Right after Wayne passed away, I used to have flashbacks all of the time. They would occur pretty much anytime things were quiet and I didn't have anything else for my mind to think about. I used to hate driving because almost as soon as the engine started I would be back in my bed, waking to a loud crash down the hall. Over time the flashbacks got further and further apart. They stopped all together a few months ago....until the night before last. It is almost as though I am right back in those days right after he died....every time there is a quite moment I am back there...reliving the worst nightmare of my life. This morning as I woke up with the remnants of a very bright hospital hallway still lingering in my mind, I thought that maybe it is time that I finally write it down and let go of the details that I have been holding in for a year.
It was just like any other Friday afternoon at work. Things were busy but starting to wind down. Wayne was at work that day too, which was a place he hadn't been for quite a while. He had been picking up contracts after being laid off almost a year prior, and the contract he was currently working was one that they wanted him in the office for.
My cell phone rang and it was Wayne. I remember looking at the clock thinking it was a bit odd because it was 1pm. I could normally tell you exactly what time it was by Wayne's phone calls. He would always call me at 11:30am when he went to lunch and then he would call me again at 4pm when he was leaving work and heading home. Even after he go laid off, he kept the same schedule with the phone calls...habit I guess.
I answered the phone and my concern increased. He sounded worried; almost scared. He told me that he had gone downstairs at the office to use the restroom and when he got back upstairs he couldn't breath. He said that no matter how hard he tried he just couldn't catch his breath and he didn't feel very well either. I asked him if he wanted me to come get him and he said no. He said that he was going to just head home and rest for a while. I asked him if he wanted me to go home early and sit with him and he said no to that as well. I told him to make sure to call me when he got home and he said that he would.
About an hour later he called and said that he was at home. I asked him again if he wanted me to come home as well and he told me not too. He said that he was starting to feel better all ready and it was no big deal. I translated that to mean that it was Friday and he just didn't want to work anymore so he had come up with a reason to go home...men, right?
That night I got home and he seemed okay. He was tired and looked kind of warn out but he really did look okay. Maybe he was coming down with the flu?
We got up on Saturday and Wayne said that he was feeling great. It must have been just a little bug or something. The doctor had told him last week that he was clear to start exercising so he wanted to go over to the clubhouse in our neighborhood and workout for a while. We got dressed and I grabbed my MP3 player with a walking program on it and we headed over. I jumped on the treadmill and started my program while he kind of walked around the room for a minute trying to decide what he wanted to do. He decided that the elliptical would be good and jumped up on it. About 2 minutes in he was off again. He said that it hurt his foot and it kind of made his chest hurt so he switched over to the stationary bike and started on that. 3 minutes later and he had stopped that too. He said that he was having a hard time breathing again. I asked him if he wanted to go back over to the house and he told me to finish my walk. In all honesty, I got kind of frustrated with him. I figured that he had just decided that he didn't want to work out after all. So, he sat there on the bike and watched me finish my 30 minutes on the treadmill.
When I was done, we walked back over to the house and went in. He struggled a little bit with the stairs, but not too much. He said that he just wanted to rest. Over then next hour or two he seemed to get better again. He said that as long as he didn't exert too much effort that he felt fine. So, we stayed in for the rest of the day and let him get some rest.
Wayne wasn't feeling very well when we got up on Sunday morning. He said that he was having a hard time breathing when ever he got up to use the restroom. I decided that it was time to get him to a doctor. I looked up the local urgent care center and found that it opened at 10 or 11, I can't remember now. We were there when it opened and he was the first patient the doctor saw. The doctor checked his foot for additional infection just in case and said that it was fine. They took a couple of chest X-Rays. I remember that while we were waiting for the doctor, Wayne kept looking at me with this helpless look on his face. I kept joking with him, telling him not to look at me that way. The doctor ended up diagnosing him with Bronchitis. He sent him home with a couple of inhalers and said that he would be good as new in a few days.
That night, I started to feel like I was coming down with something as well. I felt like I had been running a marathon. I didn't feel like I couldn't breath; I just felt tired.
I woke up on Monday still feeling run down. Wayne was worse. He couldn't even shift positions on the couch without getting completely winded. I called in sick to work that day. As we sat on the couch watching TV, Wayne started giving me that look again...the one he had been giving me at the doctor's office. It was like he was begging me to do something. I knew in my gut that something was really wrong. I called his doctor as soon as they opened and got him an apt for the same day.
His doctor ran a few more tests; took some more X-rays. They gave him a breathing treatment which seemed to help a little bit. The doctor confirmed the previous diagnosis of Bronchitis and sent him home again. I spent the rest of the day doing everything I could to make Wayne comfortable. I made sure that he had his meds, and that he ate. The only times he got up from the couch were to go to the restroom and then when we went to bed.