Posts tagged ‘grief’

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

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

March 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 26- 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/

THE WINTER OF WEEPING that never ends………… 

NOTE: It is said that time heals and spring and new life replaces  the dark dreary days of winter. Those of the sisterhood of grief , especially  those who  have lost a soul and child of their body  and heart, winter never ends. You  are still lost in those days , you see glimpses of life  and happiness, but you  are never again whole. You  see when you  lose your child  you  and the person you  were – leaves with  themwhen they  draw their last breath. 

You  don’t even look the same, you  may be thinner, put on weight  , age more quickly, your eyes smart with too many  tears, lines appear around your eyes and mouth , not the lines of age but of pain. You  are wary , looking out for those moments that assault you  as you  go  about your daily  routine. Oh  you  smile at the correct moments, you  try  to  join in with  life , but no  matter the days, months even years  the only  thing that gets better is you  can hide  the heart break just a bit better. You  have learned who  you  can reach out , who  doesn’t flinch  when you  want to  talk about you  child. Those who  are patient and those who  are understanding because they  too are members of the Sisterhood of Grief. 

 

I wrote the following  five months after Christopher passed from this world. And  all these years later nothing has changed……  Photo Credit – Virginia Mak

The Sisterhood

It was Thanksgiving. I was alone with  Chris, everyone was with  family . I sat by  his bedside , he couldn’t talk a lot due to  the oxygen mask , I  read, although  I  had no  idea what I  was reading . I would, when he closed his eyes, drink in every   part of my  son, the contours of his face , his hands on the the sheet, his arms strong still listened to  every  breath he took , movement, sound  he made.  That day,  the sun shone in the window, and the beard  he had been growing had become  more pronounced.

He grew the facial hair after he lost all of his hair due to the horrendous chemo sessions  and stem cell transplants. I think  he did so  because it was a sign  his body  was trying to get back to  normalcy.  The last time he and his Nana were together at Nikki’s she stroked his face and the beginnings of his beard and said :

Chris you  are truly  my Viking and that is how I will think of you , brave and golden.

I was filling my  memory of my  son,  every feature , nuance and aspect of  my  son that  morning of Thanksgiving.  The  sunlight caught his face  and the golden red of his beard .  My  Viking.

I didn’t want him to  see me lose it  so  I  excused myself and went to  the waiting room.  Thankfully  there was no  one there  and I wept with  the pain of “WHY”?????????????

When I  finally  pulled myself together and returned to  the room he was sleeping . I sat quietly,  hardly  daring to  breathe, I  had always been told  that sleep is how the body  heals. I was clutching at anything I  could find to  give me hope, willing whatever strength  I  had to  somehow  be miraculously  given to  him by some  magical umbilical chord of life.

He woke , pulled down his oxygen mask and asked for a sip  of water. Those were the last words he spoke to  to  me , not his last words, but the last thing he ever asked of me . I  held the bottle of water with the hospital straw , he took a small sip and immediately  started choking….

All Hell broke loose nurses cand people came rushing into  the room and someone grabbed hold of my  arm and ushered me out into  the still empty  waiting room.  I  didn’t know what was happening, I  knew it wasn’t good…..  The “code blue ” over the pa system. Drs.,  interns , nurses came rushing along the corridor and then two  technicians  with  a ventilator .

I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think  I was frozen , everything was falling away  from me , no-one to hold me up, no  where to  go  , what  should I    do ?,

WHY?????????? for God’s sake why……… NOOOOOOO this can’t happen…… . I was shaking with  cold and tears.

After what seemed an eternity , one of Chris nurses came out to  the waiting room with  a cup  of hot chocolate,  she said

“it is OK he has been put on the vent to  help  him breathe, he has been sedated , the Dr. will be out in a moment  drink  this “

But you  see, I knew from that first day  of diagnosis  all through

  the  best cancer to  have, just 6 rounds of Chemo, 95 percent cure rate ,

because I had always known  that damned cancer  was winning. I had fought down my knowing and fears, I had embraced hope, prayers ,  medicines, trials , anything to  fight the obscenity  of death that was coming for my  son.  I  had seen the fear on his face as they all came rushing in, the silent tears that fell from his eyes, and I heard his last words he ever spoke……....

I tried to call someone, anyone but I couldn’t make my  fingers work or my  brain, I don’t remember breathing , I  stood there  thinking this must be what shock is.

Finally  the Dr. came in , I will call her Dr. RA, hers is the only  name  I remember from that day. The first thing she said was

“Would you  like a priest ?” 

No!  I  don’t want a damned priest , what good is he, to  give me comfort! blessings !NO I want someone to  stop  my  son dying….. not religious platitudes that don’t mean a thing. 

I didn’t say that out loud , all I  could manage was

No, is Chris critical.

She looked at me and said:

Oh! he has been critical since he came in , has no-one mentioned that to you , he is dying. 

Then she left. The nurse came back to check on me and helped me call Angela, my husband and my son in law.

Angela was the first to arrive, with her sister,

Is he dead? 

I shook my  head  and she went into the ICU , Her sister chatted on about how she broke the speed limit to get there. And then the  clan of Lombardi  arrived  with  cold mashed potatoes, congealed gravy, turkey  and pumpkin pie, chatting about  leftovers would be good in the microwave if this was going to  be a long night ……..  and I  thought.. who  are these awful  people  chatting and laughing whilst my  son is dying about leftovers and time.

Time no  longer existed in my  world it had stopped…………

THIS  be HELL …. I must have died……………………………. could have been the only explanation 

 

To  be continued………………..

March 3, 2022 at 1:06 pm 3 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

January 3rd -No Limits- Chapter 24- 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/

Cleveland – The Dying Time

 NOTE: Two  years ago  today  I started writing  Chris’ story  of his life and time on this poor planet  . I cannot begin to  tell you  the toll these last few chapters have taken upon my  very  being.

I have to  write at night when all is quiet and I  am alone with  my  tears and gutting pain, trying to  swallow back the emotions that erupt out of  the very  depths of me. It is painful and torturous but I promised and I will keep  that promise to  my  son.

despair. by Chris Ritchey

Chris spent a few days being tested after returning to Cleveland , getting fluids. It was the Friday  before Thanksgiving . I had spoken to  Chris on the phone the night before , he wanted to  come home  for a few days but could he come to  our house as  he didn’t want to  add to Nikki’s work, as she had the baby.

I said that was fine, have Angela drive him here if he was a bit wobbly  to  drive  and I  would get a room ready  and  etc.

On that Friday  I was in K Mart getting  new bedding and towels, groceries  that I knew he would eat etc. for him and anything thing else I could think  of to  make him comfortable for when he came home. I knew that his dog Misty would help  , they  so  loved each  other and Misty  missed him terribly.

My  mother and I  were just  getting ready to  go  through the checkout when Angela called on my  cell phone . I became  a little confused as she said:

“Chris, said that you  were going to  come to the apartment and stay  the night with  him as I  have to  be on duty”

This was the first I  had heard of it , but I didn’t say  anything, maybe Chris had not told her he had wanted to come home . I  would ask him when I  saw him.    I  went along with  her and said

Yes I  can come , what time 

she said  she needed me there by  6.

Ok I will bring him supper  and will be there at 6. 

I went home made arrangements  and took the food up  with  me. When I  arrived, just before 6, Angela had already  left . Chris was lying on the couch  looking dreadful. He hadn’t eaten so  I  thought maybe he needed some nourishment . He ate in silence and then said :

 Mum, you  will have to  go  down and let this guy  in he is coming to  bring an oxygen tank

Why?  what is going on, what happened I thought you  were coming home, I  don’t understand. 

Well it seems he never told Angela about wanting to  come home because he had started having difficulty  breathing  they  went to  South Pointe again.  They  prescribed oxygen to  help  with  the breathing, they  though  he might have the flu.

Oh  that damned flu  shot , I didn’t think  it was the flu  I thought that shot is giving a false reading

but then I thought

it can’t be that bad they  would have kept him in.

The man with  the oxygen tank arrived, hooked  up  this cylinder type tank and Chris looked a little better.  After he left Chris wanted to  watch  a movie . I remember his words so  clearly , he was trying to  put on a movie and the exertion of going across the room  took everything he had.

“This is like drowning must be, not being able to  breathe is so  dibilitating , it is worse than the cancer. Mum what ever don’t let me be pathetic because I  am pathetic now” 

Oh Chris you  aren’t pathetic, you  are wonderful I  love you  and this is  the flu.

 

In my  heart of heart  I knew this was not the flu. I didn’t know what to  say  or do  I  just sat an watched the tv screen, I couldn’t even tell you  what the movie was. I just sat in the chair wanting to  scream out loud to  the gods, to  fate, to  whomever and  desperatly  trying not let my son see I was petrified for him.

He would dose off for a few minutes and then wake fitfully. About 11 pm  Angela called:

She said that she had been speaking to  her father and mother and they  decided they  needed to  get Chris back  to  Houston.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing

Angela,  and her  parents were making arrangements to put Chris  on a damned train to Texas.   They  had made arrangements  for Chris to  leave at three ( four hours from now) she would be home to  help  get him packed  and help  to  get to  the Amtrack station  and take a train to  Chicago , change trains to  Austin and then it was ONLY  a three hour drive to  Houston!

I was incredulous  what were these people thinking ? This young man dragging around an oxygen tank, had to  have help  getting to  the bathroom. He couldn’t even make it downstairs.

For Christ sake those parents might be intellectually  challenged, in my  opinion,  but Angela was a  resident  soon to  be physician, she had to know that would kill him a journey  like that !

Was I supposed to  go with  him him in 4 hours with  just an overnight bag. I really  couldn’t credit what I  was hearing , surely  they  did not expect  Chris to  drag around on his own.

I said there was no  way  that would be possible.

Chris overhearing the conversation was desperate to  get back to  Houston, he thought they  were his only  hope  and he would fight to  get there .

I knew it would be disasterous  to  even attempt that journey  and for ONCE  in this whole fisaco  of Lombardi-ism I put my  foot down and said NO! that was not going to  happen.

I told Chris,

“Look there is no  way  either of us could make that journey and I  WILL be going with  you , trust me on that . I will start calling around for options in the morning , if I have to  charter a plane or hire an ambulance or drive a damned RV to  Texas myself  I will.”

He said

you can’t drive to Texas

I will do  what ever needs to be done I  will call Dr. Younes in the morning and see what HE suggests.

He then slept for a little and I sat up with him all that night watching every  rise and fall of his chest, every  whince, every  sound………

That was the first night  of two weeks of not sleeping for more than three hours at a time………………………….

 

January 3, 2022 at 2:12 pm 1 comment

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

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

May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- 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)

Houston Days and Nights- continued

I haven’t the words to eloquently or adequately   explain the emotions that crash  in and out of your being as you  watch your child battle to  stay  alive. This enemy, came to  conquer , not with guns , bombs or knives it was insidious in its will to  win turning the very  body  of  its victim  against itself. Cells that were made large so  the pumps of the body (lymph nodes) plug  and distort. It circulated through  the life giving blood stream through  the lungs causing coughing that wracked the very  body  trying to deal with  the attacks.  Cancer in all its forms is and obscenity .

I tried so  hard to  keep  cheerful, what 29 year old wants to  be with  his mother. I  know he wanted Angela there knowing the trial was his last hope for a cure or at least remission. I know he wanted to  spend what time he had left with  her . I know I  was the best of a bad deal . I argued with  myself, stop  watching his every move, deliberately  giving him space, taking myself out to  the  pool side to  read, even though  I  was petrified of the little gecko  things running about the pergolas and tables, I  didn’t scream when  they  ran across my  foot or thought I was a roadway  across a chair.

Chris, would spend time going to  the rifle range or to Cabelas.  We tried to  see some of the area when we could and when he felt up to  it.  JD  and Karen, had been out of town for a bit. Chris, after one of the infusions  of SGN 35 could barely  speak the the next day  but when JD called he put strength into  his voice so  JD would not realize how poorly  he was feeling.

Tears welled up  in my  eyes and I  had to  go  out into  the lawn area and have a silent cry  by  myself. Only  I wasn’t by  myself one of the other residents I had noticed  sitting by  the pool, looking as I must look, was there.  She looked up  and me as I was not winning the battle of holding in the tears and noticed she too was crying. She reached up to  hold my  hand  and I  sat down and there we sat for a long time. Two  humans knowing nothing about each other, never speaking  sharing  the impact of cancer. I learned she too, was caring for her  grown daughter as the husband had to  stay  in Indiana for his job and children.  Her daughter was also  on a trial at MD Anderson and a last hope.

 

Hands – Touching- Hands – art work Christopher Ritchey

On the good days we toured Houston. He had wanted to  go  horse back riding. I hadn’t been on a horse in 20 years ( I was then  a lot thinner and in better shape)  and Chris  hadn’t ridden since he was a little one. I made arrangements for the following day. Of course,  that night poured with  rain and  a warm front came  dripping over Houston. I  wrote on my  blog at the time :

NOOOOOO!!! this isn’t a picture of the horse after I rode it. Whew! 90 degrees yesterday after a rain that could’ve floated a boat. My foray into the wild west “avec” plastic helmet. I realize that horse rentals have to protect their clients but you tend to lose heat through your head … just ask a politician 🙂 and when it is covered with plastic and foam OMG!!!! Anyway 2 hours later after riding through swamp and shrub and bush I now remember why cowboys are bowlegged. 

Chris, had become very  interested in life in Texas , so  different from Lorain , Ohio.  One of our days ( again in that heat) was spent at George Ranch Historical Park. It was fascinating seeing the 1830’s cabin and farm  the humble beginnings  to  the 1930’s house “George Cattle Complex” . Of course then there was that oil that helped

“The discovery of oil on the Ranch in the 1920s changed the fortunes of the family and the community forever. The George’s son and only child died while just a toddler and their beloved cousin and presumed heir Mary died tragically when she was a young woman. With no living heirs and a considerable estate, the Georges established The George Foundation to ensure that their wealth would continue to benefit communities across the county into the foreseeable future. This charitable Foundation still exists and gives back today and helps bring you the story of the remarkable family who loved, grieved, rejoiced and lived on this enduring stretch of Texas prairie.”

It was a good day  and Chris was enthusiastic. I  was once again feeling like I would die from the humidity  and heat at any moment but we laughed  and enjoyed a day  without the mention of Doctors or cancer . I would have put up with  heat, humidity  and wading across  the little river filled with  alligators just to  see him smile and laugh .

Mothers and Fathers who  are losing their child will do  the deal with  God, the stars , fate  whatever they  believe, ”

“take me instead  let my  son/ daughter have life and laughter and old age…………”

To  be continued………

 

May 3, 2021 at 1:53 pm 3 comments

April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey


untitled

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)

Houston: Days and Nights continued:

Being able to  sleep at night did not last long. Although,  I  was more relaxed because I  could try  and take care of Chris, see to  his needs, cook for him I spent my  days watching every  nuance of his being, and nights listening to  his cough  and worrying. 

After the first weekend we settled into  a routine of trips to  the hospital , taking the infusions and blood test. One of the protocols of the trial of SGN 35 involved writing down  and filling in a daily  chart as to  his  physical and mental responses each  day, reactions to  the medications etc.

A Pivotal Open-Label Trial of Brentuximab Vedotin for Hodgkin Lymphoma – Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov

Chris, understood,  along with  tests this questionnaire and his answers would be part of the decision making as to  whether he would be able to  continue with  the drug/infusion SGN 35. And that is a problem, when you are told you  last chance for a “cure” ( there is that word used by  Dr. Brad Pohlman a couple of weeks prior basically  giving Chris the death  sentence) you  will do  anything to  stay  on the trial. Chris would duly  fill out the questionnaire every  day  and turn it in on his appointment days. The problem is  I know his pain level was NOT a three, that he was not having any  significant side effects.

After the first week I went to  the evaluation with  Dr. Younes’ PA, she was extremely  nice  but was concerned as Chris had lost 4 lbs. since she had seen he and Angela that 1st week. I wanted to tell her that he probably  had had nothing to  eat but a plate of spaghetti for days but kept my  mouth  shut.  I assured her I  would be cooking his meals at least three times a day . When we met with  Doctor Younes Chris asked him  for a prescription for Oxycodone  for pain. I watched the Doctors face 

“You shouldn’t be feeling pain on that level, why are you  on Oxycodone it isn’t in your notes….”

I immediately  realized Chris had committed a grave sin in asking. I knew Angela had a prescription filled for him from the Clinic. I hurriedly  stated. 

Oh! he was given a few after the lumpectomy when they  did the biopsy on his neck  a few days ago  and he was in a lot of pain after that surgery  and  that is why as the prescription  was only  for a few of them. 

That seemed to  satisfy  the doctor. When Angela called that evening I  explained what happened and that the Dr. had prescribed Darvon . I  mentioned the Doctor was not happy  with  Chris being on the Oxycodone  . She just  giggled and said

don’t worry  I  will get Chris a prescription….. Darvon  is nothing more than Tylenol and does nothing” . 

Darvon

Well I wasn’t going to argue after all she was the 3rd year Resident. Apparently  by  this time Chris had developed a tolerance to  pain killers. He told Angela the Darvon wasn’t doing anything  and she said just double the dosage, until I  come down next week . Keeping my  mouth  shut was getting more and more difficult. 

Hurricane Ike had left its mark on many areas even a year later. We decided to take a drive to Galveston, I had been there with Nikki for dance competitions a few years previously and it was very interesting. Unfortunately, Ike had done a lot of damage and it was depressing . On the way Chris got a phone call from the Cleveland Clinic. The results of the compatibility test for his sister being a donor for the stem cell transplant were in. They asked if Nikki was his twin because the results were extremely good , very high and they usually don’t get those type of results except with identical twins

Breathing a sigh of relief as we now had another option in our arsenal we stopped for lunch. Our view of the sea front was dismal

.

The Flagship Hotel remains after Hurricane Ike destroyed most other businesses on the coastline in Galveston, Texas, Sept. 19, 2008. U.S. Sailors assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) are providing defense support to the city?s civil authorities. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Chris Hoffpauir/Released)

 

There was one seafood restaurant open and we sat in the balcony over looking what was once the USS Flagship Hotel.

I deserved and needed  a drink, something I don’t often do . The pier on which the Hotel was located obviously had been pretty hard hit . The waiter told us a lot of the business along the sea wall had not survived. Chris walked down along the beach and called Angela with the results from the Clinic and I sat on the bench and called Nikki. Once again HOPE!!!!!

To be continued

April 3, 2021 at 12:04 pm 1 comment

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