Monday, June 08, 2015
Bethany Bugay, 1960-2015
She had a very difficult recovery from that, but she seemed to have recovered completely after a while. Indeed, these last three years have been a beautiful time for us, a true gift.
Recently, she has been feeling very good and healthy (after almost three years of being totally sedentary), and she started doing work in the yard. I think this became the thing that ultimately killed her.
She worked in an “assisted care” living center – not quite a nursing home where patients required medical care, but they were old and frail enough to require lots of other care. She loved the people she cared for, and because of her medical training, she was even able to save a few lives through the magic of CPR.
She had worked the prior evening, from Thursday night to Friday morning. She came home and slept, as she usually did, and I put in most of a day’s work. (I work at home). She got up, we chatted around the house, I was getting droopy, so we laid down to watch TV and we both dozed.
I slept about a half hour – she cuddled up close to me and we just fell asleep watching a Mafia documentary on NetFlix. (She was a prolific TV watcher). When I got up, I made some more phone calls. By 5:00 when I was done, she was up and about. I poked my head in the bedroom, and she said, “I hope you don’t mind, I ate all of the cabbage soup you made (it was a one-time experiment, making cabbage soup. But she loved it).
We went outside for a bit; we talked a bit about what I had been doing at work; she smoked a cigarette. She has been enjoying life greatly the last couple of years. In recent weeks, she has felt strong enough to do some yard work for the first time in years. (And of course, she loved protecting her yard work and garden from the local vermin). She had been digging up Yucca plants, and if you go to her Facebook page, you’ll see that she had posted photos of this titanic struggle. I think the combination of her sedentary life these last years, and the new (and quite determined) exertions led to the heart attack.
While we were talking, she said, “I feel funny”. It seemed as if her heart started racing, she got cold and clammy. She said “I have to go to the bathroom”. While she was sitting on the toilet, she said, “get me a baby aspirin, and call 911”. I said, “are you sure?” She said “yes”. She knew what was happening. I hesitated because we don’t have good insurance, and I wanted to see if it would pass.
I got the aspirin and water for her. She went into the bed to lie down, but all she could do was to crumple in a pile on the bed. She said “I can’t move”. That’s when I got the phone and called 911. In the meantime, she had gone back into the bathroom. I found her on the toilet, and she said, “I think I crapped myself”. While I was on the phone with 911, they were asking me for symptoms, so I was asking her. And she was telling me ... “sudden heart rate, shallow breathing, cold, clammy skin, a pain in the center of my back”. I tried to gently rub her back. 911 told me the ambulance was on their way and so I put the phone down and went back to help her.
She said, “I’m going to have to lie down, get some towels out of the cupboard, spread them out, and help me lie down here”.
When Beth was nine years old, her mother had the first episode that had led to her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. She was in a grocery store with her mom and her little sister, when her mother fell down and lost her bowels and made a mess. She was a little girl, asking for someone to help her mother, and no one seemed willing to help.
I got a blanked and rolled it up to make her head comfortable, then I got some scissors and proceeded to cut off her panties and clean her up with baby wipes. I had her all cleaned up; her head started to twitch. I could see that her eye had rolled up into her head and she took her last breath. I kissed her and said “I love you”. Then I heard the ambulance, and I ran out to get the attendant. I told her it had only been about 30 seconds since her last breath, and so they commenced CPR. They said that they had gotten a pulse maybe some 20 minutes down the line, but it didn’t matter.