Saturday, September 24, 2016

Secret revealed

This is my sharing of grief, loss and the daily act of coping with the death of my loving husband, Kevin. He passed away on June 26th after a devastating year-long battle with lung cancer that metastasized. 

Just had to share this story with you. No need to worry, It ends up being cute and endearing. The usually quiet and slightly shy Kevin partnered up with a neighbor, growing trees in Colorado. News to you? Well it never really happened. And Kevin kept the venture a secret, lest he might embarrass himself by telling Ron.

But first, the back story

Way back in early May 2015, when Kevin was released from the hospital after being diagnosed with lung cancer that spread to his brain, liver and bones, he was prescribed a steroid to help relieve pressure from fluids on his brain. They'd actually started treating him with it two days before he was discharged. I was concerned because he was not acting like himself -- talking to everyone he came across while we walked the halls. Doctors explained this behavior  had to do with the brain tumor and cancer, not the steroid. They told me the same thing when I took him to the emergency room the day after he was released. By then he was having hallucinations, pushing things off tables and was definitely not himself. 

His kidney function was low so he was taking sodium pills and ordered not to drink more than 36 ounces of liquids a day. As it was his kidneys were rejecting liquids which ended up going straight through him and not passed on to his cells. By cutting his intake of liquids, a balance would be struck and back to normal. I still don't get it. He was nuts for water, juice, anything considered liquid. He would gladly have a bowl of canned mandarin oranges, so he could lap up the syrup. 

Stephanie came to help me and Kevin through the week, getting him into treatment at Florida Cancer Specialists. The days between being released from the hospital and his first appointment at FCS  kept us in a panic mode. He was somewhat okay during the day. but by late afternoon he would change.  At times we had to hold on to his arms to keep him in his chair or else he would get up and walk into things like the TV or start knocking things off shelves. Not maliciously. He would get on a phrase and repeat whatever, over and over. Then he concocted stories about water. He would holler and get louder as it got later. This would go on until he went to sleep. Was this the future for us? 

It wasn't until three days after he was released when we found out what really went wrong. It was the combination of the kidney problem-solving sodium/reduced liquids and the steroid that created a drug induced psychosis. When we arrived at the FCS Kevin was babbling and going on trying to talk with everyone in sight. He wasn't making sense. He kind of made up rhymes and repeated them over and over.

It took RN Deedee at FCS five minutes of listening to my story to make the diagnosis. Dr, Tang immediately put Kevin on daily fluid infusions, called off the fluid restrictions and took him off the steroid. It took a few days before he was back to normal. What a relief. 

Deedee told me later she would never forget that day as I sat next to him crying and saying this isn't Kevin. He isn't like this, never.She was a great nurse and they were friends.

Here is a photo of her taken a year ago in September with Kevin

On to the secret story

Okay so now you understand what was going on with Kevin during that week. He carried on all day wanting something to drink. He would insert the word water in every sentence and we couldn't get him away from the subject. Stephanie felt so bad having to limit him to a sip or two through a straw. 

That evening he started telling us this story. He had been staying at the Double Tree and was supposed to get an unlimited amount of special Double Tree bottled water. But they wouldn't give him any of their "god damn water." He was sick and tired of not getting the water he was promised..

"My friend Ron (our neighbor who we barely knew at the time) and I have a plan." he started. " We bought some land in Colorado and we are going to go out there and grow our own water trees. Lots of them, then we'll have all of the water we want.  We'll have our own damn Double Tree water." They were going to be partners, he said. Bottle the water, sell it, drink it and each family would live happily ever after.

He went on and on about his friend Ron, how Ron knows how to do anything. And they might go to Colorado on Ron's motorcycle. It was all Ron for the rest of the evening until he fell asleep.

At least he was happy to have a solution in mind. It was the next day when Dr. Tang said let him drink as much as he wants .Maybe Kevin sensed a solution was just around the corner.

Once he was back to normal in a few days and the psychosis wore off, Kevin didn't remember much of anything that had happened. Stephanie and I brought him up to date with some of what he did and said and we kidded him, just a little. He admitted most of it was pretty funny. Jingles he made up, his failed tricks to get Stephanie to give him water, singing at the top of his lungs during radiation (they had a mic on outside of the treatment room and everyone on the radiation side of  FCS listened and chuckled). It was amusing, he admitted and nothing like his normal self.

But, he didn't want Ron to know about their water tree partnership. Too embarrassing. He reminded me of that every time we saw Ron and when we all attended last year's neighborhood holiday get together at Horst's and Liz's home. 

Ron stopped to say hi as he was passing by the other day and I had to tell him about the psychosis and the water tree story. Ron had a big laugh over it. And a sigh. I think he felt honored to be chosen for this mission, even if it was conjured up in a psychotic blur. Ron said Kevin was a great person, he enjoyed talking to him and felt bad for what happened,. He hadn't had the chance to tell me how sorry he is for our loss. 

I bet Kevin is smiling over all of this. Ron works at the Guardhouse on Mondays and Tuesdays. He would ride by on his motorcycle those early mornings and Kevin would always say, "There goes my friend Ron, off to work. Right on time."

 Here is Kevin with Santa Ron at the guardhouse on December 22, 2015

Have a fun fall weekend. Enjoy life and those you love. Hugs


  1. the house you live in has a lock ,you need a key to open it!people are a lot like houses,,,, they sometimes need a key to open them. IN STEPS RON no more needs to be said.. cept thank god for the rons of the world!!!


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