- Sometimes there are journeys, paths that we must follow – blindly – trusting those professionals that they know what they are doing; so much so that they can instill the knowledge to us. And, we must have faith in ourselves that we can take that knowledge and run with it, even if we feel we are running in the dark.Last month Kimball started having difficulty breathing and we came to find out that liquid was collecting on her left lung. We went in to the hospital for an outpatient procedure, a couple of hours later – bingo – all cured (or so we hoped). A couple of weeks later, and with much difficulty in her breathing, we found ourselves back for another outpatient procedure. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the fluid was continuing to accumulate, they would be placing a drainage tube from her lung sack out the back that would have to be drained daily. They explained that we would have a home nurse; however little did I know that this home nurse was my trainer?Uh, what?! I thought that was what home nurses were for… to NURSE patients in their homes… change bandages, drain lungs. I can’t do this? I’m not a medical professional! How can this be legal?! The only medical training I had (if you can call it that) was CPR training. You know, mouth to mouth? Pump, 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 – Pump… I was freaking out people, what if I hurt her, what if I screw up? But, it is actually quite cool.
They ordered all of our supplies (i.e. gloves, swabs, alcohol wipes, iodine wipes, dressing and tape; even the bottles for the fluid to run into and they can simply be thrown into the trash). So, for the first week our nurse came and did her thing as I watched, she brought supplies to hold us over until our supplies would arrive.
Then, just as we were getting the left side under control, fluid started developing on the right side… I could only hope that I was hiding my terror because deep down I knew what this was leading to. Death wasn’t going to be too far down the road. But I could never say that to Kimball.
We arrived back, and I was determined to make this happen and to make this as comfortable for my sister as possible. You wouldn’t know it to watch it, but this procedure can be very painful. So, I had to be very gentle with how quickly I allowed the fluid to drain (there’s a lever that you can control on the tube with your thumb and can speed or slow the flow – just like with an IV).
Selfishly, I knew that we had our Christian Women’s Retreat in a couple weeks or so and I really thought it would be a great thing for her to simply get out of the house, if only to stay in a hotel room.
Now, remembering that during this time she was getting chemo shots daily, I knew that there was a great deal on her plate and told her that we could work that out. She never went to the retreat and insisted that I go myself. I believe I cried the whole time, I just couldn’t face people.
By that Sunday, I was getting packed to go home when my phone rang… “Hello? Ann, it’s Marnie, Kimball and I are in the ER and I think you should get here right away.” By this time she was so blue they had to admit her. They tried everything they could; her battle would end on March 19, 2012 at approximately 2:18 a.m. The last time I saw her, was the night before, she was in ICU and I was shewed out, but I told her that I would be spending the next day (a Monday) with her and we would watch Dancing with the Stars together, even told her I’d try to smuggle in some yummy snacks. She was on a breathing machine (just for a few minutes). She was so scared and I couldn’t do anything. My last vision of her is holding her little lamb (a gift of Marnie to her). It gave her comfort and I couldn’t. Of all things, I’m not sure I will ever be able to get that vision out of my head or that feeling that I failed her somehow. Nothing else matters when you think of it, but life continues whether you like or not.