Archive for April, 2022

April 3rd-No Limits – Chapter 27- Chris Ritchey



Chapter One :

Chapter Two:

Chapter Three:

Chapter Four:

Chapter Five:

Chapter Six:

Chapter Seven:

Chapter Eight:

Chapter Nine:

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Sixteen: May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Seventeen: June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Eighteen: July 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 18-Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Nineteen:

Chapter Twenty:

Chapter Twenty One:

Chapter Twenty Two :

Chapter Twenty Three:

Chapter Twenty Four:

Chapter Twenty  Five:

Chapter Twenty Six

The fog of remaining…….

I sit at this keyboard on a chilly spring day , trying to  be brave enough  to continue with  this story. I am not brave I  am jelly, everything about me is trying to  run from  these chapters , not to  relive the most excruciating  pain that,  for most, is not to be imagined.

Chris Ritchey—- FOG

The extreme emotions that flood through  body  and brain whilst waiting for my son to  pass from this existence  were  somehow blanketed and softened ,at the time, with  a fog of surreality all the while  begging for any  sign of hope.

I know now, after these years of “living  with the loss”,  that feeling – disoriented, confused, in a fog are responses that are the brain’s attempts to dissociate itself from emotional pain.

The brain is built to perceive an existential threat as a threat to our very existence. This triggers what most people know as the “fight or flight” response. Stress hormones course throughout the body. “Your heart starts racing, your blood pressure increases, your respiratory rate increases, you become sweaty, as the body marshals defenses for you to protect yourself, one way or another,”

I haven’t the words to  explain those last days , hours blended into  a few  minutes of conscious  thought and movement whilst trying   to  disappear into  another world of existing elsewhere……. anywhere…. besides that waiting room and those people.

Robotic responses , a feeling of being crushed, enveloped in some sort of claustrophobic existence, all the time wanting to  scream, run , and trying with all my  heart for a solution a way  to  save my  son.

People moved in and out of my  world that week, broken by  surfacing to  what was my  horrific reality . The only  time I  had any  peace was alone in the the ICU room 6 listening to  the breathing of the machine, holding his hand , singing softly  when I could the lullabies from when he was a baby . The nurses told me he could probably  hear me and I would look at his heart rate and when it slowed  from its “rushing pace”  I  knew he knew my  presence.

The times Nikki  was able to  come , his heart rate slowed and he relaxed….. Nurse Heather….. who  always held out hope  for me, from rolling a neck pillow for under his neck, because

“after being so long in one position when the patient woke and was off the ventilator   it would help   with  the stiffness”.

That small act and her caring of my  son as a person  not a lab rat gave a glimmer of peace.  Heather would add  eye drops to lubricate his eyes .  When Nikki  would enter the room and talk to  Chris and his body  relaxed she said,

Oh! I  wish  she could stay  all day, it is the only  time he doesn’t fight the ventilator .

For the next couple of days we drifted in and out of hope. It was about 1 in the morning, I would sit next to Chris all night, you  see I  had this phobia of sorts, that if I could let him know I was there and get him past  “three in the morning”  he would survive another day .

I know how that sounds but I had a morbid dread of that hour   I sat quietly holding his hand, watching  his stats on the monitor, listening to  every  breath. He  seemed to  be sleeping, but then he squeezed my  hand so  tightly  I was shocked, he hadn’t reacted to  my  holding his hand that way , I wasn’t sure what he needed.

hands – artwork Chris Ritchey

Thinking he was in pain I rang for the nurse, two  came in , one male nurse I hadn’t seen before and another who  I had only  seen once before.  , the male  checked the ventilator  and  the other spoke to  Chris. asking him if he was in pain

It was the last time I saw my  son respond , with a slight shake of his head. A few moments later  as I looked at the monitor his heart rate dropped from the 134  to  89,

I said:

his heart rate has  dropped  

They  ignored me, went on  checking fluids , Iv’s etc. Then went up  again  and then it fell  again  I  said:

his heart rate has dropped again 

the male nurse said

” that is what we want it to  do”

but then it went back up again. I could tell I  was being “dismissed”

Chris, seemed to settle back into  a rhythm and around 8 am  I went back to  the room to  try  and sleep ,  knowing we had come through  another night .

NOTE: Talking to physicians afterwards, I  was told that slowing of the heart rate was probably  due to  him  having a  stroke.  Also  the fact that he had pin prick holes in his lungs that were turning leather like  and the pressure of the vents forcing air  was of course  a reaction with  the lungs.

“The machine uses positive pressure to force air into your lungs. Think of standing in front of a leaf blower.” 

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We had sort of settled into  a rhythm ourselves, the Lombardi  Clan and I. I would take the night shift  or when no-one else could be there . I  suppose they  were avoiding me as much  as I  wanted to  avoid them. The Drs. made their rounds in the morning and that was when Angela would be there . I would wait for what she was told or what the nurses would tell me later.

My  physical being , as well as my  emotional  being was suffering . 10  days of barely  two  to three house of sleep   in 24  was taking its toll.  Sitting in the chair by  the bed , scared to  move, had made my  legs and ankles  swell so  badly  I would have  put bags of ice on my  feet to   put my  shoes on.

The type of hospital masks we were required to wear,  as they  were concerned about H1N1, rubbed the tender spot under my  nose. I wore them for so  many  hours I ended up  with  raw spots between my  nose and upper lip, as days went on it got worse. The nurses helped with  some ointment , but I believe stress wasn’t helping the situation.


When I  came down to  ICU again,  the morning after the heart beat drop,  all hell had broken loose. Nurse Heather coming out into  the corridor  , the Lombardi  Clan mingled, agitated gestures   and  outraged behavior  met me . I  couldn’t  fathom what was going on.

Nurse Heather,  walked through  them  -faced me took  my  hands in mine  looked me  straight in the eyes, tears filling hers and said

” I am so sorry”

I thought Chris must have passed  without me by  his side, but why  were the faces of the Lombardi  clan  so  animated with  annoyance?


Apparently, before I arrived to  the Neurological ICU where Chris had been admitted due to  lack of space in the Medical Unit, Sue Lombardi  had been making her rounds in the ICU again bothering nurses and going into  Chris’s room  and discussing his condition and asking questions as to   the current situation etc. etc.

Chris’s stats and heart rate would  climb when she was in the room and the Nurses on duty  informed Angela :

her mother was not helping him and interfering, bothering other nurses  and asking questions about other patients in the unit and could she not enter ICU alone anymore.

That  had set off the “Clan” and Angela ( Dr. in resident) insisted Chris be moved  from the Neurological Unit  to  the other floor and the Medical Unit. I had no  say  , to  be honest I  was still trying to  fathom what was going on.

Days previously,   a resident  came to  talk to  me from the Medical Unit- they  had room  for Chris , Angela had declined  and apparently  something had upset the resident. Later that night  a Doctor from the unit came in , asked me if I  was Chris mother. Yes. They  wanted “MY” permission to  bring Chris into  the unit .

I said:

if  his wife  said no  and well she is a resident  and knows more than I – I would have to  go along with  her decision. 

I am not sure what that was all about  but it seemed strange  that now all of a sudden the move she had fought initially  was happening because her mother was upset with  the nurses in the Neurological Unit – nothing was making any  sense.

I went into his room a nurse was there sticking pins in his foot and hand. She looked at my  face and said I  am sorry but he has had a stroke , his lung had also  collapsed .

I stood there incredulous, the fog overwhelming me again.  I was then told Angela and family  ( what the hell was I?) had NOW  requested Chris be moved to  the  Medical Unit.

They were getting ready  to  take him off the vent  in order to  transport him. I looked at the nurse and said :

isn’t that dangerous wouldn’t that put his body  through  more stress. 

She just looked at me  and gave a slight shrug and a smile I can only  describe as sympathetic.

The next thing, I was asked to  wait in the corridor . I did.  Chris was put into  an elevator . They  had to manually pump  the oxygen into  his lungs   as he went into  the elevator his heart rate was registering 169 .


but the Lombardi’s  had their way  ……..

Angela , Sue and Tim Lombardi

To Be continued…….








April 3, 2022 at 2:39 pm 4 comments



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April 2022