Editor-at-Large: As I See It A Journal Entry
(Column: Editor-At-Large: As I See It)
I'll try to write and figure out why I am low in mood. At times after "clearing my cash register" by writing, problems seem to lessen. It is two in the morning and I can't sleep. Maybe if I clear my thoughts, I'll relax and get some sleep. So I'll write an entry and hope for relief.
My wife Reta died almost a year ago. I feel in worse shape now than when she died. Her death was sudden. One minute she was alive and a minute later her face contorted. As she shrank in a chair, I called 911.
Firemen from around the corner arrived before the medics. Eventually five helping hands tried to revive Reta. She wasn't breathing and her heart had stopped. For forty-five minutes as a team, they worked on Reta. Their efforts paid off. They obtained a heartbeat and Reta was on oxygen.
At first I was told she was partially brain-dead. That gave me hope. Maybe I thought she would come out of the coma. Just maybe like a stroke victim she would walk with a cane or walker. Just maybe I had my hopes.
I had a good reason to hope. Twice before Reta was in a coma and came out of it. Actually I was more frightened the first time. Her being stretched out on our bed with an oxygen mask and tubing coming in and out of her body had me deeply wounded. Later, I stayed by her side for hours at the hospital waiting. I eventually walked home to get rid of the tension.
I came back the next day and sat beside Reta's bed. I brought along a stuffed straw man I bought for her Halloween birthday. She awoke shortly after I arrived. So there was hope. Maybe it would happen again. All I had was hope.
The doctor said if she survived the next twenty-four hours she stood a chance. Reta lasted eleven hours. The announcement came on my answering machine as I slept. By one I was back at the hospital. I wanted to donate her brain to McLean Hospital's Brain Bank for psychiatric research. Reta and I had discussed it. We would sign for each other to release our brains if necessary.
Reta wasn't all that well for a long time. She used an inhaler regularly for asthma. Eventually, it was needed more and more frequently. Her legs would swell making a car service necessary. It was too painful for her to walk. She generally got out for therapy, pyschopharmacology and medical appointments.
Reta watched a lot of TV. She couldn't stand up often to cook. I either cooked or we ate fast food. At times she pushed herself to cook when I was deeply depressed. Reta needed a new heart valve and bypass surgery. Rightly so, she was scared. She never lived long enough for her surgery.
Well, I guess I really knew all long that it was the loss of Reta that was depressing me. She was such a large part of my life. At least Reta didn't suffer in the end. She had enough pain through the years.
Writing did help once again. A certain amount of emotional energy was released. My depression is still there. But for the moment I feel better. Good night Journal.