Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Just let me cry for a few minutes, please.

For anyone reading this that has ever had to grieve the loss of a friend or family member, I ask how long does this grieving process last?

I have started writing this again (for about the 6th time) since mid December. I seem to get to a point and just delete it only to start over a few weeks later. It has been about a year to the day that we lost our son and I have yet to cry.

 I have had to remain strong and be the one in constant control of my feelings. Making those hard decisions and make sure everything, to the best of my ability, is taken care of. I don't see it as a sacrifice I chose to make but rather a decision to make the best of the situation and provide the needed care. But sometimes it would be nice to just cry for a few minutes.

It's gets easier to tell our story and until just a few weeks ago no one outside our families knew about it. Not even the people who joined with us back in August 2011 in the fight against amendment 26. It was a private matter that fueled our desire to shut the amendment down and helped give us the courage to create the DeepFried Freethinkers and go public with so much skepticism and freethinking in North East Mississippi that was just unheard of. We are so deep in the Anti-Family Association (or AFA) area that we could see Bryan Fischer go to work everyday. But the AFA keeps us busy and they feed us fodder to blog about daily, too much fodder in fact.

By the time I finish writing this I will be one step closer in my personal grieving process, I hope.

The following is an account from my viewpoint of the events that happened and how they have affected me, so please bear with me as I slowly recall it.

At the end of the January 2011, I took Tweenky out for an authentic Italian dinner in Gulfport, MS, at Pasta Italia Trattoria - a place that allows you bring you own wine in to enjoy with your meal, but not for us. We were celebrating my 2nd New Years sober in 12 years and just our lives together in general. Tweenky ordered the pasta with marinara sauce and I ordered the mostaccioli.  About half way through our salad, Tweenky suffered a severe nosebleed with no apparent cause. It wasn't a normal nosebleed; the blood appeared really thin and watery. Tthat was our first clue this was serious. We left for the hospital and had to deal with a front desk nurse who was more worried about getting Tweenky to sign some papers than the fact there was blood literally gushing from her nose and mouth. I know I was upset and scared, she was only doing her job, but I wanted the bleeding to stop. I had no idea what was happening to her or why. What caused this? Not knowing has the worst feeling ever or so I thought at that moment.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, she was in a room and then we waited for the doctor. They ran a few test and checked her nasal cavity to find the source and cause. I was asked to leave the room. Later I found out they had asked about any domestic abuse and such. That's when they discovered that she had high blood pressure which resulted in a posterior tear in her nasal cavity but the high blood pressure was caused by her being pregnant......Yes, I said pregnant; something I was told previously some years ago would be impossible for me after sustaining an injury and some painful swelling. I have lived with that knowledge since I was 14, but at that age you're not thinking about having a family. It was in my early twenties that the desire to be a father nabbed at me from time to time. It would have a longing effect on me for several years and then fade away.

They carefully packed both her nostrils, stopped the bleeding, and prescribed some blood pressure medicine. They moved her up to Labor and Delivery to address the other factor that caused all this, her being unexpectantly pregnant. The results came back positive and she was approximately 21-22 weeks and, after a sonogram, we found out it was a boy. We were both surprised, scared, excited and lost to say the least. Neither of us had planned on ever having kids - it was something I once longed for but had been denied early on in life, thus given up on. Tweenky had decided that she hadn't had any yet and just didn't really think she wanted to have any as she got older.

Then this is were our lives are changed in so many ways it has taken almost a year to realize what all happened. There are details that I could vaguely remember 6 or 9 months ago that I can't get out of my head now. It's my brain handling the mass amount of emotional information and the slow process is probably needed or one would go insane and lose control of their own emotions, but I have yet to cry.

 It was about a week later when I got up for work as usual and Tweenky said she was having trouble seeing; in fact she had gone completely blind for a few minutes and then the seizures happened. There is nothing scarier than having a loved one in your arms suffering a seizure and there is really nothing you can do but keep them safe from their surroundings. I had no idea what was causing this but I knew I had to act fast. I had managed to get her into the car when she came back around and we headed straight to the hospital where she had 2 more seizures in the ER. The attending doctor in the ER had totally pissed me off; Tweenky was having a seizure and he just stood there. I alone was holding her and keeping her from falling off the table. They finally got her stable, which took 15 minutes because no one could find the freaking key to the medical cabinet - really? 

Then they tried 3 or 4 different times and with different equipment to find and check the baby's heartbeat and vitals. It was frustrating no one would tell me anything and I knew that if I caused a scene I would likely be escorted to the waiting room - not where I wanted to be. I was playing back the past week in my head: had I forgotten to give her her meds? There were only 3 pills she took daily - had I given her the wrong one at the wrong time?No, I had given her the right meds at the right times...that much I was for sure. But still my head was racing for a reason as to why this was happening. This feeling of helplessness and unknowing was infuriating to say the least.

The ER doctor took me outside and said, "There's no heartbeat or movement and we are moving her to labor and delivery." I felt my world stop, fall around me, and there was nothing else around me except Tweenky. She had lost consciousness from the seizures but she was stable for now.  It was like the world had gone into slow motion for the next forty minutes or so. I don't remember who I called first or who I actually talked to. I was, for all intents and purposes, "going through the motions."

After calling family on both sides, I stayed at her side while the ob-gyn ran tests. It was within a half hour the doctor confirmed that our son had in fact died but that was only part of the problem. Tweenky was suffering a severe type of pre-eclampsia called HELLP Syndrome, symptoms of DIC and her kidneys were barely functioning. They had to install a PIC line for faster results to the medicine they were giving her. She had an IV in each arm, one was saline to keep her hydrated and to keep her kidneys functioning as much as possible.  Her platelet count had dropped to almost 30,000; it should be around 250,000 to 300,000. This meant surgically removing our son (which would stop the DIC and release her from the HELLP syndrome) was not an option and she would have to perform a vaginal birth.

Tweenky had fallen in and out of consciousness 3 times after being moved to the ICU. I know that it was 3 times because, when she would come around and ask what was going on, I had to tell her that we lost the baby each time. This killed me inside every time. She was apparently in such a state of shock, compounded with the seizures; she was having problems remembering, focusing and remaining awake. The doctors came to me with paper work for a blood transfusion and other life-saving permissions,( I was raised a Jehovah's Witness for 20 some years - a blood transfusion would not have ever been allowed had I still been a follower and she would have died.) I signed them all without hesitation. I wanted them to do everything imaginably possible to save her. They kept us up to date as things were happening, but still time was of the essence. She was going to become more septic as the minutes passed and her kidneys were barely functioning, zapping what little energy she had in her to stay awake. All the while they were telling us to plan for the worst. Yet, I still hadn't cried.

Thankfully, she was given prostaglandin suppositories (something that Amendment 26 tried to ban) to induce labor; otherwise, she would continue to slowly die from our dead son who was now becoming septic to her body. In a way I am thankful that Tweenky doesn't remember all the events. I believe it would have destroyed what was left of her after suffering so much. I literally spent the next week at her side in the hospital. I left only for 2 hrs to pay bills as she slowly recovered. The hospital staff was very sincere; they all knew what had happened and that she was lucky to have lived through all of it. We had several doctors come and visit us, some who only heard about our situation, to give condolences and wish us the best. For all intents and purposes, they said she should have died. "Her platelets were so low and her kidneys had all but stopped," one doctor told me several times. At the end of the week, the doctors released her and I was at her side always. I was happy to have her home and still I didn't cry.

Though she suffered several seizures, there wasn't any permanent damage per se. However, she can barely remember much of what happened at the hospital. Personal care, medicine for high blood pressure and depression would be a constant fixture for a long while. I quit my job in Biloxi and made arrangements to move closer to her family to ensure sure she had better care. I am only one person, I can only do so much and was not afraid to ask for help. We ended up moving just north of Tupelo, MS, where we have a family support group that has helped us in so many ways. I may never be able to repay them for all that they have done for us but I will never stop thanking them for it.

Occasionally I feel my eyes swell up and think, "Finally, I can cry," but then something inside reaches up and pulls the tears back. "Not yet, there is still something to do."

Like I mentioned before, perhaps writing this will bring me one step further in the grieving process. It has become easier to at least write about it - that's a step forward. Talking about it to others is still hard at times: I find myself either going blank or changing the subject. "Just a little more time," I tell myself. I usually find something to bury myself into, keeping myself busy and putting this on the back burner.

But it would be nice to just cry and let it all out. I know in time I will.

Thank you all for letting me share. It means a lot.

As always we look forward to getting feedback from you. Please share your thoughts with us.