Monday, March 14, 2016

#SOL16: The World Is Too Much With Us

Rob at home in December.
Today, I repeatedly had to inform strangers that my husband was dead. A week ago he was still living.  This morning I learned that the death benefit for the surviving spouse via social security was $250. I could not access those funds though, or find out how to begin benefits for my 17-year-old son because the social security worker kept dropping her phone, dropping the call, and when we reconnected finally said I should just make an appointment.  I didn't get to make the appointment either as she hung up.  I had to transfer car, utilities, and cable from Rob's name to mine and all these representatives were lovely although they each ended the call with some variation of:  "Have a nice day." I finally gave up on trying to change the Verizon account on the phone after  90-minutes and went to a store in person where Devon and I were helped and the process was completed. I also disputed a $26,000 bill for spinal surgery (insurance already paid 27,000) that never worked.

The world is too much with us.

In between trying to have accounts changed from Rob's name to mine, I realized that the last social outing Rob and I did was on September 11th and he brought a tank of oxygen with him. He was still recovering from the 7-hour VAT biopsy he had two weeks earlier. We received the diagnosis of stage 3 or 4 lung cancer on September 8.  By September 14th, Rob was contracting staph from an infected port a careless surgeon had inserted into his chest earlier that morning.  From that point forward, Rob did nothing less than fight for his life. It was a battle royal.

During the six months from diagnosis we had just a handful of days that were relatively normal--less than a week. As I think about the events I can't help but wonder if Rob might have been better off not being treated at all. He would have avoided three major staph infections, the weeks of antibiotics for each, thoracic surgery, removal of a rib, losing capacity to walk, spinal surgery followed by rehabilitation that never work, heavy doses of steroids and radiation and two chemo treatments.

My husband never stood again, let alone walked, after December 30th and he died on March 8th.  How much worse could it have been had he said, No to medical interventions?


  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I watched an aunt die of cancer last year, I can't imagine how hard it must be to lose your spouse. Take care of yourselves.


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