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                     Jan., '97

Hello all

Where should I start. I lost my Andrea back in June. Maybe I'll start by telling my story. A word of caution though this may be sensitive to some or all I don't know. It does feel good to go over things in my head as I am writing this. For I don't wish to forget the things I wish I could forget. Does that make any sense? Well here goes.

Andrea and I met back in '91. I still remember sitting in the shop at work, talking about how nice it would be just to meet a nice girl that was in it for the long run and was looking for a secure relationship to settle down. My friend at work did a "I shoulda had a V8" on his forehead and said he knew a girl that might be perfect for me. He was seeing a girl that had just taken on a border for extra money. Her name was Andrea. She had a kid though. I said that didn't matter. We met on a blind date and hit it off right away. Shortly after we met she opted to get her own apartment and needless to say I spent quite a bit of time there. Her sons name is Andrew and we took to each other like father and son. She had had a rough upbringing and was only 19 at the time. Anyway she also had a condition called Crohn's disease which is an inflammation of the small intestine. It is not a debilitating disease except for when a flare up occurs. She was on meds for it when we met but a short year after she didn't have to take them anymore. She had almost passed away when she had Andrew from the Crohn's. She was not even diagnosed with it until after the birth. A month in the hospital when after she gave birth.  Sorry for jumping back and forth here but I am writing on the fly as I usually do. Anyway after she had stopped taking the meds she was in full remission with only the occasional light flare up taken care of with eating habits. Until, that is, this year. She also suffered from panic attacks. We decided that we would buy a house and start paying ourselves instead of the landlord a year after she moved into the apartment. We were married June 3rd 1995. We spent the honeymoon in Jamaica. She had a glow about her there that I had never seen before. It was like she was finally finding peace with life. She was finally very happy and content with the hand life had dealt her. It was amazing. She was the most beautiful bride I have ever seen. Just after Xmas of '96 we talked seriously about having another baby. She had been in remission for quite some time now and no problems. She did need to get off the meds for the panic attacks though and she started lowering her dose with the doctors guidance. She was doing very well and when she was finally off of them we started actively trying to conceive. Shortly after that though she had a major flare up and had to be admitted for a week. Back on the meds for the Crohn's and a big disappointment for the baby thing. Oh well we would just wait until she was off the meds and start trying again. After she got out of the hospital in May of '97, she got off the meds very quickly. During this time our, now 5 year old, caught the chicken pox from a little friend at school. We were very nervous about this as Andrea had never had them as a kid and we thought that if she were to catch them, it would be very bad. We consulted her specialist right away and he laid our concerns to rest saying that the 2 conditions did not interact with each other. So on we went. Andrew's chicken pox came and went. She didn't catch them. Almost 3 full weeks later Andrea went on a school trip with Andrew and managed to catch the chicken pox from one of Andrew's school mates. We were not concerned much except for the minor itchy and irritation she would have to put up with. We noticed them on the Thursday and by that Saturday she was in quite a bit of pain. She was complaining of abdominal pain. She and I both thought she was having another flare up and I ran her to the hospital. The emerg. staff were a bit confused after the x-rays showed that her Crohn's was fine BUT her liver count was high. This is also where the pain was originating. Not from the usual spot she had grown accustomed to. I still remember quite clearly us looking at each other and saying that's strange. They had come to the conclusion that her liver was causing the pain not her Crohn's. They said the chicken pox was probably attacking her liver. They admitted her. Andrew was on a visitation with his Father that weekend and I stayed with her for the 10 hours she was in emerg. After they got her to a room I left with them giving her pain killers and baking soda for the itch. Andrew and I came back Sunday night after 6pm and visited her for a while. She was fine other than the itch and the pain killers made her dopey. We also phoned each other in the mean time. She wanted some toiletries etc. I couldn't go see her on the Monday as my truck blew a water pump and I was fixing it in the driveway. I did call her and we chatted for a while still she was fine. Monday night they decided to give her a drug to help combat the chicken pox. It was called acyclovir. Tuesday morning I called her room to no answer so I called the desk to see what time I could come up to see her. They put the doctor on the phone right away. He said there was quite a change from the night before and that she was swelling around the face and eyes. I called her Mom and we went up to see her right away. When we got there I almost fainted. This was not my wife I left here on Saturday. Her eyes and head was severely swollen. I lost it. She was hooked up to all these tubes and wires. She was however taking it well, asking what's wrong as she couldn't see through the swollen eyes. Also making remarks about how she was feeling like the Elephant man. I told her nothing was wrong and that her Mom was here. The doctor told me that they were moving her to ICU simply to observe her closer and watch her status. When they moved her nobody was allowed to visit while they were getting her situated in the new room. I gave her a hug and whispered "I Love You" in her ear and she whispered it back to me. I had to pick up Andrew from the bus and drive her Mom home. I dropped Andrew off after school and rushed back to the hospital. I was told I could see her at 5pm that day. At 7pm the ICU doctor came out and told me she had arrested after another dose of the acyclovir. My response was don't give her anymore of that shit!!! To my knowledge the 2 turns for the worse she had taken were a direct result from this drug I had never heard of. They had a hard time getting her an airway and she was without life for 10 minutes. They brought her back though and finally when she was stable I could go in and see her. She had swollen worse than before and was now on life support. She was not conscious and as I held her hand, I told her to fight this thing so we can get on with our lives. They told me that the virus was directly attacking her liver and her liver was shutting down. They were pumping fluids to her as fast as she could accept them. They told me that without her liver, her blood was losing the ability to clot. She was starting to "leak" everywhere inside and out. I was in and out all night whispering to her and yelling at her. The doctors asked me if they could give her another dose of the acyclovir. I didn't know what to do. I said "YOU DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO KEEP HER ALIVE!!!" They gave her another dose in hopes it would at least help to stop the vicious attack waged on her liver. Andrew was not allowed in the ICU and even if he was, I would not have let him in to see his Mom. I'm afraid he would have had terrible nightmares from the sight of her. I asked him if he wanted me to relay a message for him and his response was "Tell Mom I love her and I miss her". Jesus! Those words are etched into my head! She held on for a little longer until around 11am then passed on with me by her side. Andrew's message would be the last words she heard. She did not deserve this brutal attack on her. She was so lovely. I said my good bye to her and went out to the front steps to talk to Andrew. I didn't think I would have to be explaining to a 5 year old about death and dying and why people have to leave us. I told him that his Mama wouldn't be coming home with us and she would be looking down on us from up in the sky from now on. I was bawling and he hugged me as he said "ooohhhh". My thoughts now, was that I was going to lose Andrew. I had been with Andrea since Andrew was 5 months old and I didn't think I could take losing him as well.  Andrea and Andrew's Father never got along the whole time I knew her and now I had to talk to someone who I barely knew about raising his  son. He agreed, to let Andrew stay here with me saying "we've obviously been doing a good job of raising him". After all the things they had been through I would like to say thanks to him for this.  We were talking and we sat down and laid out a plan for what was to be.  The court was fairly smooth as we worked together before hand to make it easier. We agreed on a joint custody with Andrew's principal residence to be here. Andrea passed away only 16 days after our first anniversary. I buried her on her 25th birthday. I am 29. Andrew and I have a wonderful baby-sitter that would do most anything for us and spends a lot of time with him while I work. He had actually spent more time outside this year than ever. He is growing like a weed and doing very well under the circumstances. I still have the bad dreams and flashbacks of the horrible ordeal. Mostly saddened for Andrew's sake not my own. It is really unfair to lose his Mom at such a young age. We are slowly learning to live without Mom in our lives though it be tough. He said this Xmas was the best so far and that brought a tear and a smile to my face. He often catches me crying and always drops everything to come and give me a hug. We talk about Mom a lot and I try my hardest to answer any questions he may have. Don't kids come up with the weirdest questions? I have designed a website in dedication to my Andrea and would like to invite anyone to come by. I have also been donated some space to have a Memorial Online for anybody to do the same. I will donate my services to design a page for anyone who is interested. I have all the equip. all I would need is the pictures to scan. It does not cost anything as it is from the heart. If you would like instructions, please fell free to e-mail me. Thanks for listening and my thoughts are with all of you!

Peace my Friends