Pedal Another Mile

Bicycling, death, life after death.

Home again.

Last night I told Billy Jo we'd be ok - that the last two weeks she'd put us through more than anyone should be able to handle and somehow we were still there. I told her of the CT school shooting and how there were a bunch of little kids that needed her. I told her that the very sick 11 year old nephew of a friend is as hesitant to go as she is, and needs her to help him. I told her everything I could think of to get her to let go. I got the same answer from staff all the time when I asked how this could be happening yet again- she's got a strong heart and she'll go when she's ready.

I asked the nurse if there was a social worker available on weekends. There wasn't one there but they have them on call and one would be there in an hour. During that hour I puked (AFTER taking zofran), had a nice dose of the runs, and a bloody nose.

I spent an hour talking to her, I guess looking for permission, acceptance, who knows what from an outside party. To go home. To begin "living" at home and visiting the hospice home as long as Billy Jo remains there. Just no more 24/7. No more overnights, because that seems to be when everything is the worst.  

I told her just how low I have reached and why I fear that if I didn't make this decision, irreversible things could occur soon. My level of depression/helplessness/hopelessness was becoming out of control.

I told her that yesterday, less than a mile from my house, while coming up to a stop sign where a two lane 55mph crosses by, that I had a split second thought to let the semi truck going 65 mph broadside me. It passed just as quickly, of course, but the fact that even a split second thought like that entered my mind told me I was losing control. I promised Billy Jo over and over that no matter how bad things got I'd never consider suicide, as it would be a slap in the face to her, fighting to stay alive for 17 years, even to this very minute.

I told her that at least a dozen times as I sat in the chair next to her all night, I pictured myself just covering her mouth and pinching her nose shut. There's wouldn't even have been a struggle - that's how low and short her breaths were.

So yeah, I have reached a point where one more night in that place, one more "this is it" moment - could cause bad bad things. I am having a nervous breakdown.

I asked how other hospice spouses were, knowing full well that the vast majority of these people are very elderly. But if on the rare occasions they had someone our age there - what did the spouse do? She replied that it wouldn't even be worth discussing because our situation is one of the most difficult she has come across.

She told me what I needed to hear - "go home. Come back for visits. Bring Wrigley - that ensures you have to leave."

She asked me what type of notifications I want with status changes. At this point, there's been so many "this is it" moments that if I rushed back there every time it would be the same as being there 24/7. Hospice will only call me if she passes away. I asked Billy Jo's mom to only call me if she was absolutely certain - but that's kind of silly - we've been that before.

So I packed up and then talked to Billy Jo. I told her through the hardest tears I have cried yet that I needed to do this and I hope she understood. She'd never want me even thinking what I thought yesterday. She'd never want me to become so unhealthy that stress kills me. She'd want me to go on and try to lead a happy, normal, rest of my life. I told her that the longer I remained there 24/7, and especially overnights, the less the chance that I get out of this happy or normal. 

I told her that while I was there for every chemo session, for every radiation session, for every bad news doctor visit, that I was the first non-hospital staff she saw after every surgery, that I have been there 24/7 for her the past 3+ months of hell - that I needed to do this for me. I begged that she not hold it against me or think that I am abandoning her now. I told her that I'd be back tonight with Wrigley and if she wasn't alive, that I'd understand. I'd be glad she finally was at peace. That if it was me keeping her here that I was sorry for extending things so long. I told her that when I got back, if she was alive, then I'd talk to her again. I bawled so hard I think I pulled a stomach muscle.

And then I left. I went and picked up Wrigley form Lena's house. She was very happy to see me - it had been eight days already. We drove home, went inside, and it was completely different then yesterday. I cried even harder than when I left Billy Jo for what could be the last time. I don't know why. There's signs of her everywhere. Wrigley running her nose everywhere, (to me) desperately looking and sniffing for her momma. Didn't even glance at the cat.

The signs were here yesterday too of course, but this feels different. I couldn't stop bawling my eyes out for over half an hour despite popping two Xanax. Wrigley kept licking my face as I buried it into the comforter on the bed.

I took a shower and I'm finally calm enough to where I'm able to type this. Wrigley is as sad looking as can be, with her head laying on one of Billy Jo's pillows.

Holy shit, this is going to be hard.