"Dealing with Loss and Anger and Opinions on End of Life Care for those left behind"
About: Kent & Canterbury Hospital Kent & Canterbury Hospital Canterbury CT1 3NG
Posted by the widow beyond (as ),
I lost my husband to complications (blood clots) from stage 4 Lung Cancer in mid July. We had talked about how we would cope with his death, but the experience at the end of his life didn't do that.
I haven't coped. I am traumatised and furious. Although he was very poorly and on his way out, he was just on the main vascular ward because he was quite agitated and distressed and the nursing staff wanted to watch him. Apparently the local hospice had no room/bed for him, but I also think this was because they only thought he had a matter of hours.... He managed 29 hours - even once the decision had been taken to stop all food, drink and other active treatments.
There was an expectation that I would want to remain with him at all times and certainly up until the point that he actually passed away. But I didn't want that. He had already been in hospital for 2 and a half days and I'd only managed to get a couple of hours sleep in that time. I knew he was dying; I knew he would have been concerned for me, it was not what we wanted for each other and I was exhausted. I was made to feel like I didn't care, or that I wasn't brave. But the rest of the family knew/know that is rubbish.... I know that now.
I didn't want to be with "him" - but what was hanging on in that bed was no longer my proud, feisty husband, but a shell, a shadow. And I didn't want that to be my last memory. But it is. It took too long (in my opinion) for my husband to breathe his last. I know others' probably have suffered worse and I REALLY feel for them. How on earth do you cope with the trauma of this? ? I have had to make the decision to put down beloved family pets - it does hurt - but it is truly fast and painless. This wasn't.
I'm not angry for or at my husband, because he will not know or recall any distress or pain - he's beyond that now. But what about me? I promised my husband that I would be OK - and that he wasn't a "bad husband" for making me a widow. I'm really trying. But the fury, the rage about watching him depart in SUCH an undignified way disgusts me. Any healthcare professionals out there: please think about whether a loved one wants to sit and watch this.... or whether the plan was actually for something else.
I am my husband's legacy - we had no children. And that legacy is damaged now and, apparently, no-one is responsible for that. Think. Don't judge.