This post may upset people as it does get graphic in a few spots.
This is the story of the last couple hours of Bear's life. I may or may not post this story. I am just writing it for now. I apologize in advance for any errors in typing or grammar. I will not edit this post.
It was November 27, 2008.
I had stayed home in the morning to make cookies for Bear. Having been told just two days prior that the outlook looked better for Bear, I was in a bit of a better mood and wanting to get things ready for his surprise birthday party which was to take place on his birthday, November 29th.
I arrived to the hospital to find the parking lots full again. Usually, when this happens, I go into a panic and I will either freak out or I will go to the McDonald's parking lot and park there knowing that by parking there I will only have three hours with Bear that day. On this day, however, I found myself being uncharacteristically patient and I waited for about 5-10 minutes for the lot to have a free spot. And wouldn't you know it? It was worth the wait because I got the best spot in the whole lot.
When I went into the hospital, I realized I was hungry so I grabbed myself a bite to eat from the cafeteria, and then I went up to Bear's room. I walked in and they were stripping the bed and Bear was no where to be found. Due to past experience, I freaked out and thought he had died and the nurses assistant turned around and saw me standing there and informed me that Bear was having a bath.
I went down to the bath-room and I actually went inside and saw Bear in the tub. It was the first time I have actually seen him in the tub, and it was a neat experience because I always wondered just how it worked. I let him know I was here and I gave him a kiss and went back to his room to wait for him. While I waited, I ate my lunch and flipped through a few channels on the television.
Bear came back from his bath and they continued to dry him off and get him back into his bed. He was awake and in a decent mood. He was not in as much pain as he had been as of late. In fact, this was the first time he had been out of the bed in I think three days.
I took this as a good sign and I told him maybe later we can get him in his chair and go for a walk. Maybe today he will finally feel up to leaving the palliative care ward and go for a walk in the hospital lobby and cafeteria.
Shortly after he was put back into bed, he received his regular medication, and soon there after he fell asleep. He struggled to keep his eyes open so we could have conversation and I told him it was okay to sleep. I will just entertain myself with the television.
The next thing I knew, it was supper time, and Bear had pretty much slept the entire afternoon away. He told me he was too tired to eat his supper and I told him that was okay, he does not always have to eat every meal if he is not hungry or is tired. He had told me that he had already had both his breakfast and his lunch prior to my arrival to the hospital, so it wasn't like he hadn't eaten all day.
I waited a while to see if he was going to eat and then I wondered if I should just go home for the night, and let him sleep. I told him this and he said that it was probably a good idea for me to go. I asked him if he was okay, as I always do, and he said yes, and that he was just tired and he apologized for being terrible company.
He had been having trouble coughing a little bit before this and just as I was discussing weither or not to go home, the nurse and student nurse came in with an oxygen tube to help him breathe. They explained to me that he just needs some more oxygen so he can force out the cough that he had. I was perfectly okay with this explanation.
Just as I was pulling on my boots, a nurse I had never seen before came in and she said to me in a tone that worried me, "are you coming back?" after I told her that I was going home because we have a dog at home that needed to go potty. I asked her "should I?" and she looked at me with this look on her face that made my heart jump. And then I started to cry, "are you telling me he's going to die??" and I looked at Bear and I ran over to him "Are you dying today?!" He opened his eyes and said no I don't think I am going to die today. I am just tired"
By this time, I was gasping for breath myself and I was so upset! Bear's night time nurse came back in the room and tried to figure out why I was so upset. Finally, she understood and she went to talk to the other nurse who said that this was not her intention. She was merely wondering if I was coming back.
The night time nurse took me into the lounge to calm down a bit. I am not sure what was going on with Bear at this point, but I do remember sitting in the lounge and being very upset at that nurse for saying something if it wasn't true.
Back in the room again, I continued to debate whether I should go home or stay. I was very worried about staying and then the other side of me kept thinking about my pup needing to pee. I know she is a dog and I needn't worry but I still felt torn.
The nurse and the social worker are in the room and they ask us who can we call? Can anyone go and take care of the pup? They keep going on and on about this and, thinking back on this, I feel that it was kind of suspicious. At one point the social worker says how about we call your mom and Bear's mom, and asks for their telephone numbers. Bear and I both tell her that they all live out of town. At least three hours away. The social worker says she will phone them anyway. She later comes back and says that both his mom and mine are on their way and will be here in just a few hours.
In the end I decided to stay. Bear is sleeping and I had the chair pulled up next to his bed. He is breathing loudly and every now and then I turn towards him to see if he is okay. He mumbles in his sleep, which is unusual for him. I now believe he was either trying to tell me something, or he was talking to someone 'on the other side'.
I am watching television. I remember that I was watching Survivor. I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to it, but it was on. I remember that it was a clip show of what has happened so far this season. It was not a brand new episode because it was American Thanksgiving.
I do not remember if the show had ended yet or not when suddenly, for no apparent reason, I suddenly stood up and felt it was very, very, VERY, important that I take Bear out of the room.
I woke him up and I told him that it was time to go home. It was time to leave that room. The hospital was no longer a safe place for him. I tried to get him up and I tried to remove the bed from the room. I grabbed all his stuff and threw it on the bed with him and I tried to put my jacket on him. There was a part of me that was still rational and saying to myself, that I was being crazy, a lunatic. Part of me realized that I was causing a scene and that I was embarrassing my husband. Part of me realized that I was hurting him when I was trying to move him, but the part of me that took over was this irrational, fearful side and I was crying and screaming and I was telling him that I had to take him out of that room. I tried to put my jacket on him so he would not be cold, and I begged him to listen to me, to stay awake, and I pleaded with him and I tried to convince him that the hospital was trying to kill him.
Bear kept trying to open his eyes and he tried to talk, he kept mumbling and I could not understand him. I kept telling him, Bear I do not hear you! I can not understand you! The nurses are trying to keep me from moving the bed and they kept pulling me away from Bear and I kept yelling at them that I must take him out of that room. They asked me how I was going to get him out and I said I will figure it out.
At one point the nurse or the social worker or somebody said they were going to call the doctor to come and tell me that it is not a good idea for Bear to leave the hospital. They asked Bear what he wanted to do and he said wait for doctor. He could not keep his eyes open at this point. I would stop for a few min and sit on the edge of the bed and hug him and cry but then I would feel that absolute need to get him out of that room again and freak out.
I was pulling on his arms and I know I was hurting him but I could not help myself. I even tried to tell him that the doctors have drugged him so he can not move his legs but he probably really could. I said come on you can do it, let's go!
Suddenly, he sat up with more strength than he has had in over a month and he said in a very loud clear voice "Okay, I am ready to go home now", then he laid back down and his eyes shut. A very dark feeling came over me and I kept asking him what he meant by that, but I knew and I screamed and I cried and I kept saying no NO NO! and at one point the doctor came in while I was burying my head into him and pleading him to listen to me. His eyes started to roll back and spasm and I asked is he having a stroke? The doctor said no. I said is he dying? The doctor said he is very, very close." I screamed NO NO NO! and I hugged him and I cried and I felt like I would puke.
Suddenly, Bear's eyes opened up wider than they have been opened in at least three days, perhaps since he has been in the hospital. He looked around the room and then his eyes closed again. His head plopped to the side and he began to moan while making a strange fish face. It seems to me he was struggling whether to go or stay. He looked so sad. Almost as quick as this started, it was over. My bear was gone.
He was pronounced dead at 8:40 pm, November 27, 2008. Less than two days before his 38th birthday.