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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Screaming in the Shower - © Claudia Schlottman

Last night night I stood in the shower and screamed, shampoo running into my eyes and into my wide open mouth.  I thought I would drop to my knees, but I held myself upright, rinsed my eyes and mouth, them slid down the shower wall and covered my face and screamed until my throat ached and I was hoarse.  I washed but couldn’t remember what parts I had washed so I did it all over again.  I poured conditioner on my hair and finally stood to rinse it out.

One year ago today, we had been home from New Orleans and Baton Rouge for 3 days, and Clint was dying.  He tried to tell me, but I could not hear.  My depression was getting on his nerves, and he was getting on mine because he was so cranky.  (Later I would learn that his blood ammonia level was getting high, which is part of end stage liver disease and causes personality changes).  

We drove to New Orleans on May 13, spending one night on the road because travel was so hard for Clint.  His 50th Medical School Reunion at Tulane was on Friday, the 15th, and I wanted him to have a day to rest.  (I believe in my heart that he willed himself to stay alive to go to that reunion and then drive to Baton Rouge to see Prentiss and Susan).  When I look back at how erratic his behavior was on that trip I should have suspected he had elevated ammonia levels.  But my denial was overwhelming. I was not capable of believing what I knew in my nurse’s head but could only work with what was in my heart.  I was not ready to believe he would die.  I’m still not ready for him to die, and he's been dead nearly a year.  These next weeks are going to be hell.

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