my husband is critically ill, i am terrified

(378 Posts)
lemontruffles Tue 01-Jan-13 04:38:00

My husband has severe copd (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and yesterday had a severe exacerbation. This means he couldn't breathe properly and is now in hospital.

He is on a ventilator, and not responding well to this treatment after about 40 hours on the ventilator. I am utterly terrified.

I've come home to try to sleep, but can't.

He is only 61. He is terrified too. I simply can't think straight and am in a new and appalling world where nothing is right and everything is terrifying. I can't stop shaking with fear. Please hold my hand.

Susieloo Thu 03-Jan-13 05:42:54

I know it must be unbearable and I just can't imagine what you are going through. You will survive and at the moment just breathe while your mind tries to comprehend and process what has happened.

Thinking of you xxx

mathanxiety Thu 03-Jan-13 05:58:44

If you're up, Lemon, just know there are people all over the place thinking about you and wishing you comfort.

poachedeggs Thu 03-Jan-13 06:11:39

So sorry for your terrible loss sad

KnottyLocks Thu 03-Jan-13 08:17:30

So very sorry.

Your husband sounds like a wonderful man. So sorry for your loss. X

ohmeohmy Thu 03-Jan-13 08:32:22

Lemon, winstons wish can help you help your children. they are very experienced. Call them.

Piemistress Thu 03-Jan-13 08:36:02

So sorry to hear about your loss lemons. Please take care xx

Casserole Thu 03-Jan-13 08:52:55

I am so sorry for your immense loss.
Xenia is right, there will always be someone here for you.
Just survive the next 15 minutes, is my advice. And then the nexr x

LottieJenkins Thu 03-Jan-13 09:16:47

I am so sorry Lemon. I lost my lovely dh suddenly to COPD eleven and a half years ago. I see that Northern gave you some advice. Not sure if she said this but someone gave me some advice. Send his driving licence and passport back to be declassified. The lady who told me to do this had had her late husbands passport stolen from their house by someone who tried to remove money from their joint bank account with it. Luckily the bank manager was a famiy friend and prevented it happening. Sending love and hugs............

MrsPennyapple Thu 03-Jan-13 09:37:19

Lemon I find that in times of crisis, when so many thoughts are flying round your head, this way and that way, banging into each other and exhausting you, writing them down helps.

Whilst they are buzzing round my head, they are not complete thoughts, they are fragments, half-questions, odd words and feelings I sometimes can't put a name to. The act of turning these thoughts into sentences seems to "complete" the thought, so it's no longer crashing around in my head. For me, it really helps to get them out of my head and onto paper, I hope it is some help to you too.

lemontruffles Thu 03-Jan-13 11:25:19

Thank you for all the practical advice and guidance you are giving me. I'm slowly starting to try to make a list of paperwork things that need to be done though its so hard to plan anything because this morning I can't seem to think at all, let alone organise and plan things.

My husband was an extraordinary man. He was full of imagination and he loved going off into great flights of fancy: he loved loved telling huge shaggy dog stories, just to amuse and entertain himself.

He was amazingly wise about other people. He was very non judgmental and exuded a heartfelt warmth to everyone around him. Other people loved him deeply. He never ever accepted any bullshit from anyone.

He was extremely physically and mentally adventurous, full of energy and zest. He was amazingly beautiful.

The last two years have been terrible. He has gradually become more and more physically disabled, and restricted by his illness. During this time he became fearful for the first time in his life. He changed from being fearless to fearful. But he continued doing everything he could to protect us, to love us, to never burden us with his fears.

He was a welshman through and through, and loved the countryside passionately. He loved walking, and we walked and walked together, in intimate silence, for many miles and many years. Then later we'd go to the pub, have a couple of drinks, and his happiness would flow out all around us, his sheer delight and joy about our walks,our lives together, us, everything alive in this world we live in.

When he was ill, and couldnt walk any more because his lungs were too damaged, he sat at home at watched birds flying, he loved crows because he said they were cheeky.

It's lovely to tell you a bit about him.

I am so heartbroken because how can I carry on without the man that I dream with, and walk with, and hold so tight. He never wanted to let me go, he fought for us to the very end, I am bereft beyond words.

lemontruffles Thu 03-Jan-13 11:27:07

I am writing partly to try to give some reality to this horror. I don't know if it helps, but this writing, and receiving your replies, is calming. Thank you all so much.

ladymariner Thu 03-Jan-13 11:36:28

Please continue to write, it gives you comfort and we're here listening to you, your dh sounds a truly wonderful man, and the joy of his his love for you wil always be with you.

I love crows too!!! Xxxxx

Justus Thu 03-Jan-13 11:40:03

Lemon, I have just come across your postings as I return to this site after some years, looking too for support.
But to you first, all of my very best wishes and hugs and thoughts. I agree with all the other who say you write so beautifully about your husband, so honestly. You come across as such a lovely person, and he must have been a lucky man to have spent precious years with you. It is terrible when someone close dies, must be awful for you watching him go, but you gave him all the love and support a person could want while dealing with such an experience. Be proud of that, and of your love for each other. You are a good woman, who loved him so well. You will always love him. Whatever happens in the future you will know, silently, that you have his love deep inside you, helping you through life. It is terrible now, but your joint experiences can never be taken from you. They are with you always.
And in the short term, when times are hard, do think about all of the posters here on the site who are willing you on, holding your hand and hugging you, if only in our thoughts.

BellaVita Thu 03-Jan-13 11:52:17

It is lovely to read about him Lemon.

I have been thinking about you and your family every day.

Much love xx

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Thu 03-Jan-13 12:10:06

It is lovely to hear about him - he sounds like a truely wonderful man. I'd love to hear more about the things he loved and the things you shared together, if you want to tell us?!

They say 'Better to have loved and lost, than not to have loved at all'. I know some people think it's trite, but try to focus on how lucky you were to have had him for the years you did have him, how happy you have been, how loved you have been - it's not something everyone has.

Lots of love and strength

Rosa Thu 03-Jan-13 12:38:12

Lemon its lovely to read about your wonderful husband he sounded like a great man. Glad you are managing to start to make a list there is some wonderful advice on here.

lemontruffles Thu 03-Jan-13 14:17:52

Can anyone tell me about rising panic? I am struggling to control a strong sense of terrible panic today, has anyone else experienced this? It feels as though its going to overwhelm me and break me, I'm very scared. I have a rota of amazing friends and family who are here day and night for these early days so I am not alone, but the panic is dreadful. Thank you all.

Susieloo Thu 03-Jan-13 14:28:54

I don't have any experience but I'm bumping for you in the hope someone more knowledgeable will come along xx

Xenia Thu 03-Jan-13 14:31:06

You certainly show your love for him. I am sure you will carry on because that is what he would want particularly for the child/children and because there is no other way than not doing what needs to be done and if nothing else it distracts people but do let others help if there are things they can do and tasks they can share.

I think a lot of people cope until all the arrangements are over, funeral is done etc and then perhaps that rising panic comes to the surface. I have not lost by death a spouse so I cannot entirely understand all your feelings but you seem to be doing incredibly well.

It is always hard to decide when to give in to thoughts and let them over take us (a good cry usually does people good) and when to try to change the thought to something else which is a well recognised technique but must be very hard if you are recently bereaved.

I think routines help everyone including children so if you can eat good foods at the same time every day and try to be in bed even if not sleeping for good long periods every night that will help.

Happiestinwellybobs Thu 03-Jan-13 14:46:06

I have no practical advice I'm afraid and there are others on here wiser than me. But I know that the panic will not "break you". You sound a strong person, even though you may feel anything but strong at the moment. I think this panic sounds like a very normal response to the loss of your beloved husband - who sounds like a beautiful man by the way. Don't be afraid to let these feelings out. Use your support network both in RL and on here.

I'm sorry I can't be more help. I am sending you love and strength to get through these dark days

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Thu 03-Jan-13 15:00:56

Lemon - how old are your children?

The panic is 'normal' (within a whole range of normal things, not everyone will get it, but most will). Part of your brain is in denial. Part of your brain is thinking ahead - worrying how you will cope without him, how you will carry on, how you will make decisions, wondering how you keep going - it is a BIG BIG thing to lose your DH, your partner - the person you rely on more than anyone for love, support, joing decisions... it is normal to panic. It is a scary feeling but it will happen less and less and less until one day it is, at most, a very occasional feeling. Try to hang onto the fact that nothing will actually happen, it's just a feeling - take deep breaths, actively think 'relax/breath', remember that your family and friends are and will be there to help you - you aren't alone. Essentially - talk to youself, be kind to yourself x

CornyClam Thu 03-Jan-13 15:46:47

Perhaps the feeling of panic is your body responding to the terrible shock of losing dh.
You must have been through so many extreme emotions in the last few days x

sittinginthesun Thu 03-Jan-13 16:12:22

Lemon <hugging you> panic is very normal. Your body is in shock, and your mind is trying to process everything that has happened and is happening to you.

When you truly grieve, your body shuts down certain parts of you that you need need - it also releases huge amounts of adrenalin to enable you to cope. There is so much physical stuff going on, that never gets explained to you.

Take one day at a time, be prepared for your body to react, maybe try and get some fresh air and go for a walk if you can.

And please keep talking. Xxx

Absolutely - your body does some odd, odd things to get you though this. Nevermind all the romantic Brontesque types of grief - for me grief when we lost my bil was composed of several deeply mundane physical experiences - firstly the feeling of utter crushed sadness when you wake up. The mornings were the most awful time of the day. Secondly and very unromantically - constipation. Your gut is incredibly sensitive and can basically pack up altogether for a bit. One reason why I urge you to drink lots! Thirdly - I developed a twitch in my right eye lid. Drove me mad. Just I was about to go the doctor it eased up.
Two women I know who've lost their fathers have both described the panic to me. In both cases it didn't hit them until after they'd got their mums through the funeral and thought they were getting back to normal.

What we all have in common through these different experiences of grief and loss is that we did get through it, we will get through it, you will too. These desperate feelings will change and pass. What will never go is your love for your husband. It endures forever. A bond that is unbreakable. Don't fear losing that because you never will.

Lemon, the panic is awful I know, especially in the first little bit, for me it was a physical pain, which was so frightening. At this very early time, all you need to do is breathe, let everyone around do the rest.

Keep talking and writing about your husband, you write such beautuful things about him. Will keep `checking in` and holding your hand. x

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