I just realized that I never told you about myself. My name is Beth. Den and I have been together for 15 years. I have always been an independent, outspoken woman. I have “gone against the grain” all my life, meaning I have almost always worked in male dominated professions. You already know about my family, but you never got to know me and how I have dealt with Den’s illness.
When this all started, Den was very independent and was taking care of his health fine on his own. After he got out of the hospital in November of 2016, he seemed to have a reduced mental capacity. For instance, a doctor’s office would call to schedule an appointment and he would forget the date or time and forget to tell me about the appointment all together. This really concerned me, so I took over all his scheduling and preparing his medications for the week. And I have been doing it ever since. He didn’t like this change, but he knew that he was not all there mentally. He also knew that I would take care of everything so he could concentrate on his health.
When Den was admitted to the University of Chicago Hospital, I went into panic mode for the first 24 hours. It was like someone else was moving my body and I was just along for the ride. I was working part-time at a florist at the time, and would split my time between the hospital and my job. Once the initial panic wore off, I settled down and kept myself from thinking about the worst case scenarios by doing research. Otherwise, I was busy keeping Den calm with movies on the laptop, playing card games or just talking. I would also send my sister, Marg, home on the weekends (Thursday, Friday & Saturday). Our plan was that she would take Em to school and then head for home. I would pick Em up on my way home from the hospital and spend some time with her Thursday and Friday and we would go see Den on Saturday. I felt it was very important for Em to see her dad and know that he was doing OK. I hid nothing from Em. She knew he was in bad shape and was facing major surgery. Em was my rock, my anchor in a very turbulent time. She knew that I couldn’t cry or lash out with Den, so she let me be weepy or mad or clingy. I remember one night, I woke up sobbing uncontrollably, she came to my room and held me and talked to me until I fell back to sleep. She was still there when I woke up in the morning. She helped me in ways she will never understand and I was and still am so thankful for my darling girl-child!
At one point before Den’s surgery, I asked the doctors if I could talk to them with out Den. I asked what Den’s chances were of coming out of this alive were. I was so scared that he wouldn’t survive the very long and arduous surgery. I was told that they were doing everything possible to prevent his demise; before, during and after surgery. This did not help the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach (which stayed there until he was out of ICU).
I worry for him still today. Every time he says he doesn’t feel well, I get a panicky feeling and wonder if this is the beginning of the end. Thankfully, that has not been the case, but one day I know it will happen. It is just a matter of time, and we don’t know when the clock will run out. But until then, I march along, keeping our family together….mind, body and soul.
For now, I am the only author in this blog. Den doesn’t remember a whole lot from this time. Good thing I kept a “diary” book of everything that happened (I am on my third book). But I am confident that both Den and Em will post something in the near future.