Saturday, August 20, 2016
New York City
I was sleeping in the recliner that the nursing staff had found. I think they took pity on me because I was sleeping on two chairs put together. The resident woke me up just after midnight and told me that Bryon’s numbers were looking much, much worse. I called my daughter’s Godmother. I was hysterical and I know I yelled at her after she asked some questions.
I barely slept the rest of the night.
The following morning the resident came in. She came in to tell me what I had been fearing: that Bryon’s heart was going to stop beating that day. I remember staring straight ahead with tears in my eyes. The resident asked me if I wanted to know what was going to happen. Through my tears, I just nodded. She explained to me the there was going to be a lot of yelling and everyone was going to come into the room and work on resuscitating him. She explained that I would need to leave the unit should that happen. I just nodded.
I called my daughter’s Godmother who said she would be at the hospital as soon as possible. I truly don’t know how I would have gotten through the day (or really the past 15 months) without her and her fiance.
I made phone calls. My parents were in Albany with my daughter. I didn’t think it made sense for them to bring her down because Bryon was no longer aware and my daughter would be too young to remember. Plus my parents are from Maine and my father hadn’t been to New York City since 1964 and it didn’t make sense for him to be driving in a city that was unfamiliar when Bryon wouldn’t even be aware.
I called Bryon’s parents and they told me they weren’t coming. As a parent myself, I will never understand their decision. If my daughter were in New Zealand and I heard she was dying, I would be on the first flight I could get across the world. But we all make our own choices in life and we have to live with those choices.
I called some of my friends. Some of them were able to make the trip down to the city that day to say their good-byes.
Specialists came in and out all day. Each one gave me the news that there was nothing they could do. Exploratory surgery would be the only option and he wouldn’t survive a trip to the operating room. I overheard one of the doctors say they were looking for a Hail Mary. I just appreciated that the doctors hadn’t given up on him, even though his death was imminent.
Saturday turned into Sunday. Bryon was still alive. It was my Dad’s birthday. I wrote Happy Birthday on his Facebook wall because I knew my first call to him on his birthday was going to be telling him that Bryon had died.
My daughter’s Godmother stayed with me all night. Neither of us could sleep. I was too afraid that if I were to fall asleep that that would be the moment his heart would stop beating. I didn’t want my last moments with him to consist of me being awoken by commotion. So my daughter’s Godmother and I stayed up all night, taking turns talking to Bryon. Obviously we didn’t know how much he could hear us or understand us or if he could hear us at all.
His vitals were falling. His heart rate and blood pressure dropped to levels that I hadn’t seen in the five months of staring at the monitor. His hand felt cold when I held it.
I was talking to him. I was probably rambling. I remember telling him that our daughter and I were going to be okay. Then I started rambling about shower hooks. Then, at 6:47 am, Bryon’s heart stopped beating.