Posts filed under ‘death’

June 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 29- Chris Ritchey

NO LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty  Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/february-3rd-no-limits-chapter-25-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapter-26-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Seven https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapter-27-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/05/03/may-3rd-no-limits-chapter-28-chris-ritchey/

A losing of function

Note: I have been dreading this chapter all month. I have put it off, shoved the memories back into  their dwelling place.  As my  self- imposed deadline of the 3rd of the month loomed, I ran emotionally  from remembering. My   conscious thought  telling me

“don’t go  there ” , you  can’t go  back to  that time, your well being is at stake. You  survived that day  because it was so  surreal and you  were protected  by   “unbelievability” as to  what was actually  happening. You were tired, emotionally  exhausted things happening were cushioned with  incredibility , the  -this is not happening syndrome.

Days passed  and the closer the 3rd of June  came  the more I ran from this writing.  I couldn’t bring myself to  do  this , but the nights were different perspective altogether, I  lay awake for hours, although  exhausted , I would watch  the moon in its phases  lighting the bedroom  causing   the tree to outside cast its  dancing shadows on the wall.

Everything in me has fought this moment, but here it is June the 2nd, 2022 and I am remembering the most painful day  of my  life and “my death” as well. You  see, and I  know those of you that have lost a son or daughter  know the very  moment that happens , you  lose who  you  are too. You  are not the same and you  never will be ………

For days I  sat by  your  side , those last three days being in the new Medical ICU unit were dreadful. Not only  did the nurses and doctors not know who  I  was, and I  was too tired to  explain, I  was falling apart emotionally  and physically. Weeks of wearing the paper medical masks ( since they  insisted you  had H1N1), because that is what Angela had told them in ER and of course why  question  the “doctor in waiting”.

The mask, the dryness of the room and the stress had caused the skin under my  nose to  blister and scab. I, apparently,  was somewhat allergic to  those particular masks. One lovely  nurse gave me ointment to  help.  There was no ointment for my  swollen, to  nearly  three time their regular size, my  legs.  In this unit , there was not  comfortable arm chair. This unit obviously  did not want visitors so  the only  chair was a metal folding chair.  Sitting on the cold hard metal , not moving holding his hand, only  getting up  to  put a cool facecloth  on his burning brow.  I was reminded every time I  did so   by  the marks left on your scalp  as they  had pulled off the  brain wave electrodes, the  skin was sore and red  and the hair gone  and slight bleeding.  Someone obviously  had no  thought for my  son as they  pulled those off, but he was dying anyway! I  noticed a lot of that sort of attitude in that unit, so  different from the previous ICU.

Photo source http://www.neurowavesystems.com/

And so  it was the night of December 2nd. I  had gone , as usual walked to  the unit with  my  husband about 10 pm. The Lombardi  clan hovering  in the corridors  talking tacos. I  had no  wish  to  see.

Nikki  was exhausted ,  having to breastfeed the baby  and dealing with  everything. Jim had brought the baby  up  to  the hotel. Nikki  hadn’t any  pajamas and had purchased a pair at the gift shop. Unlike my  lime green creation I  had purchased, the one pair  she had to  buy  was  two  piece pink, chocolate and white striped . I  remember thinking they  reminded me of Neapolitan ice cream.

I was surprised , as we headed to  the unit to  see two  of Chris’ high school friends. What were they  doing there????? , Apparently,  Angela  had been sending out texts

if they  wanted to  see Chris before he died they  should come” 

I cannot honestly  remember what I  said to  them , but I  don’t think  I  was very  pleasant. However, it  explained why  Chris’ nurse was flustered as we walked into  our son’s room

“You  know  there are visiting hours we can’t have all you  people coming in and out all night long”

I explained  who  I  was and why  I  would be sitting there all night , at least until rounds in the morning. If they  needed me to  move I  would but I  would not be leaving my  son. She explained that during her shift people had been in and out. I  told her :

she would have to  take that up  with  his wife because I certainly  was against anyone coming into  see him in this condition. He would have hated it. 

My  husband went back to  the  hotel room . I  continued to  sit in that glass bubble of a world, a young woman ( presumably  a Doctor) would look through  the glass at the monitors. I hoped Chris could hear me I  hummed the lullabies of his childhood, talked softly   as to  how much  we loved him, that Nikki  and Jim were there., anything to  try to  give him comfort, trapped as he was, encased in machines.

My inner thoughts , I did not say  outloud , I spoke them silently

” Please Chris you  have to  turn a corner soon , I just don’t know how much  longer I  can hold up, please Chris

Nurse Nicole , it was her first week in that particular ICU came in to  say  they  would be bathing him  and I  could stay  and help  if I  wished. I told her

No!  he would hate me to  be there for that and I  would go  and get something to  drink and come back.

After  a while I  went back into  the ICU , I asked whether they  had been continuing the eye drops as  his eyes were partially  open and I had been told it could cause issues if they  weren’t moisturized regulary  after he came off the vent.

She went away  to  get  an OK and came back, I said did she notice the urine bag had blood in it. No!  that wasn’t like that before, I  will check let me put the drops in.   It was 3 am  and she looked at me and said

“his pupils are fixed and dilated “

Fixed and moderately dilated pupils are seen in brain death because of the loss of both sympathetic and parasympathetic influences.

She then left to  call for the  head of the unit.  All hell broke loose as a male  Doctor , whomever he was , and the nurses  as they  came to  our room, the man in the next room decided to  have an episode  and apparently  passed.  I  waited  and then the nurse said the Doctor had ordered a scan. I called Angela and told her what the nurse had said and waited.

It was 5 am by  this time , Angela appeared at the desk with  the Doctor,  who  had glanced into  the room at that stats at least twice during the night . She and Angela chatted as if I  didn’t exist .

Angela asked what was the prognosis?

OH ! this is the first night he had held his own

– Angela

Cool Beans! we now have to feed my boy

Dr. We have to do something about a bowel movement first

As I stood there like some peripheral groupie I mentioned the scan and that

“the ICU nurse was very concerned as his pupils were fixed and dilated and had called the Neurologist for a scan”


The Elephant Run-by Chris Ritchey

Two faces and pairs of eyes ” in the know medical (Drs.?) turned and looked at me like I was some sort of “ignorant irritant”

That young woman. presumably  a Doctor,   – I don’t remember her name just her face- I had seen it through the early morning hours looking at the monitors through the glass – never once coming into the room – said:

Oh I am not worried he is on a boat load of medication

Giggles from the “Dr. to be Ritchey ( Angela)

Oh! he is on enough medication to fill up an elephant heehehehehee!

I had such  a bad feeling  but I  had to  sleep, I  left them chatting and went back to  the room . I went to  the chaise lounge by  the window where I  could see his room across the way. I fell instantly  into  a desperate sleep only  to   be woken by Nikki-

Mum you have to go back

– I said

Nikki I can’t- I can’t even stand

and she said

Mum, you have to something is wrong- I will come down as soon as Jim gets here to take Gavin

I rushed through the hallways- to this day I have no idea what clothes I had on…. I found my son’s room empty  of the usual “clan”– no one was with him I went in- a new nurse said

You are wanted in the conference room for a family  meeting

-I said

my husband is there I am not leaving my son alone I promised him-

Nurse

YOU HAVE TO GO!

I looked at this officious nurse and said

“I DON’T “HAVE” TO GO ANYWHERE OR DO ANYTHING I AM NOT LEAVING MY SON ALONE!

It was then Nikki arrived – still in  the Neapolitan pajamas purchased from the hospital gift shop- like some bizarre clown outfit. I remember thinking Chris would find it funny.

She said:

Mum you go I will stay with Chris I promise

The meeting that day was about taking Chris off the vent they the hospital and they  needed me there as they  

“didn’t want any trouble”

They needed my permission as well as his wifes- I had the night before made sure that the staff were now aware that Nikki and I were also on his paperwork.

The Doctor, who  chatted about bowel movement and holding his own  just 2 hours previously   was now saying his brainstem ( after looking at the scans) had collapsed and he was effectively  brain dead.

Brainstem death is a clinical syndrome defined by the absence of reflexes with pathways through the brainstem – the “stalk” of the brain, which connects the spinal cord to the mid-braincerebellum and cerebral hemispheres – in a deeply comatose, ventilator-dependent patient. Identification of this state carries a very grave prognosis for survival; cessation of heartbeat often occurs within a few days, although it may continue for weeks if intensive support is maintained.

The Dr. explained what would happen and our options and what each option would mean when they did this-one option being surgery  to  release the pressure on the brain.  What ever they  did they were going to have to wait until one of the medications which  paralyzed him  wore off so it would be a little while.

NOTE: I  cannot write anymore as the dying time took all day and horrors of heartbreak and ignorance continued to pummel me and my  family.  There was no  kindness in this dying … I will have to  continue on the next 3rd

to  be continued……..

June 3, 2022 at 11:17 am 3 comments

May 3rd – NO LIMITS-Chapter 28- Chris Ritchey

 

 

NO LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty  Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/february-3rd-no-limits-chapter-25-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapter-26-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Seven https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapter-27-chris-ritchey/

THE DYING TIME

 NOTE: You would think , after all these years, I  would have built up some immunity  to the  rawness emotions of what happened in those last few hours and days  .

You  would be wrong it is  yesterday in my  world.  I find, as I  writing, I am sucking in breaths, gasping for air,   eyes fill with tears and my  heart races.  I can only  brave the act of  reliving in short stages.  I have to  stop, walk away  and come back for a few minutes.

I don’t know how to write these memories of those hours. Will I even be able to put my pain on a page, relieve it in entirety   or become clinical and write just the medical journey  with  the inclusion of the Lombardi’s contribution to  my  end of days as a mother of my  son?

I suppose I will find out along with  the reader.

 

As he was moved to  the new Medical ICU room with  new staff and strangers, I shivered the room was the corner room looking out toward the hotel where I had been staying. I could see his room from my hotel room, the light softly  glowing in the early  morning morning hours.  I had called my  daughter and son-in law. My  husband went to  meet them in the lobby  to  show Nikki  where to  come whilst Jim took Baby  Gavin to  the room to  wait.

I must have looked very strange as I waited ,away  from the “Clan of Lombardis” by  myself in the waiting room,  as a young man in scrubs came up  to  me put his arm around me and started explaining something about

“blood gases elevated C02 levels ” .. hypercapnia… How Chris gases were compromised  by  the move. “

I had absolutely  not a clue as to  what he was saying , It was though  I  was deaf and trying to  read his lips.

Who was he? What was he doing in my  world ?

At that moment my  daughter burst into the waiting room ran toward me , as she did so  she apparently  overheard the one sided conversation and as   I  said I  must have looked dreadful.

The next thing she “melted “on the floor, collapsing to her knees, just folded up at she reached out to me and I  reached forward to  her. The young man caught us both somehow and said :

“please,  it is alright no-one ever died from Co2 levels, we will get the  levels corrected. I will take care of him!

The rest is a blur, since no-one in  the family  could  stay  in Chris  room that night, and I  was panicked

“How was I  going to  get him through  that 3 in morning time slot , I  so  dreaded.

The flawed Hand of the Healer by Chris Ritchey

We went back to  the hotel room to wait.  There was a chaise lounge ,  I  laid on it looking out across the way  to  Chris room and pulsating light as , I  assume, people would come and go  doing what they  were supposed to  do,  injecting him with  insulin, Heparin  and too many  drugs  I  couldn’t pronounce.

Nikki  took the baby  and laid on the bed, Jim grabbed a pillow and blanket and slept fitfully  on the floor. Actually  I have  not a clue where my  husband slept or even if he did, I  am presume in  one of the arm chairs.

I waited until morning, I had decided

this was enough  no more were the Lombardis and their clan  going to make the decisions, I was done with  them and his bride.

I showered , got dressed and for the first time put on some make-up.  My  husband had already  beaten me to  it and had checked on Chris   and called from the the floor to  tell me

Chris stats had improved.

I went to the unit, didn’t check in with the  reception station to  get permission    , no-one  was going to  stop  me that morning!

I knew Angela would be in there  for the Doctors rounds and that morning  I was going to  be part of the discussion.  Unfortunately , Angela and the Doctors were already  meeting behind the “glass wall”. I saw a familiar face, it was Dr. R.A of the  Thanksgiving Day  ” dying discussion”.  She recognized me too, asked how I  was.

I  said:

a little better  as I  had been told Chris’ levels and stats were improving

Dr. R. A looked annoyed

WHO told you that? It is definitely  NOT  what is happening his organs are shutting down , he has had a series of “episodes” and it isn’t good , as I  told you  last week”

Why  haven’t I  been told? Why  has this been kept from his family?

We tell his wife everything ( Dr. Ritchey) she has been given the complete information, it is up  to  her to  inform the rest of you 

And at that statement what was left of me, the person I always was came to  the fore.  I felt a strength in my  voice I  hadn’t had for weeks

” Well obviously there has been some sort of breakdown in the  information given to  us or apparently  NOT  given to  us by  his  wife and her family.

You, and the hospital and this unit had better check my  son’s paperwork because it is written and signed by  him ( of which  I  have a copy  at home.) that his sister and I  are named  in his Living Will , signed at South  Pointe Hospital and we both are on that form ( notarized) as to  any  medical  decisions and information is to be given to  us directly!

Oh, she said, I will make sure the staff and unit are informed 

With  that she walked away  and I  still shaking with  fear for my  son and with anger  left the unit to  tell MY  family .

Later on , after I  had gathered myself together , I went back down to  the unit , again by  passing the harridan at the reception desk  and

there it was my nightmare of  13 months previously  ……playing out in front of me….  MY PREMONITION  come to  pass!!!!

E. Munch- 1895

No LIMITS – Chapter 4- Chris Ritchey

I awoke in the early morning hours of that first night after chemo, shaking, gasping for breath. I had a dream; it was so real.

I was in a room, in the middle of the room was an open casket in which lay my son and around this casket was Angela, her mother and father and strange people . I was drenched in sweat and tears, the realization it was a nightmare slowly came to the front of my mind.

It wasn’t  a casket it was a hospital bed , but the way  they  had him laid out it might as well have been .

I still to this day don’t know who they all were- strangers to  me !  And that was something that would have caused my son such anguish- after all  he could no longer speak , they  would never have dared to  put him in that situation had he been able to  communicate. 

Angela and her mother sat holding court and allowed  and embraced 8-9 people to  hold a dying time….  ” death clutterers to ogle and text  on their phones  around his dying body” .

It was to  me , it was disgraceful behavior and totally lacking respect and love on Angela’s part. I never wanted to  see their faces ever again!  I was sickened at the sight. I went to  the foot of his bed and slowly  pulled a sheet up over his lower limbs, covering the bags and bodily  fluids draining from him.

Chris would have  hated  what was happening, being on show. He thought  thought the  graveside antics of the “Lombardi , Vyka , Gonzales, Gott or Zaworski at a  young nephews graveside on that previous  Christmas morning  was despicable and told Angela at the time, when she came to  pick him up  for the “event”

  “That is sick, no I  am not going , I won’t be involved in that ! What are you  thinking?”

I  can only  imagine what he would have thought of what I  was seeing  as he lay  unable to throw them out, because he would have.

I hoped the induced coma meant he knew nothing of it. I wanted to grab them by  the neck and throw them out on their ear myself. But I  couldn’t  for the sake of my  son.

My  face once again must have communicated  what my  thoughts were  for Angela rose from her seat and said to  the tribe

” I  think we had better go………

to  be continued

 

 

May 3, 2022 at 10:31 am 3 comments

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

NO LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty  Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/february-3rd-no-limits-chapter-25-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapter-26-chris-ritchey/

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,” https://www.heart.org/en/news/2021/03/10/how-grief-rewires-the-brain-and-can-affect-health-and-what-to-do-about-it?msclkid=779cd4c4b1d211ec9c8f2a31ff281e84

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.” 

Read More: https://www.thelist.com/621631/whats-the-difference-between-being-intubated-vs-on-a-ventilator/

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

February 3rd- NO LIMITS- Chapter 25-Chris Ritchey

NO LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

The Circus from Hell

The next morning ,after the fiasco of   the Lombardi’s clever ideas as to  how to  get a young man who  couldn’t breathe or walk  more than two  feet without aid  and my  outrage as to  what they  were planning, Angela came in from her shift at the hospital.

Angela ritchey DO photo Chris Ritchey

I  found out later she wasn’t scheduled for that shift but asked to  change. I never did find out why . Chris , was not doing well and it was decided to  tell Chris he was going to  have to  go  back into  the Clinic.  He didn’t take it well a plastic water bottle flew across the room and hit the wall. I was pleased , believe it or not, it showed he still had strength  and fight left in him.

Then it began, the rescue squad having to  get him down the apartment stairs , Angela riding in the ambulance, me following the ambulance as I  had no  clue where I  was going.  Nine hours in the ER as there was no  room in the Medical ICU. Phone calls back and forth. Angela telling the attending physician he had been diagnosed with  H1NI. I  was perplexed this was the first I  heard of it .  I kept thinking

that isn’t right why  is she saying that , was I  being kept in the dark again? I believed that damned flu shot was causing issues. If he had HINI why  were they trying to  send him back  to  Houston, none of this was making sense..

well not then anyway.

Clowns – artwork Chris Ritchey

Chris was finally  sent to  the Neurological ICU as there was no  room in the Medical ICU.

And we waited , Sue and Tim arrived and my  husband  and the days turned into  one long nightmare.  Chris was admitted on the Saturday  before Thanksgiving .  I would fall asleep  in the chair . I  promised Chris he would never be alone and at first it worked reasonably  well I would trade off with  Angela during the day  but the nurses let me stay  in the room in a chair at night.

Then since they  couldn’t figure out what was going on it was decided he must have H1N1. This meant  we were fully  masked and gowned when we went into  his room. I watched my  son’s every  movement, every  heart beat , every  drop or rise in oxygen levels.

I sat there hour after hour trying to  find away  to  give him strength , doing the deals with  whomever ran the universe, all the time remembering my  premonitions and fighting them back down into  my  sub conscience.

Finally  exhaustion got the better of me, I  could no  longer see straight or sit in that waiting room . Nikki  arranged to  get me a room at the Intercontinental Hotel attached to  the Clinic so  I  could walk back and forth.   I had some clothes with  me from the Friday  but they  were in the trunk  of my  car and I  hadn’t a clue where it was.  My  mum had packed a small carrier bag with change of underwear and blouse and sweater sending it up  with  my  husband.

I needed a few things  so  I  bought a pair of pajamas in the Clinic Gift shop. The only  ones in my  size were bright   lime green, terribly  unflattering but then again no-one would be seeing me in in them, a toothbrush, deodorant etc. I  made my  way  to  the lobby  of the hotel  through  the hospital  feeling terribly  afraid and alone. There was some funny  looks when my  only  luggage was an Aldi’s carrier bag.  Still the credit card was good.

I went to  the room, had a shower put on my  lime green pj’s and called room service.  Well of course I  had no  robe and hadn’t thought , the waiter brought in the food on a trolley , whatever he thought of the vision in green he saw before him  he didn’t show a change in face as this little fat woman in lime green pj’s ( that were a little tight) and red hair signed the  chit.

 

I ate my  first decent meal in days and fell into  the bed and passed out.  I slept till the evening and  was going back through  the corridors to  the hospital when I saw two  nurses helping a woman walk .  I realized from the conversation as I  went passed  she was Carla Nash , the lady  who  had been attacked by  a  chimpanzee and was at the clinic  after having a face transplant. I thought they  seem to  be able to  work miracles , will there be one for my  son and a little hope crept back into  my  being. I  saw the trio on more than one occasion  and my  heart went out to  her.

There were other stories during those hours and days as we waited and hoped.

An elderly  man,  some thing of a musician  from what I  gathered from a conversation in the waiting room of hell ,   was dying in the next room. His wife sat by  his bed all day. Later that evening Chris’s nurse asked if it would bother us if his daughter, who  was in one of the symphony  orchestras.  could play  for her father.

As I  sat there masked and gowned and closed off in our glassed in room, the faint sound of a violin  drifted through  the air . It was so surreal , this beautiful piece of music like some heavenly  message easing her fathers passing and reminding me how much  love and pain was happening on the other side of the wall , but beautiful at the same time . The music stopped and so  apparently  had the life of one more human being and their story.

 

 

 

There were of course other stories

The mum who  had been brought in with  a brain aneurism , her family  gathered in the the small ICU waiting room, the tears, the worry , the hope. I don’t know what happened to  her . Others whose lives  crashed into  ours  in that room and then left some in tears and some transferred out of ICU with  smiles. .

After three  days  of no  sleep and actually  pretty  much  on my  own  as far as my  family  I was ready  to  drop .

Once the diagnosis of H1N1 was decided upon  Nikki  and the new baby  couldn’t be put at risk, my  mum  90 , couldn’t take a chance  with  her  and my  husband could only  come for an hour or so. He hated hospitals, Chris knew that  and we knew if he was there holding vigil with me  Chris would KNOW how much  danger he was in , so it had to be…

” Oh  Dad is coming in for a visit”  

There I  was alone in that waiting room from hell. The Lombardis, as Sue stated “will  circle around Angela” , I  definitely  was excluded from that circle. And they  did  numbers of them all chatting and laughing and living. It was so  hard .

Do  you  pray  Loraine? You  aren’t Catholic are you , what plans are you  making ? Do  you  like Tacos? 

However, when Sue was present  it was doubly  hard, she used to  do  and say  the most inane things and it took everything I  had to  keep  my  mouth  shut.

One particular day I got summoned by the nurse in ICU.

Is Chris’s mother in law  attached to  a medical practice? 

No  , why  would you  ask that ?

You  will have to  talk to  your daughter in law , please.  We know SHE is a resident and the nurses don’t want to  make a big deal, but her mother is making a nuisance of herself, going to  talk to  the nurses and looking it at the other patients and giving advice. 

Also,   your daughter in law’s friend has come in and changed the setting  the oxygen machine ( she was also  a resident) and we have had to  reset it, that can’t happen. 

That day I  had to  mention to  one of the sisters that

“Sue was  being Sue and causing concern in the ICU and could someone please tell her not to  continue in that vein”

THAT  did not go  down very  well. They  shot the messenger! Talk went to  a minimum but actually  that was a blessing in disguise.

Even the Clinic security made the “Mother of my Hell “ prove she wasn’t a homeless person camping out in the waiting room with sleeping bags , pillows and food . Why  they  didn’t get themselves a room if they were going to  continue to  “circle Angela” I broached the subject: ,

Sue said Oh no!  far too  expensive!!!!!!”

Well there is plenty  in the account from the fundraiser   isn’t there  at least 35 thousand, you  could use that , after all that is why we had that fundraiser . Oh and by  the way  can I  have the list of donors for Thank Yous. I  have Nikkis list and mine but I know there were so  many  others!

I couldn’t credit her answer  and I  was perplexed :

Sue Lombardi –
“We don’t want people to know the full amount – we aren’t publicizing that. I have opened a safe deposit box for the cash – Angela has access” How do you  know the amounts ?

Obviously  Chris  told me , why  wouldn’t he? He was very  grateful to  everyone that donated. 

 

I said to Chris after one particularly stressful evening

Oh ! Chris you owe me lunch for this, being in that holding area with  them.

 

( having to put up with them and trying to keep my mouth shut – not an easy thing for me, . We certainly  had nothing in common except what I  supposed was the love of our children.  and Chris knew how hard it was 🙂 )

and a lobster lunch at that.

 

He smiled and moved his oxygen mask and said :

” keep them out of here and I will buy you dinner too !”

Most days and nights bled into  one another . I  had no  clue as to  the time of day  of day  of the week. I  would surface for a bit  and memory  comes in fragments of those days of crisis. It is only  as I  write  some flash  of a forgotten memory  of those days in no  particular sequence  come back. ……. and my  gut tightens , a sick feeling comes into  my  soul, an ache for my  child overwhelms me once more .

 

To  be continued……..

February 3, 2022 at 2:29 am 3 comments

Dec 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapt 23- Chris Ritchey

NO  LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

OHIO

I was emotionally  exhausted after the flight home from Houston  although, I  was  thrilled the news was good but  terrified at what I  was seeing with  my own eyes as to  how Chris “looked”.  to  these mother’s eyes.

The “plan” was Chris and Angela would drive  back stopping at various sights  along the way and  be back for a few days in Ohio  and then the  return drive to  Houston for ongoing treatment.

I drew Angela aside  and  begged Angela:

‘Please , please leave the truck here and fly  back  here, the Doctor at MD Anderson didn’t think  it wise for Chris to  do  that journey, can’t you  talk with  him he will listen to  you if YOU say you  want to  fly  back! 

Angela’s  quiet reply:  because Angela never spoke loudly

 

Chris, will be just fine driving back to Ohio.” We will take it easy

photo Angela by Chris Ritchey

It was going to  be a lot of driving  but I  hoped that once Chris was home  home Nikki  and I  could persuade Chris to  fly  back and we would rent him a vehicle.

He was taking so  many  drugs, not eating and to  counter the effects  I found he was taking  exlax  like candy.  It was just 36 hours later after I  left Houston I  received a call from Angela saying they  were stopping for the night  in  Jackson Mississippi

It was later the next day  I  received another call, she had had to  take  Chris to  the local ER for fluids, he had collapsed! The Doctors there   wanted to  admit him but they  declined saying they  wanted to  get back to  the Clinic.  I said

“Angela you  can’t  continue driving if he is that ill, book a flight, you  have the money  from the fundraiser that will will cover that cost , can you  drive  the truck to  the airport  and park it? I will have  his dad and uncle fly  down and drive the truck back, that will put Chris’ mind at rest re the truck  .

 

 Angela “What about the keys we can’t leave them , can you  pick up  the spare set  from my  mother at the bank?

I said I  would .

Arrangements were made . I  went that afternoon to  the bank where Sue Lombardi  worked to  pick up  the keys.  She walked acrosse the lobby   with  a silly  grin on her face

“Tim and I  will pick up  Chris and Angela and take them back to  their apartment “

I was fuming underneath  knowing  I  should have pushed more to  stop  that drive back.  I was barely  able to  speak more than two  or three words incase  I said something that couldn’t be taken back.

Her daughter the Doctor,   had she no  common sense?  Side  trips  to  Memphsis indeed when her husband  was downing pain pills for which she was getting the prescriptions . She had to  see how his driving  was terrible and anger flare ups in traffice in Texas. More than once   seeing his “road rage” I  would remind him

Chris, these guys have guns on their trucks  and you  calling them  “dick head” and driving like you  are  , you  are going to  get me shot…

I dropped off my  husband and brother in law at the airport , drove home  and waited .

Finally  Chris called me from the Lombardi’s car and said they  had been picked up  and would call me  the next day.

He did call me the next day  but not from the apartment , he was back in hospital at South Pointe, where Angela was a resident and getting those prescriptions filled  that  I was worried about. 

It was  an I  am OK mum and getting fluids  sort of call. I  told him his truck was nearly  back in Ohio  , his dad and uncle   had driven straight through and they   would leave his truck at  it at Nikkis,as it was safer there will all the items they  had had to  leave.

I was surprised a half an hour later when Chris called back, the inlaws  and Angela had left  and he said  he was alone and wanted to  talk to  me .

“Mum, I am appreciative of everything you did in Texas

 

I said:

I know that Chris you don’t have to thank me

 

He continued :

But I was so mean to you

referring to  the altercation we had  when Angela had lied to  him  and  he thought Nikki  and I  were excluding her .

SEE Chapter 17 of No  Limits 

I responded :

Chris I am your mother , you are allowed to be mean to me , I understand what you are going through , the lack of control over your own life , the anger – it is OK I love you !

 

He said :

You were right I should have stayed in Houston, I shouldn’t have come back to the apartment….. there are so many bad memories – I should’ve stayed in Houston  and I love you mum I should’ve listened

 

I said

Chris, it is no good dwelling in   hindsight….. we will get through this I will see you Friday . I love you

As always he said

I love you too”

I hung up  and burst into  tears…..

I can still hear his voice in my  head , I can  bring those words  to  the fore of my  memory  as if he were speaking them to  me in the present time and day.

That is probably  because  it was the last time  I ever heard him say  those words out loud…… a mother  clings to  every  bit of her child and his life and voice that she can.

 

Note as I  sit  and type this day  of December 3rd 2021-  it is the anniversary  of his passing and so  I am defeated I have to  leave the keyboard and the desk and release  the pain and heartache.. I can write no  more today  the emotional incontinence  that overwhelms on this day cripples  and crushes my  very  core.  … until the next chapter……. and Chris I still love you  with  all my  being……

 

December 3, 2021 at 2:14 pm 5 comments

Nov 3rd-No LIMITS-Chapter 22-Chris Ritchey

Author’s Note.. It wasn’t planned this way  but as I  reach  the 1st ending of this documentation of my  son before he passed . the  times of publication these chapters   are coinciding with times of his  ending.  I have said before this is  absolutely  crushing and painful to  write as I  have to  relive those moments and memories.  but to  get to  the “after” I  have to  document the “before” . As I  get closer to ” loss of all hope  memories ” I  have to  step  away  for hours  and sometimes days  as it is gutting to  go  through  again  and   a drain  on my  physical and mental being.. 

NO  LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Houston Nights and days – a blur

The days after the fundraiser back in Ohio  were tinged with  gratitude to  those who  were so  generous  and writing thank you’s to  those I  knew had donated.  Chris and I  duly  went about the routine of tests , bloodwork and infusion.  One such  visit brought out the Physicans Assistant , she was concerned that Chris was scheduled for the HINI flu shot.   I hadn’t realized that Angela had set that up   via Cleveland. Chris had never had a  flu shot  of any kind and I was unsure of his reaction to  it. Apparently  the PA was concerned as well, but Chris said :

“My  wife has arranged it so  I will take it”

I  sat without saying a word in a fake leather  vomit coloured chair holding my  breath. I was being pummeled with  thoughts

” don’t let him get this shot , it is not a good thing , something will happen”

all the while arguing  with  myself .

“If you  say  something and he doesn’t get the shot and he gets HINI with  his system so  compromised  then you , who  are not medically  qualified in anyway,  you  could cause him worse issues” 

So  I  said nothing , how I  wish  I  had had the guts  to  tell him no!   Hindsight is 20/20

Chris was always so  tired after the infusion which  he also  had that day .  We came home he ate a little, went to  the bedroom , called Angela  and  then  filled the hot water bottles , took pills and slept.

I  heard him during the night running the hot baths  that almost scalded his skin to  ease the pain  he was in.  I lay  awake  wishing there was more I  could do.

He finally  slept and in the morning I went into  the  bathroom to  collect the wet towels  to  wash  and on the floor were soaking wet T’ shirts. I  flashed back  to  when he was first diagnosed with  Hodgkin’s and the  “night sweats” that soaked his T shirts, pillows and bedding . Something was  wrong , so  very  wrong  and it was  so  sudden.

I wanted Chris to  call the Dr. but he wouldn’t as he was scared they  would take him off the trial . I  wondered  could it be a reaction to the H1N1 shot, it came on so  quickly . The next couple of days saw him getting worse. The lethargy  the pain, not wanting to  eat and running a temperature.

 

Angela (Lomabrdi) ritchey ( Murphy)  ( red) by Chris Ritchey

I  had  already  booked Angela a flight for Nov 3rd  as Chris was meeting with  the “team” to  see how the SGN 35 was working for him on November 5th.

I  was so  worried  and out of my  depth , I called Angela and said Chris is not looking at all well and I  am very  worried , barely  eating  and he won’t go  to  the Doctor or call.  Angela rebooked her flight and came down the day before Hallowe’en.

Chris was naturally  pleased to  see her. She never mentioned to  me if she thought he looked worse but in those few days I  noticed it so  she had to have noticed not seeing him for a couple of weeks .  His eyes seemed sore and red rimmed  , his skin  a strange pallor  tinged with  grey. .

Hallowe’en, we were invited to  JD’s and Karen’s for supper and to  hand out candy. Chris laughed and joined in the conversation, Angela would jump  up  and hand out the candy  and whilst everyone’s focus was on the kids and costumes I would watch  as Chris quietly  would reach  into  his top shirt pocket and pop  another pill. I knew my  son’s strength  but I  also  knew he was dealing with  a lot of pain . Angela had brought down some more medication from Cleveland and I  worried  about the amount and “what”  Chris was taking but once again I  said nothing.

Chris barely  ate in the next few days. He took Angela and I  to  the British  shop  ( he had his truck in Houston now). She and I  went in to  buy  Christening gifts for Gavin , Nikki’s new little baby  . Chris couldn’t get out of the truck, said he  just didn’t want to  shop , although  previously  when he had taken me he loved going in there . Again, I  worried.

On November  4th, the night before meeting with  the team of SGN 35  we went back  to  the “Black Labrador Pub” to  meet JD and Karen  . Chris had wanted to  thank them for all their hospitality  and friendship  whilst we had been in Texas. He loved the Ranch   and lost himself in normalcy  on those excursions to  that ranch.

He told me that when he was well he was going to  buy  some land and get Gavin a horse ...

Chris nibbled at a salad , not at all like him and JD chastised me because  Chris and Angela were going to  drive back to  Cleveland stopping on the way,  if the news was good.  How my  son who  was having a hard time  driving  30  minutes to  the Black Labrador Pub , how the hell was he going to  drive 1,300 miles to  Cleveland. JD, said

He will be fine “let go  of the apron strings  mom” … 

November 5th :

We waited in a little office, Chris once again behind his sunglasses , Angela went to  the restroom  I  sat once again near the door  scared to  breather. The Physician’s Assistant came in , and if  there is one thing I  know it is body  language and  she was happy. The Doctors came in and gave the good news … the SGN 35 was working  all was good.

I  breathed for the first time in  days. And then the tag line  ” the only thing was there was a slight “crackling” of the bottom half of the lungs  that they  were concerned about . Angela spoke up  Oh  she would have the Dr. at the Clinic check  it out, he had had the flu shot . That seemed to  satisfy  them  and they  gave Chris a strength test  and Ok’d him for another infusion before he left for Cleveland.

The first thing Chris did was to  phone JD, whilst I  called Nikki , who  was sick with  worry  and told her the results were good. But she said

can’t he leave the truck there with  JD and Karen  and fly home

No   Angela wanted  to  go  to  Nashville  and  make a vacation of it going home. They  had to  be back  in 10 days . I  flew home that afternoon  .

 

 

To be continued…………….

 

 

November 3, 2021 at 6:17 pm 1 comment

August 3rd- NO LIMITS- Chapter 19- Chris Ritchey

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to  Houston:

The family  all gathered back  at Nikki’s on October 3rd. Jim and Chris were leaving early in the morning on the 4th. Misty, Chris’s dog who  now lived with  us, due to  the situation we all found ourselves dealing with , came along to  Nikki’s to  see her master. She was a loopy  dog  and reminded me of Dino  of the Flintstones . However,  with  Chris she was all business, a totally  different animal , obeyed him and loved him. To  see her reaction when she saw Chris that day brought tears- I dare not shed -to  my  eyes . Chris and his dad and Misty  , who wouldn’t leave his side,  walked into  the woods behind Nikki’s. I didn’t follow,  my  husband hadn’t had many  alone times with  Chris in the preceding months , I  instinctively  felt  I should not follow.

We were loathe to  leave that day. Somehow my  gut told me this was the last time we would all be together . Photos were taken, laughter  was tried. Gavin, his nephew, was now  nearly  8 months old , Chris had missed those early   months and I so hoped he would be there as Gavin grew. He wanted to  be a great uncle to  Gavin  take him four wheeling and after  riding the horses in Texas decided he would buy  some land and get Gavin a horse, or at least a pony. I  wanted that to  happen with  everything that was in me.  Chris , bought Gavin a Texas  belt buckle, it was almost as big as him.

Jim and Chris  were on the road from Cleveland to  Houston  stopping every  so  often to  take in those sights that Chris wanted to  see. They  also  arranged to  go  wild boar hunting on the way  and stop off at a couple of shooting ranges.

 

Although  they  tried to  have a normal “man-cation” Jim told me when they  arrived back in Houston how worried he was.  Chris, was in a lot of pain and was popping pills the whole journey. Jim wasn’t sure what they  were but that I  should try  and see if I could take a look at the medication bottles.

I had arrived back in  Houston on the Saturday  morning. I had just arrived when the phone rang and it was JD’s secretary. JD had once again  been there for this family. His secretary  made arrangements with  me to  pick me up, go  to lunch  and pick up  staples I  would need until Jim and Chris arrived back on the Monday.  Bless her heart , we went to  an English  pub-like restaurant. The Black Labrador Pub.

The food was delicious and I was at my  ease . We then went to  a British  shop also  in Houston where I  carted off “English sausages, tea bags, favorite  biscuits, ( cookies) and snacks  a quick stop  to  a convenient store for bread and milk etc. I  was set for the next couple of days until Jim and Chris arrived. Thinking about it I am not sure what I  would have done for temporary  supplies over that weekend…. called for Pizza  I suppose.

I had just put the groceries away  when Jim called they  would be arriving at the apartment in a couple of hours. They  decided to  cut the “man-cation”  short.  After they  arrived and Chris was showering , Jim told me Chris was not doing well the drive had really  taken it out of him, the pills, and he could see Chris , although  he didn’t say  anything, was in pain.   They  had a supper of omelets and English sausages that evening , I know Jim “suffered” the sausages, as they  are somewhat bland  compared to  American sausages.  Chris, I  don’t think cared what he was eating. He just wanted to  sleep  so Jim and I went to  do  a grocery  shop. Chris looked awful , dark circles under his eyes, the trip  and driving certainly  had taken its toll on his  health and any  energy he had.

Later that night I  was able to  look in Chris’s shaving bag for his medication . There it was a number of bottles of Oxycodone 30 mg. I know he didn’t get it in Houston as the Doctors treating him wouldn’t prescribe it , especially  when he was filling out the forms weekly  stating his pain was at level 3.

I couldn’t ask him why  he had them without letting him know I had spied on him.  I looked at the label and recognized the name of the Dr. at South Pointe  Hospital where Angela was doing her residency.  I  was in a bad position  and didn’t know what to  do. I would just keep  a closer eye on him and hope to  hell these “medical marvels knew what they  were doing”

This medication is used to help relieve moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone belongs to a class of drugs known as opioid analgesics. It works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain.

Since they  were two  days adrift Jim changed his flight back to  be with  Nikki  and the baby. It was agreed I  would keep a close eye on Chris , as much  as I  could.

Once again, we were on the treadmill of  tests, infusions  check ups . His heart rate had been high a steady  114   and he had had a procedure done but they  thought his heart was alright considering what it had been through in the previous months.  I was scared they  would show the drug  ( oxycodone) was in his system when they  did the tests. No  one said anything but he was  taking quite a few in a 24 hour period. He would keep tablets in his pocket and surreptitiously take a couple. As the days went on I notice the hand going into  that pocket more and more. I knew categorically  by  taking those drugs it was tantamount to  being taken off the trial. The trial that was his last chance of a “cure” . I had to  keep quiet and watch……

To  be continued …

 

August 3, 2021 at 12:40 am 3 comments

June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Houston Days and Nights- continued

I can’t begin to  put into  words how stressful it was for both of us , those days and nights. Chris and myself  “pretending everything was normal “ skirting around issues we both  knew were uppermost on our minds.  Wanting to  talk but not wanting to say  out loud our fears, maybe that way  we could hope a little longer.

Not everything was rosy , mother and son facing a terrible unknown locked together in a small apartment.  .Chris tired and in pain. I  knew it wasn’t me he wanted with  him. I  found a note that Angela had left behind in a desk drawer, Chris  was hurt and disappointed she was leaving Texas and it was me that would be with  him.

I knew my presence in Texas only confirmed that he was dying of Cancer, I was a constant reminder that he needed a care giver ( although you felt he could manage on his own to deal with side effects of a trial drug and Cancer) he would’ve preferred that it would have been his wife, not his mother to be with him.

photo Angela by Chris Ritchey

As a wife, I couldn’t have left my husband knowing that he was living under a death sentence and had been since August 29th -but that was Angela’s choice.

I could never understand Angela’s way  of thinking, but tried to  make allowances  , she too  was dealing with  a terrible situation in her young married life. I couldn’t believe that even during this awful, hopeful , chaotic time  she would still try  to  manipulate a situation and lie as she had done  with Nikki  and Chris  and the engagement ring episode.

Chapter  Three :

March 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapt 2 – Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

October 8th:  One month  in and the façade came crashing down, we were due to  come back  to  Cleveland for a few days . I made arrangements to  still keep  the apartment  as they  were so  difficult to  find. To  me, it was worth  paying for it to  be empty  rather than going through  the hassle of  moving and or finding something else.

This one particular day  we did have that heart to  heart that horrible “truth  revealing ” argument  that shouldn’t have happened!

In  the hours before that argument came to a head Chris and I had gone to get his prescriptions- he was tired and in a lot of pain- I said maybe I could pop into Borders ( which was across the way)

I would like to buy the new Dan Brown novel-

I could see he was impatient to get back so I didn’t push it. His mood was dour and his eyes narrowed and lips ( always a sign of anger) were tight. He had been on his cell phone to his wife, Angela, as we waited for his prescriptions. He drove back to the apartment in utter silence . He immediately went out by the pool in the apartment – I could see him sitting not moving. I decided he needed space  -then Nikki called and said that Chris had hung up on her and was very angry.

“but leave him alone mum” he doesn’t want to talk.

I knew my son. I knew whatever it was would fester until he exploded – he was so much like me.

I went to the pool- he said

“I don’t want to talk”

“You don’t have to -you can listen- I need to talk to you”

I was never a crier before Hodgkin’s I was a fighter, a do-er – this blubbering fool that I have become is down to the helplessness and hopelessness that took away happiness. Chris never knew me as a “crier” before his illness – so as the tears fell he sat silently as I told him

Chris, being a mother of a son is so much harder than you can imagine – I have tried so hard to give you and Angela the space you both need in this terrible time. I KNOW Chris, that you are feeling that you have no control over what is happening to your body and your life- I know you need some control , another reason why I have tried so hard to stand aside- you didn’t need me in the mix as well -But I am going to honestly tell you now -if this had been Nikki and not you I would have handled things so much differently – just as Nikki is my child I would not have sat back and taken a back seat to decisions as I have with you and Angela.

You see when a son marries he brings into his life another woman- it is very difficult in the best of circumstances for a mother to sit back and watch decisions being made that in some cases I did not agree with in a normal situation- this terrible situation we find ourselves all thrust into makes it doubly hard. But I have deferred to you both and to her “medical expertise” with this obscenity of Hodgkin’s that has engulfed us. It has been one of the hardest things in the world for me not to interfere or to put in my two cents. There have been times Chris when I have doubted my own abilities and lost confidence in myself – I have gone against my own gut feelings and yet there is a voice that tells me to still be protective of you .

I have tried to give you both your space – to be there when needed and to shut up for your sake when I was totally against some decisions. I have tried for your sake because I love you so much I would do anything and sacrifice anything for your health and happiness.

I don’t know the reason why you are so angry with Nikki and I but you have to know neither of us would intentionally do anything to hurt you . We have tried to put you first in all our thinking – We love you always have and always will. “


With that I left the poolside and went back into the apartment. Chris followed a few minutes later and then it all came out ( as I knew it would) an argument and accusations the finding out of lies that were told

“we had excluded Angela in decision-making as to driving the truck back to Texas.”

He wanted to drive his truck back . I told Angela  in an email ( which I have ) that it wasn’t a good idea him driving, he was having difficulty due to the side effects of SGN35 and I thought she should know since obviously you had been in Ohio since Sept 10th and hadn’t see the problems he was having even driving to Target let alone 1,700 miles.

I never received any  response from Angela to  my  emails ( which  I  still have)

Chris was furious with  me and  Nikki

“You didn’t include Angela”

Me:

“What are you talking about – I included Angela”

CHRIS No you didn’t !

Me.

Would you like to see the emails?

CHRIS: “

Yes! I would”

Me.

So you are calling me a liar ?

CHRIS:

” Don’t give me that F…. shit if I want to see the email then I must be calling you a liar. There aren’t any emails Angela doesn’t lie!

I then pulled up the emails…. all of them sent to Angela

ME:

Look at the dates and times Chris … now tell me I’M the one that lied…… she says here she wants to talk to you about it did she?

CHRIS:

Well she has been busy

ME:

she talks to you 4 or 5 times a day she couldn’t mention it but she could let you believe that Nikki and I didn’t include her?

He broke down  cried….. my  wonderful strong brave son reduced to  tears not by  cancer that night but by  lies and manipulation

She, the loving wife and bride  did that to him by trying to lie by omission … not me ….I held him and he said:

“did you ever think that I want to see something of the country if I am going to be dead in two years.”

My heart broke for him – I cried and we held on tight to each other and I said

Chris none of us know when we will die, the way you are driving lately we could end up dead on the way to hospital tomorrow ….

he laughed a little and I said:

Chris, I know the SGN35 is working, the lump on your neck isn’t visible and you haven’t coughed since Sept 21st.

That  night he went and checked the lumps on his neck for the first time in weeks.  Chris called Nikki back, she and Jim had talked and Jim would take time off work and drive back to  Houston with  Chris in his truck . He told Nikki  he wasn’t really  angry  with  her, just at the hopelessness and helplessness he was feeling. Once again Chris and sister reached out beyond the miles to  each other.

After talking to Nikki he said he wanted to take a drive, we still had the hire car. He left-  I wasn’t sure where and I was worried- he was in so much pain and on so many pills –

A little while later he came back ….. he walked in patted me on the head as a I sat in the chair and handed me a book as he walked to the bedroom – The Lost Symbol by  Dan Brown…………

June 3, 2021 at 1:06 pm 6 comments

NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12

ED NOTE: It has been one year since I  started this journey  of serialization of my   book/posts on my  son’s, Christopher Ritchey, journey.  I had thought, initially,  to  intersperse  the posts as usual with  other posts, pertaining to  life, Lorain, crime and politics. I  have found I  just do not have the energy  and the apathy is all consuming . I have come to  the sad realization what I  think  and my  passions on those subjects just don’t matter and don’t make a bit of difference in the real world.  However, my  journey  with  NO LIMITS continues, as hard as these chapters are to  write  and reliving the journey  of hope and no  hope there is a light at the end of this journey . I  will continue to  tell of our journey with  transparency  and truths.

 

No  Limits – The Book

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

 Chapter 12 : The Trial and Tribulations

The days following  the biopsy  found me sitting by  the phone. I  knew in my  heart of hearts the news was awful but I  clung to  the hope they  could be wrong, it had been known. I  knew it was a foolish  hope but you  grab anything you  can to  hold onto.

Chris came to  stay  with  Nikki that last weekend in August . He was so  pale and quiet. I went over bearing his favourite food . Nikki  told me he had been out in the woods for hours on his four wheeler , alone and not wanting to   talk to  anyone.

We waited, and when he came in I saw my  son trying to  put on a brave face. We all tried to  act normally  I  sat with  him at the kitchen counter , trying to   eat . He was , for my  sake, trying to  force the food down. A friend of my  son-in-law, oblivious to  the situation, came in  talking about the hunting season to  come  and new equipment he was planning to  purchase. It was so  normal and so  damned surreal. Chris left the kitchen , I  knew he was thinking

I  probably  won’t be here for that  season.

I  waited, trying to  swallow my  scream. Nikki  came into  the kitchen  and said ”

Mum, Chris is not good, you  had better come upstairs   

I followed her up  to  the guest room, also  now known as Chris’ room. He was laying on top  of the bed and had broken down, the fear, the hope, the fact he would die crashing down on him and he could no  longer  put on a brave face that day .

I didn’t know what to  say  or do . I felt totally  helpless.  I sat on the bed next to  him and Nikki  was on the other side and we  huddled and cried together. After a while I said , not knowing really  what I  was saying

“The three of us like this, Chris , is probably  Angela’s worst nightmare”

Finally  a weak smile and I said  to  my  son , almost believing it myself

Chris , I  will move heaven and earth  to  find another way  another treatment, even if it means going  to  Germany  or Europe

( I  had heard they  were making strides in Germany with  Refractory Hodgkin’s)

Chris went back out into  the woods riding and I  went home to   get on the computer and research.

I went home worried beyond reason for my  beautiful son. The phone rang it was Angela’s mother Sue Lombardi  wanting to know something inconsequential.

I said Sue:

I can’t even think about that know ( I  can’t even remember what it was ) I have just left Chris and he is in a terrible state.

WELL! she said NOW YOU  KNOW WHAT ANGELA HAS BEEN PUTTING UP WITH . 

I couldn’t believe the sanctimonious,  cold hearted cow!

PUTTING UP WITH , he is dying and scared and turning to  his wife.. don’t talk to  me .. putting up  with ????

she said :

maybe putting up  with  wasn’t the right choice of words .

No!  it wasn’t  I am going now. I  have things to  of more importance to  deal with  

Finally Tuesday   came  when we once again sat in the offices of Dr. Pohlman. Chris sat alone on the side of the room, he had on his aviator glasses and cap was pulled down, as I  looked at my  son , knowing these glasses were his defense  against the emotions he was feeling  being  shown  to us. Nikki  and I  sat together and Angela  drew up  a chair on the opposite wall.

No-one said a word, and Dr. Pohlman of the diamond earing , white framed glasses , starched white coat and Italian leather  shoes entered the room.

I was never keen on him , his bed side manner was decidedly  lacking  , but Chris liked him, why? I  don’t know .  As he sat down he looked at us , looked at the report and said coldly:

“This is bad, very  bad. Your immune system, ( looking at Chris who had not moved but sat like stone) does not recognize the cancer. As your body deals with the good cells it is also  helping the cancer cells .  Another stem cell transplant  , this would be a donor  transplant in the hopes that their immune system  would take over (allogeneic) is a remote possibility , but the insurance probably  would not   OK  it.

Nikki , spoke  ” well  why  can’t we try? “

Pohlman  looked as if he had noticed her for the first time,

“and  you  are  his sister? Well we could test you  as a donor, are you  willing “

“Of course I  am willing I  will do  anything “

Polhman  then continued.

Chris your only  hope for a “cure” ( and yes he said the word “cure” )is to  get on a trial for the drug SGN35 .

I finally  found my  voice,

how  do  we do  that?

Unfortunately, 

he said ( and this was the Tuesday  morning after waiting for days for the results of the biopsy)

We.at the Clinic closed down the admittance to  the trial of SGN 35  we have here on Friday  and there are no  more spaces available. I am not sure there are any  openings  around the country.

I was incredulous , this young man had been treated by  them from the very  beginning they  KNEW the cancer had returned , they  knew he would need options , they  held out the hope again to  only  withdraw it coldly  and clinically. I was so  angry  I  couldn’t  speak. Angela sat there ,

 

For god’s sake I  thought Angela say  something, you  are a resident going to  be a Dr.  a member of the Cleveland Clinic yourself  say  something!!!!!This is your husband  fight for him.

Angela said nothing,  it was Nikki  who  spoke :

You  are the Cleveland Clinic  , the best in the nation, and you  are telling me that Chris has been your patient all this time and you  come in here offering nothing,  just that a trial has closed, why  didn’t you  reserve him a space. You  KNEW what those results were . and all you  can say  is “this is bad , very  bad ” and there is a hope for a cure but not here . Then Where????? Don’t kick him to  the curb, he is not a lab rat……

Chris’ face book page

I am not sure Polhman  was expecting that , I know Angela  looked shocked.  Polhman was the big shot specialist, I  am sure she wasn’t happy  with  Nikki  questioning him.  Polhman turned his hands  outward in a gesture  of  “oh well” said that he would send his assistant to  set up a test for Nikki  and he would have them see if there were any  openings for SGN 35 in other states , but the trials had all closed on the Friday . He had other patients he had to  see.

As they  all walked out I asked what about Europe, Germany , he looked perplexed. He didn’t know  and was that an option. I  said:

anything is an option to  save my  son’s life and walked out.

The rest of the day  found Angela looking into  options, contacting people she had been  in medical school with. Nikki  on the computer  and I called family  in the medical community , who  dealt with  Cancer research . They  put me in touch  with  Chicago  and Columbus trials, talking to  Doctors,   setting up  appointments.

Angela had the best options with  MD  Anderson   Houston Texas . She sent Chris records through   to  a friend who  said they  would get them to  Dr. Younes who  was doing the trial.

Wednesday  morning , Nikki  and I  picked up  Chris from his apartment and we went to  the Clinic for them to  be matched for a allogeneic  transplant. This done we went back to  his apartment, not really  speaking . We stayed for a little while, I  was so  worried about Chris , he had lost hope. I left Nikki  and Chris in the living room and went to  busy  myself making the bed incase he needed to  rest. Nikki  came flying into  the room. Dr. Younes’ PA from MD Anderson  was on the phone and they  had an opening for an appointment  the next day  in Houston.

The next afternoon at two o’clock . OMG!!! the thoughts tumbled and whirled through  my  mind. Take the appointment , call the airlines, Chris call Angela , where is my  credit card , get them on a flight, book a hotel near the hospital , get some money . By  eight o’clock they  were boarding a flight to  Houston….

 

the roller coaster  ride was starting up  again

 

to  be continued……..

 

January 3, 2021 at 2:27 pm 5 comments

NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11

No Limits- The book

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

 THE HOPING TIME- CHAPTER 11

I was never one for organized religion. My brain always questioning as to the logic of faith. The stories written by men with agendas put in the form of a bible, or a book, tablets, writings, of whatever faith was in vogue, translations based on the politics of the day.  But I prayed to an all-powerful, all knowing being commonly known in my society as God!  I prayed every waking minute silently, and every night alone I prayed out loud. Please God take me not him, let him have his life and happiness. I did the deals parents do when they believe someone magical being   can overturn a fate. I would have sacrificed myself on any alter “He” deemed needed to save my son.

 Almost every church in Lorain had him on their prayer chain. Churches both Catholic and Protestant in England, Scotland, New Zealand Australia and Canada reached out to the heavens in my son’s name. Synagogues, Buddhists and Native Americans joined in with their prayers . I was sent so  many  little bottles of Holy  Water  from Lourdes,   from pilgrimages made on behalf of Chris that I could have opened a market stall.

The thoughts kept going through my  head.

“If there is a God as most seem to  believe and he has no  use for me  and no  reason to  answer my  prayers surely  He can’t ignore the hundreds of people who  are praying for Chris, and especially  his wife  and family  a pillar of the Catholic Church. What about their prayers does my  lack of faith tip  the scale against hundreds of believers?

What about Chris what did he ever do in his young life to  deserve this ? His sister what had she ever done, his father his Nana?  The believers told me God has a plan? Well I don’t like his plan  when the drug dealer who  has raped and caused hell to  his parents  is walking around  procreating  and causing such turmoil why  not him I asked  why  Chris? I did not get an answer and ten years on nothing has changed for the drug dealer except his vehicles.

June turned into  July , I watched as my  son started to  look better from his chemical death. He grew stronger  and I started to  breathe a little  better.  Late July  found him going on a 4 wheeler trip  with the guys.

 

Normalcy  and fun , so  I  thought. Dr. Pohlman  had told him in June he wasn’t  going to  have to  see him until November and he had no  restrictions  as such,  just to  stay  away from people who may be ill  etc.  When Chris came back from that trip  he was obviously  tired  but there was something else going on . I prayed it wasn’t the cancer coming back again.

Chris opened up  to  Nikki  that he thought the lump was coming  back on his neck a compromised lymph node . My  understanding is the cancer cells in the blood are larger than normal cells and so can’t get through and block the system causing the lumps ( tumors) . That of course is the very simplest of explanations , there is so  much  more .

Chris finally having   shared his fears with  Nikki and they  called the staff member in Pohlman’s office  he had been given as a contact. They  basically  said to  keep an eye on it  and he had an appointment moved up until August.

The Doctors decided to  do  a biopsy on August 21st , Chris’ birthday.  I will never be able to  think of his birthday  in the same way  again.

I drove to  the downtown Cleveland Clinic  wanting to  throw up  all the way. I was so  scared I  couldn’t even  think straight.  Chris and Angela were already  there. Nikki  having fed the baby,( she was breast feeding)  was on her way. We sat in silence in the waiting room , Chris, Angela and I  , I  had no  words. Nikki  arrived  looked at her brother and said “Birthday” he smiled . He was taken back to  pre-op  Nikki  and Angela went with  him . I  sat along in a corridor trying not to  fall apart, everything within me  was screaming.

Chris was taken down and we went to  the waiting room only  to  find Angela’s support team. One of them her  grandmother , they  wanted to  get something to  eat so I duly  followed on.  The grandmother who  was nice enough  in her way but in my  opinion  sadly  lacking in forethought  said:

“What a shame, on his birthday  too. Oh isn’t it your birthday  in a couple of days, are you  having a party to  celebrate”

and on she “clacked”. I thought has this woman any idea of what Nikki  and I  are going through. I  sat quietly  through the “meal”, whilst they  ate and  rattled on about this and that, we then went back to  the waiting room.

The big board with  all the operations and who was in surgery and who  was in recovery kept changing. The grandmother true to  form had not finished. Nikki had left me to  go  and express  her milk. As I  sat there visualizing what was happening to  my  son  Grandmother pipes up:

Let’s have a contest , everyone pick a time as to  when Chris goes to  recovery, how much  longer do  you  think  it will be. Angela you  are the Dr. so   you  start.

and they  did . I was by  this time  bringing up  bile in my  mouth, I  could no  longer sit there , was not one of Angela’s support team going to  shut this stupid woman up. Did they  not see how inappropriate this was and how painful?

I got up  and left and went outside crying. Nikki found me  as they  had no  idea where I  had gone. Chris had come through  the surgery  and was in recovery. The  surgeon came out and said it went well and they  were sending the sample for tests. Angela left to  share the news. Nikki  looked at the surgeon and said:

is the cancer back?

He was very  nice and said

 we have to  wait for the results.

Nikki looked at him and said :

You  have done hundreds of these and you  can tell, I know , is the cancer back

He looked at her and just nodded.

Mum, you  can’t go back into  the recovery  room . Chris will take one look at you  and know . You  have to  leave.

and so  I  did . I don’t remember driving home . I was numb , perplexed desperate.

Chris missed my  birthday  but came two  days after with  my  “candles” he always bought me candles since he was a little boy.

April 3rd- The Candle Connection- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

 

As soon as Chris was  old enough and earning money, he would  buy me special candles – the trouble was they were always artistic and expensive and I couldn’t bring myself to light them. After one more such gift of candles I couldn’t bear to burn , I told you:

“Chris, these are far too nice to burn – just buy me ones I can feel OK with lighting” .

The next birthday came the “Daisy Candles” and once again I didn’t have the heart to burn them I supposed you had forgotten the request .

I noticed the cellophane around the “Daisy Candles” was definitely yellowing and becoming brittle. My thought was to bring them into the living room where my mum, who loves daisies might get some cheer from them as a symbol of “spring will eventually arrive and with it daisies”

I brought the candles downstairs , took off the wrapper and then saw the instructions-

I realized as I read those words you had listened to me– because the candles were special- the wick would burn for 29-30 hours and when it was done the outside of the candle would still be intact and I could insert tea light candle that would illuminate the outer shell.

 

the thought struck me the candle was yet another symbol- how your life burned with beauty and strength for as many years as those candles had hours (29) and what was left was a mere glimmer of memories that would only burn as long as I lighted the “memory of you” . The “tea light” of the 3rd of every month where once again your life is lived!

The candles , the last he bought me, are still waiting  to  give a light that has been lost to  us.

To be continued………

December 3, 2020 at 3:48 pm 2 comments

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