Posts filed under ‘Doctor/Physician’

Sherrod Brown and Hospice THANK YOU- Lorain

This blog has been all about death  and dying recently – more so  than usual. It has been a long 6 months since my  mum was put under Hospice Care. I have to  give a shout out to  Mercy New Life  Hospice – Kolbe Road. https://www.mercy.com/locations/specialty-locations/hospice-care-palliative-care/mercy-new-life-hospice

because their nurses and aides helped me keep  my  promise to  my  mum that she would stay  in what became her home here with  us.

It was NOT easy, anyone that tells you  that being  a  “carer ” 24 hours a day  7 days a week will not leave you  drained, frustrated , emotionally pulled in so  many  directions has not walked that path.

I found myself having to  do  things for my  mum in those last weeks that I   hated doing and she hated having done. She could tell by  my  face  that I  was struggling with  things. I  was never cut out to  be a nurse , never wanted to  care for the ill but you  do  things you  never thought you  would  because of love.  There were times I  didn’t think  I  could keep  my  promise as lifting and being “on duty” 24/7 took their toll physically, my  husband and I  were the walking wounded to  begin with.  Thank  goodness for my  daughter who  stepped up  to  the plate on more than one occasion.

And then all of a sudden she was gone, my  job was gone as well, it has taken many  days not to  listen for the sound of her “chimes”  calling me upstairs  to  help  her. Not to  look at the clock , not to  wake at 3 in morning and get up  and check on her. The days of trying to find something she could eat or might tempt her to  eat  put aside. Tea was her elixir of life in this house.

I am grateful to  the Doctors , nurses and aides because those last months  she and I  didn’t have to  worry  about  the prescription coverages, the medical bills.  WHY because she was covered  by  insurance and why  was that ?

Regular Readers will remember this time last year I  was fighting the gatekeepers . Kasich  , the Governor of Ohio , had done away  with  the  medical program under which  my  mother was covered and paid into  for decades. People who  should have known a way  forward  did not help this 98-year-old woman , bureaucracy  abounded and for months I  fought and cajoled only  to  be turned away  by  the local Social Security  Offices ( Medicare) – Job and family  Services – all this is documented  and one day  I will write in-depth  the whole sorry  fiasco.  I was at my wit’s end for so  many  weeks – I  was helpless – ME who  can cut through  the crap  to  solutions  stymied , lost in a healthcare limbo,  not knowing where to  turn next.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/the-gatekeepers-keeping-us-out-part-one/

On November 6th  we will be voting , I am in a quandary  as to  how most of my  votes will be cast BUT there is one person who  will receive my  vote as well as  that of my  family  Sherrod Brownhttps://www.brown.senate.gov/

 

 

Why????  because his staff in Lorain and “his” caring , expertise and knowledge of the medical system, federal programs   cut through all the gobbledegook I  was facing  and pointed us in the direction of HELP when not one other agency  or politician  would or could.

Still the confusion  with  bureaucrats and up jumped Muppets of Medical abounded  BUT  now I  had people with  knowledge to  help  us through  and that was totally  thanks to   Sherrod Brown and his offices.  Because of that my  mum  and I  only  had to  deal  with  “dying” and could  access the medical assistance she needed .

So  yes this is a political “Vote For” post  but I know in my  heart of hearts this man and the people he employs CARE  and cared when I  needed the help  the most.  I  am not a Democrat or Republican  and haven’t ever before asked anyone to   “vote For” but I  am doing so  now and I  take this plea  very  seriously  please vote for Senator Sherrod Brown thank  you ………..

October 28, 2018 at 5:21 pm 1 comment

June 3rd – Coma – Chris Ritchey

Think I Am – Chris Ritchey

I used to love June -NOW another month that causes anguish to the soul- although life is bursting , skies blue, roses red I can’t abide the ‘happiness’- the June Brides make me cringe. I remember, the day you married and by doing so brought with it the eventual pain that was “gifted” to your family by those “people”

Lombardi (Vyka etc. )and Company

The “wedding anniversary” is also the day this year when the “Clinic” will “dispose of what was left of your life essence.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/april-3rd-sample-of-life-chris-ritchey/

And here it was -the Clinic apparently had not “disposed of ” (their term) the sample upon your death as contracted . Now, I have to make the decision to call them re maintaining the samples – should I do nothing they will commence the disposal on what would ironically be your wedding anniversary !!!!

I have looked at the letter from those “other “doctors” telling me to make a legal decision otherwise they will dispose of….

I could not bring myself to ring them, or contact them – like an indecisive coward – I couldn’t bring anymore “finality ” into my being, I couldn’t make the decision, I couldn’t revisit the finality. I am not strong enough to face the reality of that. I know that by doing nothing the procedure of disposal will take place on what would have been your “wedding anniversary”. I wish I could dispose of those memories as easily but they come into being every June and with them the disgust I feel for the hypocrites of their religion. I am sickened by the controllers and “do overs”.

I wish things could have been different, that it was me that went on your last journey – not you. The memories of those last days and hours constantly being pushed away from conscious thought so I can “maintain some sort of balance”

Chris’ face book icon


Again the wondering and worrying of what was happening to you as you lay in that damned clinic like a lab rat on show. Could you hear as I sang to you, talked to you – tubes running everywhere. I asked for the Drs. to stop talking over you like a piece of meat that was cut off from “life”. I knew, as watched the stats, saw the rise in heart beats when they did that or when Sue Lombardi entered the room. (one of the reasons the head nurse expelled her as her presence aggravated you). Wanting “the invited others” by the Lombardis and co to leave the room as they did their collective death watch. I was frightened that if I did cause an issue it might effect or upset you and you unable to respond. Did you hear conversations? Did you know?

It was after you died and I was contacted by a young woman from the east coast in another June , she too was dying, going through the journey of hope with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma recurring , the trials, the chemo, the numerous hospital stays the days of dying.


Hi Lorraine, This is XXXXXXXX. I hope you still use this email. I found it in a post from Sept. Your blog is fantastic. Thank you so much for writing. It’s great to get a sense of the parents perspective. It’s a vision my parents like to keep from me. Take care.

We talked, via email, of how I felt and your dad as she was trying to help her parents and what they were feeling as they were being “brave”

She asked me if there was anything she could do to help me understand what you went through . I told her about your dad and how when he was intubated, after open heart surgery, in a induced coma and flooded with drugs as to how , although we could not see any movement , no squeezing of hands- he KNEW everything that we were saying and how awful it was to be trapped in his own mind.

http://www.jems.com/articles/print/volume-33/issue-1/patient-care/intubation-101-what-do-what-ca.html
In her case she too, numerous times had been intubated, drugged, paralized and comatose although she had managed to go through that so many times. Her Hodgkin’s came back 14 times before she eventually passed, she was still hopeful at the very end.
What she told me that email that June did help me some.


“your thoughts rush.. come in fragments .. you hear voices… see colors… , the movement is jarring yet you know you are not moving … you are between…. floating and yet tied… you struggle at times to surface as if drowning…

Assignment – Chris Ritchey-CIA


When you are brought back from the “sleep” you can’t really remember if you are waking from a bad dream , if the voices you heard are real and then you forget and move on to the next days. The doctors said I was dreaming that I couldn’t hear but I did tell one about his problem he was telling Nurse ( name given) , he was annoyed because someone had taken his parking place and he “was going to find out who”. He was very surprised.

She told me , for her, although what was happening was frightening she knew she was surrounded by her husband, mother , father and sister and they were keeping her safe. and that you drift in and out not knowing really what was or is real. ” it is all real your reality – to live with”

I have clung to her words , as a mother, hoping against hope that as you lay there those last days, never to come off that tube, you didn’t know the circus your dying was turning into – hoping that you thought you were dreaming and would awaken to sunlight not hearing the “dying words” – and you knew we loved you and still do

artwork Chris Ritchey

June 3, 2017 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

April 3rd – sample of life – Chris Ritchey

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey


At first, after you died I girded myself for the arrival of the mailman – sympathy cards, notifications in your name, even the ones from the monuments people wanting us to purchase you a headstone- at least they recognized your family should have a say. As the months disappeared into years pretty much the only mail for you would be the yearly invite to a “four-wheeler” event.

Last week however, Monday , found me opening your letter calling for you to submit work created between January 2015 and December 2016 for AIGA Cleveland . My breath was only sucked out of me for just a few moments and although I was in a foul mood and very touchy for the rest of the day, causing everyone around me to tread on eggshells, I managed.

Then the mailman knocked on the door three days later with a registered letter from the Cleveland Clinic – I can’t abide that conglomerate of medical management http://my.clevelandclinic.org/ This letter was from the Andrology Laboratory and Reproductive Tissue Bank.
Apparently they were updating records and it came to their attention you had passed away “our condolences” (written as an after thought) but we need to dispose of what remains of your son’s life ( my words) hereto known as the “sample” .

I was confused, incredulous , not sure what I was reading – yes I remembered you, on doctor’s advice, had banked sperm before the chemo. I had wondered weeks after your death what would happen. I didn’t do anything because since the Lombardis and the then your wife – Angela Ritchey ( now Dr. Angela Murphy- http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff/16147-angela-murphyespecially Sue Lombardi ,had made ALL the decisions as to what would be happening with you, my son and your mortal remains, with no input from his family – they would have seen to this as well. I hadn’t realized you had designated me in this instance.

And here it was -the Clinic apparently had not “disposed of ” (their term) the sample upon your death as contracted . Now, I have to make the decision to call them re maintaining the samples – should I do nothing they will commence the disposal on what would ironically be your wedding anniversary !!!!

I read and reread the letter , my gut churned, my mind ran amuck – this planet still holds your life essence and the cavalier Clinic wanted to tell me they were once again in disposal mode.

Angela , Sue and Tim Lombardi


I cried ,gasped for air, memories became reality once again in the ensuing hours. Everything came rushing back – emotional incontinence, anger , disbelief, pain returned full force.

Thoughts of what could be , what should have been, pulling the plug conference in that damned hospital – stony faced Lombardis – removed from the emotions of your death – sitting at that conference table looking like they were smelling bad fish and hoping against hope I would agree to your being taken off life support. Inconvenient, if I wouldn’t agree as Sue Lombardi had already picked out the “coffin clothes”. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/an-open-letter-mama-sue-lombardi/

I wasn’t thinking straight –

I could get legal advice about maintaining the “sample” – you see to me was more than a “sample” it was my grandchildren that would never be- the life essence of my son and yet there was hope still– surrogate mother ran through my head- what would that cost? and then the darker thoughts of what did they mean by “disposal ” did they dump your “essence of life” into medical waste, the toilet , down a sink? My mind raged , bled and remembered……

Logically I know, you had signed the contract your “sample” should be “disposed of” after your death, so I believe that is what you wanted. Even if I could find a surrogate – it would be sheer selfishness on my part to bring a child into the world when I am surely heading out of it before they would be grown and finally you had a blood cancer when the “sample of life” was taken, I couldn’t take a chance that any child born would have a chance of cancer.

I haven’t responded to the Clinic as yet- although I know I will have to but it is hard to once again have to pull that plug……….

I love you ………

Artwork Chris Ritchey

April 3, 2017 at 11:55 am 3 comments

August 3rd- Alarming- Chris Ritchey

Photo by  Chris Ritchey  July  12-2007

Photo by Chris Ritchey July 12-2007


It has been a month since I last wrote on this blog- July has come and gone- I dread July because bad things always seem to happen. Your grandfather died unexpectedly in July , ill-health news over the years has been diagnosed in July, and the engagement I wished had never happened – on the anniversary of the day your grandfather died. You weren’t to know that day held that significance as you had champagne and roses sent to the top of the Lorain Lighthouse with the “will you marry me” .

photo Angela  by  Chris Ritchey

photo Angela by Chris Ritchey


It was also the day and weekend I was introduced to avarice and selfishness of the “incoming family” . A cold shiver ran over me that day – harbinger of things to come. I couldn’t believe your “bride to be” and her ” aunts” spent the day and next day touting the engagement ring around to local jewelers to see its monetary worth.

You had paid six thousand for that ring and I ended up having it professionally evaluated by an independent jeweler just to reassure you and the “family” it was worth what you paid for it. You got what you paid for and in fact was worth two thousand more . But what kind of a “bride” does that ? I remember saying to you –

I don’t understand the ring was a symbol of love and not money, I was pleased with a little diamond because it was given in love..

…… but the cold shiver was a warning of what was yet to come.
tetleyau12
This July has been no different- little Tetley had to be put to sleep . He didn’t suffer and was running around until the very last.

Artwork Chris Ritchey  Face Book page

Artwork Chris Ritchey Face Book page


Then all hell broke loose and once again ambulances, ICU’s waiting in uncomfortable chairs, watching clocks that didn’t seem to move. The machines, the IV’ fluids, every beep of the monitor, oxygen levels, breathing counts, heart rates, every foot fall of the nurses, the chairs, the smells another two weeks of memories flooding in from the dying days of you , the alarms, doctor’s faces, the looks- you know those looks, this is not good. The tests, the scans the results. The drives to and from the hospital four and five times a day, all those emotions invading my new world of worry- pushing them away in order to deal with the latest health crisis, crippling once again. Walking once again in the early morning across the hospital parking lot- holding ones’ breath hoping the news overnight was positive , crisis in the middle of the night , waiting for the damned phone NOT to ring in the early hours, no sleep, running on empty.
nanaandchris1
But your Nana picking up the slack at home- 97 years old- and I would come home to a meal, a clean house, my bed made and a cup of tea. Too tired to answer the many phone calls wanting an update.
So went July- and with it another part of me, a another slice of strength and tolerance …….. August…….. your birthday …… and the cycle continues ….. the past became the present and the future counted in days and the time between remains blurred in the moment
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/july-3rd-pastpresent-all-the-same-chris-ritchey/
MASK MIST

August 3, 2016 at 10:19 am 4 comments

March 3rd – dilemma – Chris Ritchey

chriarms

The last couple of months have found me less than healthy, thanks to two little boys. Doesn’t matter how many times you wash your hands, hugs and kisses from the “carriers of cute” have now given me at least three different viruses.
cuteres

Just when you think you are turning the corner you are laid low by the next ” home from school dreaded lurgy”. It has not been pleasant .

Every racking cough reminds me of you, Chris – those nights in the guest room of your apartment when I could hear your terrible gutting coughs – your lungs trying to expel the cancer that had found its way in, to no avail. Each bout of coughing went through me like hot knives.

I will never forget those nights – you choking on your own body. I would lay there, wanting so badly to help , to get you a drink, anything to ease the torture to take care of my son, as best I could.

But, you had a wife in that room and I waited for the sounds of comfort for you- they never came . You would eventually get up go to the kitchen , or to the bathroom to get the medicine to help you sleep. I used to stay overnight because your appointments were early in the morning at the damned Cleveland Clinic – the place of numbers before names- the cattle call of cancer.

I knew it would only be a matter of time when I could bear it no longer and I would have to reach through those walls and take care of you, causing you even more distress from an interfering mother. It was so bad I couldn’t stay in that room doing nothing to help you . So rather than stay I would get up at 4 am at home and drive the 50 minutes to your apartment to go with you to the tests and appointments . It was easier than the alternative, which was so hard to bear.

It was very, very difficult for me knowing what to do when I was now the “mother- in-law” as well as the mother. In hindsight I would have ignored protocol and taken care of you as I should have done on those nights. You should’ve been my first consideration !
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/i-didnt-know-my-son-chris-ritchey/

I failed you more than once. Every time I have been hit with racking coughs these past weeks- it was you I thought of and your dying time – my heart and mind are still with you as well as my guilt. You are never far from me ………….

chrismeresglow1

March 2, 2016 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

July 3rd – the cooler bag – Chris Ritchey

chrisart collage

Another day , week, month, year- I have learned the navigation of the path of pain- I know now most of the emotional laybys , the pitfalls that can swallow you whole . I have become aware of them as I travel this way of grief. Oh! sometimes, even knowing they are there does not save me from tripping and trembling as I go forward in this life.

Nana, she of the wonderful pastries and food of love, had made a sausage pie for friends who were visiting. We had to take the pie and accoutrements to Catawba last week. The pie needed to be kept cool on the journey but a big cooler wouldn’t do. Nana, who has pretty much taken over the kitchen since she moved here, knows where everything is and pulled out a plastic cooler bag. My heart ended up in my throat once again , I must have turned white, because Nana said

” are you alright what is wrong ?”

cooler bagres

That silly, cheap, plastic cooler bag, I had forgotten its very existence. I never knew where it came from originally. We weren’t into Nascar – but there it was . They say your life flashes before your eyes when you drown- all I can say is your life flashes before my eyes every time I am confronted with an unexpected object , sight, sound that was you.

chrissoccer7
As I looked at that bag, Nana washing it out readying it for her pie, I remembered the orange slices and water it had kept cool for all those soccer games. I remembered grabbing it out of the cupboard on the morning you got married. I hated that day, my beautiful son dealing with chemo and the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s but still filled with false hope.

It was a record-breaking heat that June day, and I knew the ” family of the bride” would insist on the plethora of pictures being taken, driving here and there in the limo- I was so worried about how you would be able to handle the whole thing feeling ill as you were. – The Lombardi , Vyka clan were all about those pictures- still are. lombardivyka clan

I grabbed the bag threw in some of you favourite sandwiches and water , and orange slices. I knew you were feeling ill because the Chemo had been on the Thursday and its poison was killing ( supposedly) the cancer cells and your good cells- it knew no difference. I put the bag in the limo.

You hugged me at the reception and whispered in my ear –

I gave the bag to Nikki , she has it, thanks mum – couldn’t do justice to the sandwiches but the orange slices and water went down well thanks for thinking of it.

When the cancer came back and you couldn’t eat and the next round of “treatment” was prescribed I would come to sit with you in your apartment so Angela -your “bride” -could continue working- ( although I later found out that was not always the case as to her whereabouts). It didn’t matter to me then or now where she was – I know the truth of her and it is dark!
baby

I just wanted to take care of my son, to try to keep the promises I made to you when you were born-

” I won’t let anything happen to you- I will protect you”

That cooler bag went with me every day for weeks whilst you were having your double stem cell transplant . You couldn’t bear the smell of the hospital food- the smell of the plastic covers keeping the food hot disgusted you. I would take a meal up in the cooler bag, your lunch and dinner, every single day to be heated in the hospital “family room” microwave. The orange whip, Nana would make you , so cooling ( full of calories) would slide down and not burn your mouth that was blistered by the chemo.

The last time I used that cooler bag- a phone call from Angela as I was shopping at KMart

” Chris said you were coming to spend the night should I get something for supper – she had to work that night”

– I was bewildered, as I was actually in Kmart getting new bed linens, as I believed you to be coming home for the weekend- after that disastrous and stupid idea of Angela’s stating you could drive back from Houston .
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/i-didnt-know-my-son-chris-ritchey/

I was puzzled- she hadn’t said anything about working- You never mentioned to me in your morning phone call about needing me to come- just that you wanted to come home for the weekend . Oh! later I found out she was not scheduled to work that night- she requested to work at 4 in the afternoon WHY? . – Hindsight is 20/20

I packed the cooler with your favourite dinner and we ate together one last time in your home. You went into the clinic again the next morning – dying- never to come home.

Angela , Sue and Tim Lombardi

Angela , Sue and Tim Lombardi


I forgot about the cooler bag, left on the kitchen counter in that apartment of deceit as I followed the ambulance to the Cleveland Clinic ER.

I never thought of it again until we received 4 months after your death ( via the funeral home) the box of
“throw- aways”… because that was what they were- from the Lombardi Clan and Angela( now Angela Murphy DO http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display?doctorid=16147 ) along with her disgraceful, lacking in any sort of compassionate thought, letters- to your family who were raw with grief. nanachris
In the bottom of the box was the cooler bag -not good enough to keep obviously or to give to their charities . I couldn’t throw it away, it had been such a part of those months – so I stuffed it in a little used kitchen cupboard until ….. Nana’s sausage pie………….. and once more your last part of life flashed through my mind, the anguish, loss of hope, cruelty, the anger that has kept me upright and your last words .

I love you Chris- I will not forget you……..

July 3, 2015 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

May 3rd – the book- Chris Ritchey

chrisart collage

I was supposed to write a book telling of the “love story” as requested by your then wife- (Angela Marie Lombardi – Ritchey – now Angela Murphy DO ). http://doctor.webmd.com/doctor/angela-murphy-do-1b9198d9-dcd4-e111-9faf-001f29e3eb44-overview.

At least that is what she requested of me after your marriage, sitting on the couch, in your apartment . You were supposed to illustrate the “love” story . I am sure the expected heroine figure of Angela, as she imagined herself at the time, will be a disappointment to her in this actual story of undying love.

I have started the book” and yes your illustrations are very much a part of the story. I have come undone as I get to the chapters of the dying days. For weeks I have struggled to get past those dreadful days to get to the place I need to be to “continue ” your story as you continue.

I have even tried to leave those days for later and begin the chapters that need to be shared but I am unable to put fingers to keys . Why ? – will become apparent if I ever get this book finished . The journey for me has been one of seeing the best and the worst in humankind, the lies, deception, cowardice , greed , the medical community at its worst and best and great love, compassion , strength intertwined in the pages of NO LIMITS – I am limited by me…….

nolimits

excerpt – NO LIMITS – Forward

I have hesitated for months, even years, to tell the story from my self-imposed box. I have written millions of words on my personal blog in the years since my son died. http://www.thatwoman.wordpress.com I have written his story, I have opened myself and my innermost thoughts and feelings. I have told the tale of cruelty, searing pain and thoughts of suicide. I have exposed myself in ways not many would without fear. So then, why is it I hesitate to share ALL of our story, a story of continuing love, strength and astonishment? What could be so dangerous in opening up a world of hurt to my loved ones? Why would a love that continues cause such angst and trepidation in those of my society?

Society? Oh they can’t hurt me, I am beyond their pain, their laughter. The sound of laughter to one who rarely laughs is just pleasant echo of what once was. There should be laughter in the world, I do not begrudge laughter or being the source of humor.

I love you my son……..

May 3, 2015 at 3:32 pm Leave a comment

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