Ah, memories

I was looking for a photo when I came across this document from 7/8/12 that when reading brought me straight back to the situation.  UGH!  Pain is such a huge part of my life; but then so was this friend.  Why do I always find the users and abusers?  At least they have never stolen my good heart. 😀 Here it is:

Blinding Pain

So, I am in the most pain I can imagine and I am wishing for death — any kind of relief I can get at this point. I just can’t even breath it is so bad. If my head exploded, I’d not be surprised at all. I am in agony.

Moans escape my lips without me even realizing they belong to me. I can not understand how it is that I am still alive. My stomach is rolling around like it is steps away from vomiting and I don’t know how the contents of my stomach are still intact. Why me?

Darkness surrounds my room and it is the only thing I am most grateful for at this point. I can not bear the thought of any light intruding on my eyes without blinding pain seeping further into my brain. It is like a nightmare and yet I am wide away because of the pain. Sleep is so elusive, there is only pain.

Anger and madness dwell here.

My friend comes to the house and further instigates a fight with me. I can’t defend myself against anything, defenses completely down; but he insists on being here. I hate him. I want to be left alone. I want to suffer in silence. I need the solitude; but No! He will not allow it. He will not leave. He has to talk to me. The noise is killing me. My ears as sensitive to sound as my eyes are to light.

Yet, he rattles on and on about nonsense. I can’t bear it; but still he prattles on. I am in AGONY! He is further hurting me with his endless litany of shit. How I hate him. He is drunk. He is a bastard. He does not care that I am in such pain, all that matters to him is himself. I hate his selfishness.

I beg him to leave. I order him to leave. I scream at him to leave and yet, there he sits, not a care in the world but himself, still talking, still ignoring me and still prattling on and on. Oh and I am the crazy one. I am just nuts. Screaming and carrying on the way I do.

HE HAS INVADED MY HOME AND I AM IN PAIN; BUT I AM THE CRAZY ONE!!! HE IS DISTURBING ME AND I AM CRAZY! HE WON’T LEAVE ME ALONE AND I AM CRAZY!

I get angry. I feel I have the right. He, on the other hand, feels I have no right to my anger. I can’t believe his is so insensitive. –end–

Oh how I remember this night.  I’d crawled into bed to try and escape only to have my home, my bedroom and my life invaded, as if I had no right in the world to be in pain, to be upset, to be angry, to be me.

I’m so over letting people treat me badly.  I’m over being used.  I’m over being a door mat.  I just want to be free to be me.  If any man wants to be in my life, he has to treat me right.  I have always treated those I am involved with like Kings.  If they can’t treat me equally well, I’m sending them out the door.  I have learned that I am the daughter of  the King of Kings, and I deserve the best!

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Cruelty

It’s been six months since my best friend died and after my last post, I’ve been reflecting on that relationship and how toxic it truly was. And yet, I took care of him until his dying breath.

We became friends thanks to our children and our exes.  Our children are still best friends.  Our exes destroyed our lives.  Two families ended because two people wanted to play games with our lives.

After my ex tried to kill me in 2009, I was able to relocate and since his ex was not allowing him access to his children, even though he did nothing wrong, he decided he, also needed a fresh start and decided to move with us.

We got a three bedroom house, decided to split living expenses and move away from the two people who were trying to hurt us the most.  He knew if he stayed she’d do something to either put him in jail or worse.  I knew when my ex got out of jail he’d taunt me and torment me for fun.  It was for the best.

My son & I got help.  We were in therapy for a long time.  We began to heal.  My best friend began to drink himself through the pain.  My divorce was final March 2010 and his September 2010.    It wasn’t long after that when we became lovers.  We loved each other; but not the way a man and wife would.  I think it was more convenience than anything else.  Being lovers ended when I had to force us apart when the destruction became too much for me to bear.

He had a mother f*cker in him that was on a crash course to the end.  The more he drank, the worse he became.  He moved into his own apartment in early 2012.  I couldn’t take his cruelty any longer.

We disagree.  He’d get angry and try to force the situation.  He’d destroy my property.  He would throw things around the house.  He’d dump icy cold water on me while I was in the shower.  He’d throw my things out in the yard.  He never paid a single bill, I had to pay for everything.  His check was his own to do with as he pleased.  He cut holes in my clothes.  He would pull meals out of the oven or off the stove and throw them in the trash, uneaten.  He destroyed two of my computers.

I would lock myself in my bedroom, only to have him pick the lock and come in to further torment me.  He would trap me with no escape route so that he could get in my face and tell me what a horrible person I was.  He always told me that my son didn’t love me and was just like his father, just using me.

I spent many nights on my knees in the closet, praying to God to end it.  I wanted to die and I wanted out and I wanted to be free and I wanted it to stop and I wanted it over.  And yet, it went on until I cried so many tears I didn’t think I’d ever cry another, but I did.

I am not innocent in all of this, believe me.  I screamed back at him.  I tried to defend myself.  No matter what I did, I was never good enough and he’d use my behavior as a weapon against me, even when all I was doing was defending myself.

Then, he’d calm down and apologize.  I walked around on eggshells most days.  I never knew what would set him off.  I tried to tell him to get help; but you can’t help someone who won’t help themselves.

In 2014, it was the beginning of the end for him.  He started to become really sick.  I stood by him.  He had no one else.  I took him to doctors.  I became his health care advocate.  I took him back into my home when he was so sick he couldn’t care for himself and I was there with him when he drew his last breath.

I helped him to reunite with his brother, whom he had not spoken to in over 30 years.  I took care of every intimate detail of his life.  He was saved and accepted Jesus as his Savior and I know he is in peace, in heaven, right now.

I’m not a saint.  I’m a sinner.  I never did to him the things he had done to me.  He’d push me and I’d push back; but his cruelty was sometimes more than I could bear.  I’d cry, he’d call me a titty baby.  He was good at name calling.  He was good at breaking a person.  But, through it all, I was his friend.

He told me constantly that he loved me.  If that is love, I want no part of it.  I loved him, too; but I wasn’t in love with him and that’s a big difference.  He was like a brother to me.  I never understood the demon on his back.  I have since made peace with God over all that transpired.  I would help him again.  No one should die alone and unloved.

I am not a monster.  I have seen my share of meanness.  I have looked death in the face.  I am at peace with who I am in this world, even if no one appreciates me or loves me.  Despite what people think of me or say about me, I know who I am and what I have done.  Cruelty is not in my DNA.  I’m a call it like I see it kind of person.

In reflection, I see that the people who don’t love me or like me or whatever; are the ones who have hurt me and didn’t like it when I treated them as they did me.  My father doesn’t like it that I stand up for myself.  My sister hates it that I no longer put up with her bull sh*t.  I call a spade a spade.  They think it was so much better when they walked all over me and I let them; but this gal learned to stand up and not take it any more.  I have worth.  I have value and I don’t deserve to be mistreated.

I may never be loved in this life; but that is okay.  I know who I am and so does God and that is all I need.

Two Months

Two Months

It’s been two months since my friend entered went to the ER and nearly died. Hope Hospice has been a great assist in caring for him at home. It’s been a hard two months; but we’re making it. Officially sober since May 11th and out of the woods from withdrawal. There is hope.

End stage Liver disease is a horrible way to die. I have to sit by and watch the breakdown of a life. As he drifts off to sleep, he mumbles and his hands flail about animatedly. He has no idea. He calls out, he sometimes knocks things over.

He hallucinates all the time. Don’t get me wrong, he has times of lucidity; but he still sees things and gets confused. Sometimes I have to “poke” the images he sees to show him that he is seeing things. He was convinced a man had broken into our home. I had to fake calling the police in order to calm him down. It wasn’t until several days later that I was able to convince him it wasn’t real. Now, he’s told me, when he’s not sure if something is real, he will poke at the image or he’ll close his eyes to see if it will disappear.

He’s up and around now using his walker. He’s lost the water weight (ascites) in his legs and stomach thanks to water pills prescribed by the doctor. He has fallen several times and gotten scraped up; but we’ve gotten him off the ground without additional assistance. Walking around does, however, make his feet and legs sore. We’re hoping that he’ll start physical therapy soon to help.

His appetite has increased at times; but then he will go with only one to two bites of food. He’s taking extra fiber and MoM to help him have BMs. He is, for the most part, in good spirits. I have even been able to take him out to the eye doctor after he broke his glasses and needed a new pair.

He LOVES his CNA. She comes three times a week and gives him a bed bath, puts lotion on him and makes him feel better. He adores her. She’s a great person and I think the world of her, too. He has a nurse who comes once a week and a Social Worker every two weeks.

All things considered, he’s doing very well.

My son went to Jazz Camp at FSU in June and I had to drive him. This left us having to get someone in to stay with my patient. Thankfully, there is a lady from my church who is a retire PA who came over and stayed the two days. She then stayed two days when I went to pick my son up.

My son LOVED the camp, learned new techniques to take back to Jazz band at CCHS and made several new friends. He had a great solo at the Friday evening concert combos (4 songs) and played in two pieces on Saturday afternoon. He did a great job and I am so proud of him.

This coming weekend, we’re heading down to Hollywood Hills HS for an Indoor Drumline workshop with Stryker, a semi-professional Drumline. It’s only one day and he is so looking forward to the opportunity to sharpen his drumming skills.

This summer has been so good for him. The last week of July is band camp and I know he is looking forward to that as well. My son impresses the heck out of me. He’s so dedicated to his music and I am so proud of his dedication and skill. I love the stuffing out of that kid.

Between the two of these guys, I am have seen such incredible progress and couldn’t be prouder of them. What a great summer so far.

Hospice Continues

As I write this, it’s been over a week since we started Hope Hospice. He has a great Nurse, CNA & Social Worker. The CNA comes 3x’s a day. The Nurse every Friday and the Social Worker every other Friday.

Since Friday, 5/27/16, he hasn’t been eating a lot of food. He’s down to only a few bites here and there. Saturday seemed to be a turning point for that. I believe he has a UTI since he was screaming in pain during urination since Thursday evening. I got him some AZO at Walgreens for him and so far, it seems to be helping a bit.

He’s stopped having any BM’s since last week and he is in and out of lucidity. His urine output is about 800 ml daily now. He’s definitely drinking more than he’s out putting. I’ve read the data on End Stage Liver disease and it is not pretty. I hate seeing him in such pain.

He is sleeping more and more since the weekend and his dream state is very active. He’s continuing to see people and objects that are not there.

His Social Security has been approved; but at this point it is useless. He’ll be dead before the first payment is received, so he won’t even get a payment. It is a shame. They decided that his PTSD, which the VA didn’t help him with or even properly document, which has been giving him problems since 2012 was not problematic. They decided he didn’t become disabled until this past December 2015, even though he had two suicide attempts.

The first suicide attempt he was hospitalized at Bay Pines VA for a week. The second time, four months later, he went to the ICU at CCH and then Baker Acted at Bay Pines for a week. It’s been so hard for him. My heart is breaking over the way this man has been treated. He had a mental health doctor tell him he needed to “grow a pair” and “be a man”, degrading him further and sending him into an even deeper depression. His VA Social Worker didn’t work on anything meaningful or try to help him in any way and only saw him once a month.

This horrible treatment had him resistant to see them and made his mental health plummet. He then had a Primary Care doctor who I blame for his complete medical downfall. She was a bitch and had her own agenda. She was finally let go and by that time, it was too late.

I began just taking him to CCH ER for treatment since his doctors at the VA were useless and didn’t listen or make any referrals to other doctors. Or, when they did make referrals, they came two – three months’ after the referral was made.

Let me tell you about Veteran’s Choice. Veteran’s Choice is the new measure with which the VA allows vets to see outside providers when a vet can’t get into see a doctor more than 40 days out. Sounds great; however, when we requested this, it took over 4 months for approval. We should’ve just waited and saw the VA doctors. Either way, he’s now on his way to leaving this world.

Hospice isn’t easy. I’m working my butt off for him; but since I’m the first person to do so, it is a pleasure and honor. He’s getting weaker and weaker. He’s having a hard time staying steady with his hands. He can hardly hold a cup and has had a lot of near spills and spills, much to his frustration.

I pray for him every day and ask for God to be merciful. I don’t like watching him suffer. All I can say is I’m glad he is home and not hooked up to tubes and crap at the hospital. May God have mercy on his soul.

Hope Hospice – Going home to die.

Alcohol and drug damage to the liver is a horrible way to die. I have brought my best friend home to die. He’s only 46. My world is shattered as I watch a once strong and fierce man lay helpless in bed, not even able to feed himself without making a mess. My heart is breaking.

This has been a long, hard year for him. Last March, he got a cold and it was the beginning of the end for him. He never got rid of the cold. The VA doctor, Astrid Clarke, treated him with distain and disrespect and never tried to help him.

Complaints of heart issues and stomach issues went untreated by her. She ignored desperate emails from me for help. Phone calls went unanswered. She finally was forced to resign in early December and Leif was able to get a new doctor two days before Christmas.

He had gone into the hospital the first week of December 2015 due to horrible pain and was given Tramadol to help. Dr. Clarke had been giving him large doses of ibuprofen. Taking this led him to having a stomach ulcer, which nearly killed him. He woke up in February vomiting massive amounts of blood and bloody stool. A trip to the ER, an endoscopy and medication helped; but the after two months, we are here, at end stage liver disease.

He’d been treated for an intestinal virus a week before the bleeding ulcer; but because an endoscopy was not performed, the perforations in his stomach were not detected.

On May 11th, he had fallen for the 6th time in 5 days and my son & I no longer had the strength to lift him. He’d been retaining water and the prescribed pills were not helping him at all. He has over 70 lbs of water weight since his March 2nd release with a stomach ulcer.

At the ER we learned that his liver was in trouble. It wasn’t until he was upstairs in ICU that the doctors were able to tell me the full extent of his health problems.

Leif is yellow. His eyes and skin glow with it, something the lights at home didn’t really show us. However, the harsh, bright, white lights of a hospital room pick up instantly. His urine, when he was able to go, was an orangey color, which I thought was blood. It was not. It is liver bile coming out the kidneys.

Day 2 in the hospital brought more results and his doctor at CCH turned to me and asked me bluntly if he had a DNR order. He also told me he was dying. I was in shock. As I stood by his bedside and watched him babble incoherently, silent tears streamed down my face.

The hospital social worker came by to speak with me about what I had just learned. During a moment when he was with us, he managed to tell both social workers who came to the room that he designated me as the person he wanted to make his medical decisions. He was also able to sign a DNR. He plainly stated that he did not wish to be kept alive on machines. Funny thing is, he also told us that he wasn’t going to die. He’s a fighter.

Day 3 in ICU was another day of incoherent babble and hand waving. He was in and out of awareness. Watching him like this was hard; but I spent my time there praying that God would be merciful. I spent time also putting his BP cup back on and trying to prevent him from removing his IV lines.

Day 4 was heart wrenching at best. I arrived to find him breathing so hard that I was told if it continued he would be dead by nightfall. They said they could intubate him; but he would never come off and it was against his DNR or they could try a BPAP on him. We went BPAP. By late evening, his breathing was regulated. He fought hard this day. He was in kidney, heart, lung, and liver failure. His heart was enlarged and pumping hard, it looked like the end of the line for him.

They put a tube up his nose to his stomach for medication and tied him down to the bed so he wouldn’t pull off his mask, tube and electrodes.

Day 5 seemed the same as 4; but by afternoon, he was coming around. What a blessing. He wasn’t done yet. He was mostly coherent and seemed to understand what was happening around him. Yeah for him and for us. Still not doing well; but not about to give up.

Day 6 I arrived at 7 am as usual and he was removing his tubing, BP cuff, trying to take out his IV’s and told me right off that he was going home. When I asked him by whose authority, he told me the doctor and nurse told him so. I knew he’d not yet seen the doctor so I spoke with the night nurse, Sue, who was getting ready to get off duty and the day nurse, Jen, who was coming on. After listening to them talk, it was suggested that I talk to his physician about Home Hospice care.

At around 10 am, his doctor stopped by and we discussed Hospice. By 11 am rounds, Home Hospice was our exit strategy and arrangement were being made. By 5 pm, Leif had signed the papers and would be leaving in the morning, or so we thought. He could barely wait to go home.

I left at 8 pm to go home and ready myself for the next day. Hospice was going to deliver equipment for him in the morning; but didn’t arrive until closer to noon. By the time it was all inside and set up, it was nearing 1 pm. I picked up my son and left him at the house. I then headed to the hospital where Leif was already discharged; but awaiting my arrival to go home.

With a lot of assistance, he was deposited into my car and we went to the house. And that’s when the trouble started. I pulled the car as close to the door as possible; but my son & I still could not get him into the house. He is just too heavy. Our neighbor suggested we call for lift assist at our local Fire/Rescue office. What a blessing they are. They came and 5 firefighters helped him into the house and into bed. Never was I so grateful for such assistance.

The Hospice Nurse & Social Worker came by and helped us to get settled as well as go over some of the rules and way of the program works. I am glad he’ll be comfortable here at home where I can care for him. I do not know what the future holds for him; but I do know that he is happy and that is what really matters.

At present, his urine looks like dark brewed coffee. He spends a lot of time asleep and is in and out of lucidity. I just pray that our Lord and Savior will be merciful to him.