1 year ago today I walked into the ICU and instantly knew something wasn't right. Everyone kept giving me the look. You know the one where they cock their head to the side and look at you with the sad eyes.
Not to mention that question. The sigh and then the "how are you?"
I knew I was about to receive more bad news, but little did I know just how bad.
For 2 weeks we had daily meetings and doctors telling us they still had hope that Tin Man would pull through. 2 weeks of them telling us he was just being his usual self and making everything much more complicated than it needed to be.
April 9, 2012. Monday, the day after Easter. The meeting that morning was by far the worst. They had lost all hope. They had 1 last ditch effort to try to figure out what was going on, but they weren't optimistic it would work.
I screamed. I needed my kids. I needed them to have the one thing I never had. The chance to come say good bye to their dad.
I called friends that were watching them and told them to bring them to the hospital.
Once they were there, we were all huddled in the "bad room." I sat down with them and told them that their dad was very sick and that the doctors had hoped they could figure out what was going on and make him better. Only time was running out and they still had no idea what was going on.
I showed them pictures of what the different machines in the room looked like. I showed them a picture of Tin Man from that morning. I didn't want their to be any surprises when they walked in.
The one surprise we all got was from Tin Man himself. He had coded twice 2 days before, and ever since had been non responsive. The doctors talked about brain damage because of lack of oxygen, and a part of me didn't want to believe them.
But no matter what we did, he didn't respond. Until the kids went in.
Sugar Pea went in first. She quietly walked up to his bed and in her soft voice told him she loved him. He tried to take a big breathe and set off all his machines. Which scared his nurse, the woman running the ECMO, and myself. Then he tried to talk. I told him he couldn't because of the breathing tube, but that she could see his eyes. I told him, if you understand and you love her too, blink your eyes. He blinked his eyes over and over again.
He had the same reaction when Warrior went in to see him too. I knew then that Tin Man was still in there.
I also knew how bad it was when they didn't limit the number of people in his room. Usually they only allowed 2 people at one time, but at once point we had 6 people in there on top of the nurse, and ECMO lady. I think that was when I really realized this was happening, and there was no turning back.
When I left the hospital that night, I still had a little hope that the next day would be better. That this was just another large bump in an already bumpy road.
That's what it was supposed to be. Tin Man was 36. He just had a heart transplant. He was supposed to be on his way to getting better. To being healthy for the first time in his life.
Instead the next day, April 10, 2012, I made the hardest decision of my life. I chose to let him go, to end his suffering. I removed my husband from life support.
That is always one of the hardest decisions I will ever make. In my mind I know I made the right choice, but in my heart, I think a part of me will always feel guilty. Maybe one day they will both get on the same page, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
I can't believe its already been a year.