It was a very busy and happy house in the final week. Friends and family visited every morning and evening. Andrew and I rested in between.
It was a very busy and happy house in the final week.
Andrew was paralysed from his spinal cord compression, so his needs were quite complicated. We had carers come in four times a day to clean and move Andrew. And every afternoon, the district nurses would come in. They would check on Andrew and see how he was doing. And they would sit and talk to me and see how I was.
The district nurses left a box of drugs in our house. They explained to us that they would give Andrew these drugs if his current drugs weren’t able to control his pain. It made me realise that he would actually die soon. But it also reassured me that the nurses were prepared and knew what they were doing.
By then, we had come to terms with things. Andrew turned to me one day and said, “I’m not frightened of dying, I just don’t want to leave you.”
Andrew turned to me one day and said, “I’m not frightened of dying, I just don’t want to leave you.”
The last 24 hours
Andrew deteriorated very quickly one night and was very ill for the last 24 hours.
I rang the district nurse and she came out to check on him. By this time, I knew the nurse well so it was very reassuring to see a familiar face. The nurse arranged for Andrew’s GP to come and visit.
The GP explained to me that Andrew was likely to die very soon. I called a family member and told them that Andrew was slipping away. I asked them to let other family members know so that I didn’t have to call around.
The GP explained to me that Andrew was likely to die very soon.
During that last day, the nurses came and visited us every two hours. One stayed for two hours after her shift ended – she made me a cup of tea and just sat with me.
Towards the end, the district nurse filled a syringe driver and placed it in Andrew’s arm. It gave out a steady flow of drugs so that there weren’t any breaks in Andrew’s pain control or times when the drugs were wearing off. The drugs helped control pain and sickness.
Andrew died in his sleep. It was very calm.