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The First Night…

January 30, 2013 5 comments

It all happened very suddenly. We were having a very quiet evening together when he said that he felt his blood sugar was dropping rapidly, and he asked for some soda. I gave him a glass, and he said that it had helped a little bit. He then asked for some raisins because he didn’t want to add too much fluid to his diet. I gave him some, and he said he was feeling better. A few moments later he slumped over on the couch. He was unresponsive, so I called 911. They came here very quickly, and they performed CPR. They took him to Bayshore Community Hospital.

Of course, I went there, getting there only moments after the ambulance pulled in. When they brought him in, the paramedics were still performing CPR which I immediately knew was NOT a good sign.

One of the nurses came over to me to get Mark’s insurance information. While I was giving it to her, the Emergency Room doctor came out to talk to me. He said that Mark was not responding to treatment. They had given him medication, oxygen, CPR, and shocked his heart. It had been nearly 40 minutes and he did not have a heart beat nor was he breathing. They wanted to stop treatment, but the doctor wanted me to speak to me before they stopped.

When they stopped the treatment, I was able to say my good-bye. The only person in the room was the Social Worker, who I had asked to stay with me. I leaned over Mark, kissed him, and said, “I love you, Bunny. I will miss you so much.” The social worker took me into a private room and she sat with me. She asked me if I wanted her to call anyone. I was in shock. No one prepares for this. No one reacts well. I was stunned. I felt numb.

The first person I called, as I always do when I have a problem, is my brother Jeff, who currently lives in Chicago. I told him what happened, and he said he would make arrangements to get the first flight into Newark and he would call me back with the details. The next people I called was Mark’s family. The family line was busy, so I called my brother-in-law Frank’s cell phone. I told him what happened, and he started yelling to his parents that his brother was gone. That was not exactly the way I wanted my 85-year-old mother-in-Law and my 80-year-old father-in-law to find out!!

I didn’t speak to my mother in law, but my father in law talked to me. He was pretty apathetic about it. He never said he was sorry nor did he offer any help or assistance. He simply told me to let him know the arrangements. I figured that they were in shock.

Two friends came to the hospital to be with me even though I insisted that I was fine. Neither one wanted me to drive my car home, but I felt that I could, and I didn’t want to be a burden to someone who needed to go with me to get my car in the morning. I’m like that. I hate imposing on people. I guess that is why I always went about caring for Mark without asking anyone for help.

One friend helped me make phone calls and stayed with me until after 3:00 AM. The other friend offered her support, and even stayed the night, sleeping on my couch. I did manage to get through that first night.

In the morning the NJ Sharing Network (in cooperation with Donate for Life) called me, and they asked me a whole lot of questions about Mark, his health, his operations, his past, his travel experiences, and a whole bunch of things. They told me that a team would take the organs and tissue that they could. The very next day, I received a certificate indicating that Mark was able to donate and help others. He would have been proud!

Categories: kidney disease

It’s not the end… but a new beginning!

January 27, 2013 6 comments

Markcirca2012It is with great sadness that I inform you that my husband, Mark Clark passed away on January 17, 2013 after a long battle with kidney disease.

Initially I was just going to update this blog with the news and then abandon the whole thing. I’ve decided that this is not what I want to do – nor is it what Mark would have wanted. While Mark is gone from this world, he lives on in my heart and the hearts of his friends, colleagues, and family.

I want to continue writing this blog. It won’t be the trials and tribulations of what it is like to be the wife of a man with kidney disease, but instead it will be about my life without my husband, life partner, and best friend. It’s not going to be a bunch of maudlin, sniveling, and sappy posts about how sad I am or how horrible it is to be a widow.

I want this blog to show my journey as I walk down a lonely road, but come out better, stronger, and content with how my life has turned out.

I will have bad days.  I will be sad.  It will be lonely. But I want to have hope and faith that I can be the person that Mark always encouraged me to be!

I’ve been told that I am a strong person by several different people. I never felt that I was, but now I have to be. I will need my friends, and I will need to learn to reach out for help. This will be very difficult for me and extremely foreign, but I want to honor Mark’s memory and make him proud of the woman that I am determined to become.

It is my hope to continue to help people who are in a similar situation. I know this blog will start to attract a different crowd, but as long as I find writing it to be therapeutic and as long as I can help someone out there, I will continue to write it.

Over the next several days, I will recount the night of his death and how I reacted in the moments and days following it. I will share how I learned that I have more friends than I ever could have imagined. I will continue to share my struggles and my triumphs as I sort through the life that I had with Mark and find my life without him.

I hope you will continue to follow along as I find my way. It is also my hope that I will attract some new followers who might also be grieving over the loss of a loved one or trying to find a new path to travel.

If you followed specifically for the kidney disease/dialysis aspect, I hope that I entertained you, helped you, and encouraged you. I wish this outcome had been different, but we don’t always get what we want.

Rest in Peace my wonderful husband…. I will always love you and treasure the years we had together!

*** Thanks goes out to my friend Dave B. for encouraging me to continue to blog as a healing venue for myself and anyone else who would like to read what I have to say. Thanks Dave, you are the best!! Love ya!