There were two big differences I guess.
About 3 weeks prior to that appointment we had seen the doctor and for the first time he mentioned that we should consider getting on "the list" again- the list to receive another set of lungs. (Kim had received a Double Lung Transplant the summer of 1998). Kim flat refused to go on the list again. Her main reason was that she felt like she had had her chance and someone else deserved to have theirs as well. Secondly, at that point she really wasn't healthy enough to undergo the procedure.
I remember being really shocked that day. I mean, we both knew the day would come. But when we were told to consider getting another transplant; it hit me. Still...I was thinking we'd get another year together.
Later that day I asked her if she was afraid to die. She said no. Unequivocally. I asked her if she was afraid of anything and her answer was stunning. She told me she was afraid she'd die before school was out that Spring and worried what would happen to Anna in that case. (Anna was a high school Senior that have moved in with us after Hurricane Katrina). I was stunned at realizing that Kim was worried she wouldn't be around another 3 months. I wasn't prepared for that. (For the record, I was not all that surprised that she was concerned for someone other than herself- that fact, plus the fact that I didn't care less what anyone at church or in town thought of me having a high school senior girl living with me prompted me to invite Anna to stay in Gulfport until I left at the end of the year).
The other big difference that day- March 8, 5 years ago. It was a Wednesday. Normally our appointments were on Monday or Thursday and I'd take her. Wednesday was "Church Night". I let her parents take her to the doctor that day. So I was in my office preparing for 605 that night when her Dad called me late that afternoon to tell me not only had they "admitted" Kim- which wasn't unexpected...but that the doctor had said it would be her "last" admission.
Looking back on it now, I realize I went into some form of shock right then and there. A normal person would have dropped everything and took off to New Orleans. Me. I calmly wrapped things up. I made arrangements for that night. In fact, I waited till 6 pm to let everyone know I was going to New Orleans (but I didn't tell anyone how grave the situation was...I'm not sure I really "got it" myself").
So I arrived at Ochsner around 8 pm with one of Kim's favorite foods- Chicken Strips from Canes and I got to spend about 30 minutes with her while she was still cognizant. We had short conversations. We kissed and said we loved one another and then she got increasingly agitated at the I.V.'s which was absolutely not like her. Being a Nurse made her a model Patient! They sedated her to keep her from pulling out the I.V.'s and from there on it was a waiting game until about 1:30 am the morning of March 12.
I was also thinking this week about where I've been and what I've done since then. Here's the journal:
- March 2006- this is what I wrote on my "then" blog- Xanga: http://cwhitedog.xanga.com/456640078/item/
- March 2007- I spent a long, lonely day on a bus from San Salvador to somewhere in Nicaragua: http://clintonwhite.theworldrace.org/?filename=welcome-race-fans&bookmark=true#comments
- August 2007 I wrote about missing Kim during her birthday: http://clintonwhite.theworldrace.org/?filename=feeling-old-and-missing-someone
- March 2008 I finally took off my Wedding Band: http://ministryhappens.blogspot.com/2008/03/empty-handed.html
- March 2009 I was in Ukraine: http://ministryhappens.blogspot.com/2009/03/day-that-was.html
Last year I guess I didn't have internet. I think I wrote something on a computer journal but I don't know where my back-up is.
Today marks 5 years. As you read this I'll be in a van on my way to Mexico for the week.
Life goes on. I wish it could go back.