My wife, Marty, passed away on March 27. Some of you may have seen my posts over the past few years about her ongoing battle with cancer and then Alzheimer’s Disease. No matter; what killed her was an infection called sepsis. It went to her heart and that was that.
There was, however, a spiritual beauty and inspirational moment that occurred during her journey to the end of her life. It happened soon after she was on life support. It showed me clearly why God had brought Marty and me together to begin with and how the power given to a priest through Holy Orders is so awe-inspiring. The following story, published at Aleteia, describes what happened.
I was standing next to an unconscious body that was being kept alive through the use of mechanical means and medications. Somewhere inside that body was my wife, Marty. She was on life support and my work of many years as her caregiver was either on hold or would soon be ended.
Marty has had Alzheimer’s for several years already, but as 2017 arrived, things had spiraled downward. Over these last three months, the disease has been markedly advancing and has affected her walking. Several times, she has even forgotten who I am.
One day a week or so ago, I wanted to give her the afternoon meds. She refused to take them. She said she could not let a stranger give her poison. I am accustomed to her unpredictability but this was a first.
I resorted to having a close friend come over to “identify” me to Marty. My wife was unflappable and refused to give in. After about a half-hour of cajoling, she finally, yet haltingly, relented and took her pills.
Last Thursday, Marty spent most of the day sleeping. She ate nothing. I attributed it to new meds she had been prescribed. Friday the sleeping intensified and again she did not eat. Saturday was worse and late in the afternoon, when I checked her vitals, her oxygen level was at 82.
I called 911.
The paramedics oxygenated her and took her to the ER. She was freezing cold and they discovered her core temperature was down to 93 degrees. Sepsis was suspected and later on validated.
By 4 a.m., she was in ICU and on life support. She had become “unresponsive” and needed to be intubated.
Through my jumbled thoughts in the midst of the commotion, one thought came crystal clear. Call the priest.
Please keep both Marty and me in your prayers.
Copyright 2017 Larry Peterson