Have you ever seen someone on a ventilator?
Have you ever had to make the decision, or have the decision made for you, to put a loved on a ventilator before you could be in the room to say your possible goodbye?
Have you ever sat beside someone on a ventilator wondering if they can hear you, feel your presence, and if they’ll ever breathe on their own again?
I don’t recommend it.
As I’ve heard stories of nurses being the only ones in the room of patients as their lungs fail them from Covid 19 / Coronavirus my mind transforms. It goes back to those long days at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. And I think of the people who recover, how they’ll work past their ventilator experience.
I see this.
And this is one of the more positive images. This is of my late husband, Kevin, on a ventilator. There are only 2 pictures I have of him in this state because it was so devastating to see. He allowed me to post this, when he was alive and still in the hospital, because he was off sedation and giving thumbs up. It’s a few days before he came off the ventilator the first time. And it wasn’t the last time he was on it.
But I vividly recall when I went to Lancaster General Hospital a few hours after they first intubated him, before he was transferred to Hopkins. I remember sobbing because he was sedated and I couldn’t talk to him. But I had no choice; his blood oxygen levels were dropping drastically due to infection.
And I remember the second time they intubated him, back at Lancaster General Hospital, about 10 days before he died. When his organs began failing him and we didn’t want to believe it was the end.
The years that I have spent in therapy are heavily focused upon those 60 days Kevin spent in the hospital between Lancaster General and Johns Hopkins hospital. You can find the word ‘ventilator’ mentioned numerous times in our old blog TheBoitsons.info. I’ve completed EMDR ( Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy. I’ve been in traditional counseling for years. I’m on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. The images of him on the ventilator and his death are by far the most traumatic.
So when I heard about a nurse holding the hand of a Covid 19 patient as they slipped away, with no family in the room. Without their loved ones able to say goodbye. I sobbed.
Because I remembered. I remembered that decision being taken from Kevin, from me. There were no other options but a ventilator. And seeing my strong husband on that machine, hooked up to so many wires and devices and tubes. It was devastating.
And that image still lingers in my mind as if it was yesterday, not 12 years ago.
So could you please, just wear the fucking mask? If not for you, then for others like me. People who don’t want to risk having to say goodbye to a loved one who gets this coronavirus from someone not following the rules?
For someone who won’t get to say goodbye.
For someone ho will have no choice but to let their loved one go on a ventilator.
For someone who will hold that devastation in their heart forever?
P.S. Either way-now’s a great time to make your living and final will. Know what you want at the end of your life. It’ll take a lot of stress off of your loved one.