My heart surgery was only supposed to keep me away from home a week. Just before the week was up I contracted something unknown. I wasn’t lucid for a good month while they tried to figure out what was going on. The CDC (Center of Disease Control) was called in to help figure out what the cause was and how they could treat it. That was when a staph infection was labeled the cause of my malady. I was given massive doses of antibiotics to fight the infection.
Time lapse at the hospital: two months.
I was sent to a nursing home/rehabilitation place to rehab. Through all this time my companion, Steve, never visited or talked to me on the phone, even when I called him! I had a few visitors: my step-sister, Margaret, came once or twice a week; my youngest daughter, Heather, came all the way from Boston, twice. Heather made sure I had clothes to wear.
I was given antibiotics via IV’s, three times a day while I was there. I rallied after a few weeks and the IV’s were stopped. I steadily improved.
Time lapse at the nursing home/rehabilitation home: one and a half months.
I was released from the nursing home and went to my brother, Chip and Margaret’s, home to continue healing. My sternum (breastbone) was totally split in half. Therapist’s came out to my brothers to continue my rehabilitation.
During this time Chip made a visit to my home to see how things were there and came back with a dismal report. The outside looked okay, but the inside reeked of urine and feces. A week or two later he recommended that I go home sooner than later, before things got worse.
Time lapse at my brothers: three weeks.
The house was a disaster. Steve was sitting in his spot on the couch, getting up only to get to the bathroom. He didn’t say much of anything else.
The second day I picked up cat feces, changed the litter box, tried different things to clean the urine smell out of the carpet. This was exhausting, and irritated my rib cage. I was crying and gasping for air.
Heather called to see how things were and between my tears I told her. She arranged a week off from work and returned home from Boston. Not only did she clean and scrub the carpet but she found things that did it correctly and removed the odor. She changed the shower heads in both bathrooms to handheld ones. She put my shower bench together, installed it in the tub, and installed my bedside commode over the toilet in the master bathroom. She cleaned the bathrooms, living room, and kitchen. She has been my blessing.
Steve never seemed to recover from my being away from home that long. He was not in the best of health before all of this. His family: brother and daughter, were supposed to make sure he was okay. His brother ran errands for him; picked up food for him; and talked to him. Steve resented him stopping by so much. His daughter never did check in on him.
Six months later Steve just gave up. He ended up at a hospital then into a nursing home where he passed away. I visited him every day at both places. I didn’t want him to feel alone.
Even then I felt guilty. Guilty because I resented him not helping where he could. I had to enlist my local, eldest, daughter to pay our bills because he couldn’t/wouldn’t. She did it for the first month, but the next months bills didn’t get paid, until I was at my brothers. I resented the fact that he didn’t come see me or talk to me through that period.
Fourteen years later:
I’m in tears now, because it’s still painful and hurtful.