I called time of death. I poked my head out the door and announced that she had stopped breathing but was ignored.
Ten months later, I cry typing this.
A Beautiful Soul
“A woman of strong character with a heart of gold.”
Shirley, who was my soulmate for 29 years, was a woman of strong character with a heart of gold. By the time we met she had already raised her family, mostly on her own, having been abandoned by her husband who left her after involving her in a snowmobile accident which severely damaged a kidney. That kidney was removed, but not before infection moved to the other kidney, causing damage to that one as well, leaving her with essentially 40% kidney function. She was given ten years to live as a single mother with three children to raise. She fought to regain her strength and eventually bought the bar and grill at which she worked and turned it into a family friendly restaurant which became the area's meeting place. She was one of the three founding members of the Herbster Community Club and became the first woman on the Herbster Volunteer Fire Department. She paid close attention to her health and outlived the doctor's ten-year life expectancy by about thirty years until she became ill in December of 2021.
Trying To Avoid The Hospital
We treated her symptoms with over-the-counter medications (after her passing Ivermectin became available online), but her condition continued to deteriorate until she became concerned. I'll never know if it was the wrong thing to do, but I asked if she wanted to go to the hospital and she said yes. When I dropped her off it never occurred to me that I wouldn't be taking her home again. Of course, the only contact we could have was by phone. Shirley signed the release form to have Remdesivir administered, which I later read is very injurious to kidneys, the day she was admitted to the hospital.
The second day she wanted her cell phone so she could text her friends and family. I called her primary care physician and asked if he would check in on her. He reported that she was receiving the care that he thought was appropriate. The third day she said it was so difficult to talk on the phone, but I told her I would call every day just to check on her. The fourth day I called, her roommate had the phone and knowing from experience what an unreliable hassle it was to get the phone to the other person in the room I said "Just tell her that Dale called" and I could hear from across the room in a hoarse but strong voice say "Hi Dale".
“Why was it permissible to be in close contact with someone in that circumstance, but not when they could actually communicate?”
After that I drove to Ashland, went to a flower shop, purchased a Christmas arrangement of roses, and delivered them myself to the hospital. That afternoon, Shirley coded. No one knew how long she was without oxygen. That evening I received a call from the doctor on duty talking to me about end-of-life scenarios with no mention of Shirley having been resuscitated. The next morning about 3 am I received a call from a different doctor who told me that Shirley was not going to survive and that I could visit, bring some extra clothes and I could stay as long as I wanted. When I saw her, she was struggling like a newborn calf (we both grew up on dairy farms) and unable to communicate. Why was it permissible to be in close contact with someone in that circumstance, but not when they could actually communicate? I was prepared to stay as long as Shirley lived even though I was told I could not have food, but I was kicked out that evening. Shirley was kept alive through Christmas and I was allowed in to sit with her three afternoons, including her last. In fact, I called time of death. I poked my head out the door and announced that she had stopped breathing but was ignored. Ten months later, I cry typing this.