The journey continues – I long for laughter- Chris Ritchey

November 3, 2011 at 10:02 am 10 comments

In Search of My Son- Part 17

I used to love this time of year- the burst of colour, crimson, golds and green – bright blue skies intensified by the crystal coldness of the air – a time to breathe without the heat and humidity I have never appreciated. I looked forward to curling up with a book in front of a fire as evening drew the curtains of inky blue over the outside world.

No longer do I greet this time of year with past enthusiasm. I read so many books whilst you fought for your life through stem cell transplants and in Texas- all those hours in waiting rooms, reading quietly whilst you tried to sleep in the next room in the Texas apartment. I don’t remember any of the ones I read- except for the one . It still is the most important book in this house.

I have tried reading to escape, I can’t, it just takes me back to that Thanksgiving Day in the Cleveland Clinic and as I read out loud to you – the episode– that is what they called it – he is having an episode– a code blue episode!!!! . Although the Dr. on duty came out to the “empty waiting room” said you were dying and did I want a clergyman- ironically the only time in that waiting room I wasn’t surrounded by the “gypsy encampment”
Circus by Chris Ritchey

I was alone – I couldn’t fathom what this Dr. was saying to me……. a nurse bringing me hot chocolate –

dying – what are they talking about?

But then you rallied -again hope – a chance for laughter once again in my life.

You see Chris was always the one who made me laugh– he could be very naughty as a little boy but it is hard to punish someone when he would make you laugh. Even as he grew he could be so exasperating at times but then that smile and irreverent humour which would make me melt.

It had been known to heal – his humour – it helped his Dad. A few months before Nikki got married my husband suffered an “episode” himself and had to have open heart surgery . He was in ICU at the Cleveland Clinic and was intubated.

He was in an induced coma for a while and according to the Drs. was “completely out of it” – only he wasn’t- although unable to respond he heard every word that was said – he knew I was holding his hand talking to him.

They said he wouldn’t remember anything but he did and told us afterwards everything we were saying and who was there – it was horrible not being able to show he heard and he knew what they and we were saying. It was very frightening for him. He has never gotten over that experience.
I remembered that as Chris lay in his bed those last days hooked up – I ache at the thought that he could have heard the dreadful Sue Lombardi and her daughter, Angela Ritchey DO calmly discussing what to dress Chris in in his coffin– it shatters me to think my son trapped in his body was hearing their thoughts on parking at the funeral home. Imagine that if you will.

Chris’s Dad insisted we say nothing in front of Chris when he was intubated worried he could hear and never to say goodbye because he didn’t want Chris to feel like he did – panicked and helpless. I watched the tears trickle down my sons cheek as they prepared to intubate him – I heard his last words he spoke and I hear them every day …………

My husband, in the ICU had a nurse who quite frankly he didn’t like – she was the sort of officious, all business type , mechanical in her dealings – probably a very good nurse truth be told- but she was “mean” according to the patient. Her bedside manner was definitely lacking.

Candidate for medical degree being examined in the subject of “Bedside Manner.” Punch Cartoon 1914

He wanted the tubes out- he has a phobia about being tied down etc. – they told him so many hours which kept dragging on causing him more distress as time lines came and went. I couldn’t get any answers and being tied down with the tube down his throat caused him so much anxiety and the anxiety – it became a vicious circle -the tube was causing him distress – the distress was causing the tube to stay in…. anyway he eventually got the tube out and although he wasn’t allowed anything but ice chips – this nurse “Nancy” didn’t think it was advisable. All well and good but this healer instead of explaining why would just pull the curtain across with a “no ice for you”. It became so bad that when she would come into the cubicle his blood pressure would soar- I finally requested she no longer be assigned to him -coincidence or not after he found out she wouldn’t be coming back as his nurse he calmed – I stayed – and he was finally released out of ICU.

Unlike the ICU where Chris had the “crowd” I was the only one apart from my daughter allowed in and then only for twenty minutes every 4 hours…… many trips in a day I drove to the Clinic I can’t count in those first days. My husband was moved to the floor but the damage had been done by Nancy Nurse Nancy. He had nightmares about her. I explained to Chris as we went up on the elevator how he had been impacted. As we talked he pulled out a small pad of paper, asked me what she looked like and by the time we got to the room handed his father his interpretation of Nancy Nurse Nancy.

Nancy Nurse Nancy- by Chris Ritchey
It was the first time his Dad had smiled in days and even managed a weak laugh . He asked for it to be put up where he could see it and when he woke from his nightmares he would find comfort in his son’s take on Nancy Nurse Nancy – He chased away the nightmares with his humour .

Chris’s dad kept that little drawing , it is framed and hangs where he can see it when he wakes. The nightmares of a different sort come now – but it still brings back, if just a little, the gift of a smile and laughter by his son.

How I wish for laughter – how I wish for my son- how I wish we could have peace on this journey with no end save one .

Part One In search of my son- In search of me
Part TwoTourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks

Part Five Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six – The Unfinished Portrait

Part Seven– The Unfinished Portrait- The Artists
(2) Part Two – Who Are We Really?
Part Eight– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight

Part Nine– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight – Part Two
Part Ten (a)There is an “I” in Death
Part Ten (b)- I didn’t know my son- Chris Ritchey
Part Eleven- Unfinished Portrait the Artistic Gene
Part Twelve- Unfinished Portrait- the Artistic Gene- Part Two
Part ThirteenA Place of Echoes
Part FourteenAn Absence of Laughter
Part 15 Who I am , the artist speaks
Part 16- The Lowest Ebb- I knew my son- Chris Ritchey

Entry filed under: Chris Ritchey, death, grief, humour dark and otherwise, journey, Love, medical, personal opinion. Tags: , , , .

Lorain Dude- Lorain Fire Dept.- WOW!-PULEEEZE The Brits don’t forget a slight- so why ? being British Bred- should I- Guy Fawkes

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark  |  November 3, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Hugs for you, Loraine.

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 3, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Thanks Mark – the Dr. asked me the other day are things any better ? I think he was shocked at my answer because although the weeks and months accumulate it is like yesterday for me and not just for me . I wondered as I was being pulled through those horrible days when it would get better ( like everyone said it would) and instead of having the luxury of living through them – I still live them – over and over and over again…. it is so hard just to maintain…..

  • 3. Rebecca Carney - One Woman's Perspective  |  November 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s not an easy walk.

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 3, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Thank Rebecca some days the walk has me crawling and as I told my Dr. sometimes it is only the anger that keeps me on my feet ..I am not sure he knows what to make of me sometimes 🙂

  • 5. Grammy  |  November 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    It’s so unfortunate that those that should be able to give you understanding and comfort, can’t. Whether it’s because they have not experienced the loss themselves personally, or they are so withdrawn professionally, who can tell. I’m glad you can find some comfort, that’s all I do for myself. As much as I try to dwell on the good, great, happy times, the end times keep coming back to haunt.

    Love and hugs,

  • 6. denise aka mozart  |  November 3, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    We all have a story….one way or another…no exemptions. Even those we think live the life of riley. NO ONE IS EXEMPT from the hardships of life. It touches us way or another. Sooner or later. I guess it is true…only the strong survive.

    I am sorry that your heart still bleeds….

  • 7. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 3, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Thanks Grammy and Denise- reading Rebecca’s blog ( who commented ) it has been 10 years for her and I can still see the rawness of her grief…..You are right Denise life touches everyone sooner or later and you would think there would be more compassion especially with those who profess to love………. I don’t understand most of what has happened or why I am just dealing ( and not very well) with the results……. but the family (Lombardi, Vyka and co ) that was brought into our lives( in the name of love) are full of nacisssm , self righteousnees and a coldness of control that disgusts me. I curse the day they were introduced to this family….

  • […] Just a one floor down from where I was sitting my heart broke – a journey began . […]

  • […] have written about my journey and in particular about my brain on grief : When Chris died that damp cold December day , the days […]

  • […] I can assure you all that Gavin’s temper/drama is not a learned behaviour it is in his genes- as neither parent has that particular personality quirk( no! and nor can they even begin understand it) – that part of Gavin definitely came down from me and my heredity . I understand Gavin’s temper – I know what will set him off before he does- just like I knew my son. (The journey) […]

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November 2011

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