I ran out of fingers…

Seems to be a running joke if you’re from Kentucky, you use your fingers to count.  When you run out of fingers, you use your toes.  Everyone assumes in Kentucky, we run around barefoot all the time.  We learned how to count using our fingers and toes.  Funny as it sounds, I’m used to the teasing. 

Today I ran out of fingers.  Chubs has been gone 11 years today. I can no longer count the years on my hands.  I refuse to move to my feet.  Time passes way too fast.  People talk about it all the time in conversation, but until you experience it in a loss, you realize how fast it’s moving, whether you like it or not.  A lot has happened in 11 years..so much I haven’t been able to share with him, but yet it feels like I just lost him. 

In that time I became a college gadguet.  Gots the diploma to prove it.  I have seen NKOTB twice.  I changed careers.  Traveled around the globe with my hunka hunka.  And then I lost Moma.  That part he knows.  Don’t think I’m not jealous of that!  He’s with her now, while I’m here without them both.  I wonder how time is in Heaven.  Is our one year on Earth like one day in Heaven?  Maybe their time from me is nothing like my time from them.

Chubs passed on a Sunday, just like today.  It was a week after the Giants shockingly defeated the Patriots.  Justin Tuck should have won that MVP, but they gave it to Eli Manning because Peyton won it year before.  That’s another blog in itself.

The week leading to Chubs’ death was memorable, actually more unbelievable.  Chubs wasn’t quite right on Saturday, February 2, and was taken to Madisonville hospital because they were better at treating his hemophilia.  He mimicked signs of a brain aneurysm, but nothing. 
The doctors performed a CT scan, with and without dye, no aneurysm.    We have had two other family memories with hemophilia die of a brain aneurysm. 

I remember spending most of Super Bowl Sunday with Chubs at the hospital.  He wasn’t talking that day.  I requested half days at work for the upcoming week.  I would drive to Madisonville in the afternoon, and Jim would be there in the evenings.

My favorite picture of my brothers and me

On Monday the doctor came by while I was there and wasn’t quite sure what was going on.  Nor did we. 

On Tuesday, Chubs was talking a little more.  He wanted to watch “Little House on The Prairie”.  He loved that show so I took it as a sign of improvement. 

On Wednesday, he was super chatty.  He said the doctor told him he showed no signs of aneurysm, even though he had no recollection of the past few days.  Chubs also said the doctor said he showed no signs of diabetes.  Huh?    Not sure about that one, but okay.  We laughed so much that day.  He had trouble talking.  His voice box was a little strained.  We would text each other.   He let me take care of him that day, and the entire week, something he has never allowed me to do before.  His pride always got in the way.  I remember helping him to the bathroom and with his lunch, just making sure he had all he needed.    

Chubs said the doctor told him he may get to go home on Thursday.  What the heck happened this week?  No signs of ANYTHING.  He had told me he would text me and save me the hour drive if he gets to go home.

I get the text early Thursday morning saying, “I’m going home.”   That would be his last text he would send.  He called me that night because he was happy to be home.  He wanted me to know he had a meeting with Kentucky Hemophilia Foundation the next week, as he served on the advisory board.  He wanted me to go with him.  I felt bad as I had to decline since I took off so much that week.  I promised him I would go to the next one that May. 

Before I got off the phone, he said, “I love you, Micki.”  I can still hear him say because that was something he had never said before.   I even know where I was standing at in my house. I didn’t realize that would be the last time I would ever hear his voice.  Otherwise, I would have kept him on the phone.

On Saturday I received a call from Jim telling me Chubs collapsed.  Bob and I drove over to the house.  He was alive but not responding.  I called the ambulance and sat outside to wait.  I requested he go back to Madisonville since he was just discharged.  What the heck is happening?   The paramedics couldn’t get him stable and asked they take him to Henderson.  We follow the ambulance.  We hadn’t told my mom yet.  We didn’t want to worry her until we knew what was going on.

Dr. Salmon, an amazing ER doc who just recently passed, ordered a CT scan.  He showed us the scan.  I remember Jim, Angie, Bob, and I looking at the pictures on the screen.  Unbelievable.  75% of his brain was bleeding.  There’s no way this could have been missed last week.  Since Chubs was a hemophiliac, surgery was out of the question.  We asked to make him comfortable.  He had said before he was done fighting.  Being a hemophiliac is no cake walk. His precious body was so tired. 

It was time to call Moma.  She and Daddy came up immediately.  They were putting in a morphine pump so he would be comfortable and out of pain.  They transferred him to a room so we could be with him privately rather than in a noisy E/R bay.  This was around 4:00 on Saturday afternoon.

During the night you do what everyone does right before a death, you reminisce about the best memories.  No tears were shed.  We laughed nonstop for many hours.   At interval times, each of us would walk to the bed and whisper to him.  We would tell him how much we loved him.  Quite often, we would tell him it’s okay to go.  We told him we would be okay. 

On Sunday, February 11, at 6:00 am, Chubs stopped breathing.  At 6:20 am, his strong-willed heart finally stopped beating.

I think often of that last text he sent. In essence, he was going home, but to his Heavenly home. I still have that old Nokia phone.  I feel like if I could charge it, the last text message from him would still be there.  I felt for the longest time if I could text him, he would text me back.  You never know…

I’m still in awe of that week leading to his death because it was nothing short of a miracle.  I believe God brought us all together that week for Chubs.  Many firsts, and unfortunate lasts, that week. But those precious memories are memories I will forever cherish.

I kept my promise attending Kentucky Hemophilia Foundation Advisory Board meeting that May. Jim, Angie, Bob and I drove up without Chubs. It was an emotional day, but I had to keep my promise.

This past Thursday I was driving home from work and while flipping radio stations, a song caught my attention. “Go Rest High on the Mountain” by Vince Gill was on. I don’t believe I have listened to that song since Chubs’ funeral. I didn’t want to listen to it, but yet I couldn’t turn the station. I just listened in total silence. Maybe Chubs was letting me know he was thinking of me. Each day Chubs is not here, I know his “work on Earth is done.”

Peace Out, Trout!

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