I could come back any time. I was so upset I got myself together went to the bathroom and washed my face. I went back to be with Ray. I could tell he didn't look the same. His color seemed to be fading. They cam to take x-rays and I had to step into the hall. I over heard Ray's name so of course i started to listen. The resident and a nurse were openly discussing if my husband had damage or was brain dead. I snapped and came around the corner. I said can you show some compassion I am standing here. Which they were shocked and I said you can not talk about peoples families like that. The nurse said sorry I didn't know you were there I said because you didn't bother to look before opening your mouth. I went back in to be with Ray. The tears flowed as the day got worse. Fluid was steadily draining from Ray's nose and mouth. They had to keep cleaning him up. His nose started to turn gray and his body started to pool. He was almost completely purple from the blood pooling. The Dr's came in and I asked every single one was he brain dead or brain damaged. They said he woke up the day before that they had no reason to think that. I questioned everyone of the Dr's that came in that day and they said I should have never been told that. As the day went on they told me Ray still had a 50/50 chance. I watched him double in size and watched his body turn in front of my eyes. The hours drug by still no change then they all rushed in and said he was worse and every time this happened it was a possibly of him losing oxygen from the brain. The Dr finally asked would Ray want to live like this? It was the worst and hardest decision I ever made. When I held his hand and I could feel the fluid busting out of his hands because it had no where else to go I knew it was time. Ray looked so tired and I knew he needed to rest. I said my good byes to the only man I have ever loved. That last day was awful from beginning to end. I had been up 4 days and I never once thought it would end the way it did. I had all the faith in the world in the Dr and team. I prayed and prayed everyday. I still ask why Ray why then. We had finally gotten our own place after losing the home we loved and a job I loved. It was like everything was turning around for the good. Life sure can change in a second.
As I said my post is long but hopefully it will give you a better understanding of what Ray went through. I watched him fight until the end. I miss you and will forever love you Ray.