A Good, Clean, Healthy Life & then…

My wonderful husband was a high school track & football athlete. Served 3 yrs in the US Army, fathered 3 healthy children, loved Canadian cold water fishing & camping, didn’t smoke or drink (a beer occasionally), loved to take walks,worked 30 yrs at GMAC, & 7 yrs at Edison College as mail-carrier. He loved his family & we loved him.

He was diagnosed in the 80’s with Lupus, then PD in 2005, which really scared him & me. His gait & whole personality just slowed down, noticeably & he became weaker & dizzy & fell several times, hitting his head. Because I could not handle him safely, we took him to a very nice & private assisted living facility, where he stayed 1 year & even though his LBD was getting worse, we brought him back home & had a helper stop in each morning & evenings to help us. His swallowing was starting to get worse & after choking on a mouth rinse, we had to take him to our hospital where he spent 1 week & then the hospice people started hovering & suggested we let him go there & then maybe back home after regulating his meds. That never happened. He was there 5 days & then he just could not swallow his own saliva any longer & they stopped the suction machine & he just lay there gagging & gasping for every last breath. I feel so guilty now that I didn’t insist that we have him flown to the Cleveland Clinic in Naples, Fl or the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, but our daughter kept telling me they could not or did not know a solution for this LBD problem. The neurologist told us that LBD will just shut down the different systems of his body, with no cures, so we knew, but it was just so hard to accept. We felt so helpless & hopeless.

It was over on Jan 16, 2010, at 1 am. Our 2 daughters were there, thank goodness, but my conscience still reminds me daily that we should have started sooner to find a more progressive hospital or research center to take him to. Life is not fair, especially when one lives such a healthy, clean one to begin with. Now, I have this horrible feeling about wanting to help & yet, not wanting or caring about helping, since my only true love is gone & nothing can help him. I probably need some counseling, but I don’t want to get into that just yet. I am just very thankful & appreciative for our few good friends & family, right now.

Joan Gillespie

Mar 26, 2011