Friday, November 23, 2012

November 23

Rick and Tobers just about four months before the tumor was found. Doesn't look like he had less thank a year left does he? 
Three years ago today was a day a lot like this day, cool, cloudy.... Nick was cutting wood to fill an order, Rick was supposed to be helping him. At breakfast, Rick had told me again about the events of Sunday. How he'd had so much trouble ordering a baked potato. He was acting a little confused. He said he was OK, but he was having some trouble talking to me. It was about mid morning when I found him sitting in the dark on the bed with his hat and coat on, arms folded. He went on outside to help Nick but he never made it to Nick. I am not sure where he went. I think it was up to the store to have coffee.  He made a trip or two back to the house. When he came in around one, he sat on the couch. He picked up the remote and looked at it like he didn't know what it was. He couldn't talk to me. All he could say was he was OK. His mom had died from complications from a brain bleed. I was afraid he had one going on. I called Nick into the house. He had just a few EMT classes left. They had just done the stroke scale, so I asked him to help me. I was afraid. He could do everything except touch his nose and my finger then his nose again.

I told him he had to go to the ER. He said NO! I told him he had to. He told me NO! I called Dr Phillips who he thought a lot of. He said take him anyway. I told him he had a choice of how he went. He could go in an ambulance or I could take him. He went with me. I called my friend Paula who at that time worked ER. They were waiting for us. They had him in CT very quickly. When Rusty brought him back to me, he would not look at me and got out of the room quickly. I knew it was something bad, but I was still thinking brain bleed. I wish. I never dreamed it would be a tumor. ER doc came in, saw me and went back out. He came back in in a couple of minutes. He then proceeded to kick us in the chest with cleats. That is the only description of how it felt when he said you have a mass in your brain, it is big. I think it's cancer but I don't know for sure. Tears were in his eyes. He said his brain was swollen and had shifted quite a bit.

scan with a frontal lobe lesion with shift
normal ct scan
I gave him the name of someone to call in Nashville and a number to call him at. It was Dr Carl Hampf at the Howell-Allen Clinic. Dr Hampf is an excellent brain surgeon. When I worked at Baptist, people came from all over the world to see him. He was very surprised that I had taken Rick to the ER with the vagueness of the symptoms. He was also surprised that he had not had a seizure from the size of the tumor. He was pretty sure it was a glioblastoma multiforme. GBM. He thought stage III or stage IV likely. But removing the tumor and pathology would tell. This was on a Monday. On Wednesday, he let me bring Rick home for the holiday. We would go back to Nashville on December 1 for the surgery. He was on high dose steroids. He hated the steroids.

I miss him more than you could know. Every day. But if he couldn't be cured and have a normal life, he didn't want to stay. He wanted to go on. We abided by his wishes. As difficult as it was, he said he was a winner either way it went. And he was. I have regrets. I have wishes. But I know we did all for him we could. We tried everything available. In the end, blood clots to his lungs were the final cause of his death. These were a complication of the cancer and the blood disorder he already had.

Beverly Sanders Taylor

All of Rick's sisters and his brother were dear to him. The three sisters above, Beverly, Teresa and Sue came and stayed with him at the hospital every day. Someone was there. They stayed lots of nights. Five out of the six weeks he was in the hospital, many nights/week one of the three would stay with him after the first week there. The only times I let them stay were when he was stable. Some nights he was so unstable, I couldn't leave him. I don't know what I would have done without them.

There were so many others who were there on a frequent basis. I didn't even have to say anything. If he wasn't doing well and I needed someone, they were there. I couldn't have made it without them either. And Brother Joe, hospital Chaplain. What can I say about him. He checked on us often. He came on Sundays after church to check on Rick. I always knew he had been there if I was out of the room. And the ICU and CRSH nurses were wonderful.

I love all y'all!
To be continued........

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