The Loss of My Best Friend

     I know it’s been a while since I’ve been here, much has happened this past month.  First and foremost I’ve lost my very best friend in the world.  She was only 46 and I feel lost without her.  I ended up going straight from her funeral to the hospital and I’ve only been home a couple of days.  I haven’t much felt like writing.  I’m completely uninspired.  I wrote the eulogy for her funeral and I’m going to reprint it here.  As always thank you for reading and comments are welcome.

    My name is Lynda, but you wouldn’t recognize it if you ever heard Michelle talk about me, you would know me as Queenie, the name she gave me.  I’d like to tell you about my friend.  She was my sister, not by blood, but by our hearts and souls.

     We couldn’t have been more different her and I.  She was a low maintenance woman, and me, well let’s just say not so much.  I am the picture of a high maintenance woman at least that’s what I’m told.  Evidently, I couldn’t pass for low maintenance if I tried.  In fact the people that know me tell me not to even bother.  Let’s face it, she called me the queen for a reason.  I think that’s why we were destined to be friends, we balanced each other.  I’ll always have her with me, because of Michelle I’m a better wife to my husband, a better mother to my children, and a better friend.  I have certain people in my life because of Michelle, her friends became my friends.

      I thought she was a complete flake, but something kept drawing me to her, and the more I got to know her the more I realized how intelligent she was.  Not just intelligent, she had wisdom, the kind of wisdom that comes from living life in a way that’s honest and true.

     I learned so much from her, when Michelle loved you, she loved you for life, and I never knew anyone more open to giving her love, and it didn’t stop there.  If she loved you she took care of you.  She loved my entire family and when I was in the hospital and couldn’t take care of them myself, she stepped in.  My family was her family and they came to love her too.  She was generous with her time and attention always putting other’s needs a head of her own.

     In the short time we had together, I was in and out of the hospital, mostly in.  She was there for every surgery, and every illness.  When I was in a coma, she was in the ER with me, holding my hand.  She was in my home making dinner for my family, because of her I am a better more generous person.   Not 4 months after the coma I was told I had a tumor in my pancreas’s that was undoubtedly cancer.  It was 2 weeks before I could get to the surgeon in Indianapolis.  She called or came by every day, and before too long she took the crucifix from around her neck and put it on mine.  When I protested that she loved it too much to loan it to me she simply said that she loved me more. I’ll always believe that it was Michelle that started the prayer chain that made the surgeon unable to find the tumor to biopsy that he had so clearly seen on the cat scan the day before.  Last year I was sick with a life-threatening infection in my blood stream that required me to be transferred to a hospital in Indianapolis for a week that required yet more surgery and Michelle never left my side.

      I learned humility from Michelle.  Material things simply didn’t matter to her; she was just as content washing the dishes in the bathtub as she was in the kitchen sink.  I, on the other hand required a dishwasher.  If she had a book and her guitar that was all she needed to be happy, that and the many friends and family that she loved so dearly. She had her own room in my house and yet more often than not she would find her in bed with me, up all night laughing and talking and giggling like a couple of teenagers, usually with my husband begging for quiet so he could sleep.

     We spent a day in Chicago at the International Housewares Show.  We figured we walked 20 miles that day, I finally had something I could do for her.  We met our favorite celebrity chefs, they were like rock stars for us.  When we got off the train in Indiana, muscles we didn’t know we had were begging for mercy yet it was one of the best days either one of us ever had,  I can’t tell you what a privilege it was to be a part of “one of her best days ever.”

     In this past year I’d never seen her happier or look more beautiful.  She was living close to her children and spending more time with her mom and was more content than I’d ever known her to be.  All of this is the legacy she left and I, for one will always honor that.  I’ll leave you with this quote about friendship, author unknown:

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Others stay awhile, make footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same.”


What Was this Doctor Thinking????

     A couple of months after the hospital visit in Indianapolis I got really sick again.  I’m 5’6″ and got down to 110 pounds.  On my large frame it looked terrible.  I was having a pancreatitis flare-up and I was throwing up so much.  My poor husband said I looked like I was wasting away, and told me I really needed to get back to the hospital.  I knew it but was trying to avoid it.  It was time.

     I didn’t go to my usual hospital, I couldn’t deal with the 10 mile drive as sick as i was feeling so I went to the one right down the road from me.  They were bought by another hospital and I was starting to hear good things about them.  I should have known better.

     When I got there the nurse was one that I knew and was very kind.  I told her what had been going on with me and gave her my updated med list.  The doctor came in very quickly and asked me about the dilaudid and morphine, he wanted to know if I had the bottles with me in my purse.  I told him they were at home in a lock box and should I have someone bring them in.  He said not to bother that he would just verify with the pharmacy.  No problem though I thought it was unusual given that it had never happened before.  I also gave him my history and one of the things I mentioned was that when I was on antiflamatories before I got a GI bleed so severe that it put me in a coma and when I arrived at that very hospital my blood pressure was 40/20.  Easily verified because it was at the same hospial.

     He ordered phenergan for the nausea and torodol for pain.  Torodol is an antinflamatory which I refused due to the high risk of GI bleeding.  Then he hurt me.  He ordered a shot of nubain which is a narcotic with an opiate blocker, though I didn’t know that at the time.  He knew and verified with my pharmacy that I was on daily narcotics, the dilaudid and the morphine.  Anytime one is on daily narcotics they develops a tolerance to them and going off of them abruptly will cause physical withdrawal symptoms.  The pain medicine he gave me put me in instant withdrawal thereby making me sicker.  It took a good 6 hours to wear off and at that point I really did want someone to bring in my dilaudid and morphine.  I looked up the nubain when I came home and the manufacturer clearly states that it is not to be used with someone who is on daily opiate/narcotic maintenance, due to the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

     I’m so angry, why on earth did that doctor do that to me?  What was he thinking?  As a patient I have the right to appropriate pain management and that is not what I got.  How could I address this in the future?  I feel like anything I do or say is only going to make me appear “drug seeking.”  I wasn’t seeking drugs I have them at home.  I was however looking for pain relief and that is not what I got.  I feel like the doctor saw my med list and made judgements based on that.  The lab work supported that I was sick and in fact was admitted to the ICU.  The doctor making rounds in the morning would not change the ordered meds and I can only wonder if this is the hospital culture, to avoid the use of effective pain medicine.  I gave them my pain managements number and urged them to call him.  Of course that did not happen.  Please comment and hospitals workers please chime in.  Should I avoid this hospital al together?  That’s what I’m thinking now.

Dodging Bullets

     The title certainly seems to be the theme of the last couple of years.  I have much to tell.  I just got home from being in the hospital in Indianapolis after 8 long days.  The drive home was over 100 miles and I’m just worn out mentally,  physically,  and spiritually,   frankly I’m depleted.

     I’ve been through the gamut of emotions this past week, from despair, to finding whatever humor I could in the situation.  I’ll start blogging about it soon, now I’m still trying to process it all.  My timelines are confused and I haven’t even pieced it all together yet.