Kevin was an amazing soul with a big heart…a great laugh and always thinking and caring for others. It’s hard to know believe in September it will be 2 years since he’s been gone.
Kevin was not sick, but he did have a bad back. As it got worse he became less active and gained weight. He hated that. He loved to be active. Kevin was a Veteran of the United States Army , and your typical blue collar guy. He loved being outdoors and the last job he had landscaping was something he loved…the fresh air – the sunshine…
As his back deteriorated we spent many appointments at the VA Medical Center hoping they’d say it was time for surgery to relieve the pain and help him get back his quality of life. He’d had many epidurals on a regular basis that they were no longer doing the trick. In June of 2017, he finally received word that they approved the surgery- August 2017!! He was so ecstatic. He would say to me that now he could be active, lose the weight and we could plan our wedding for October of the following year.
On the day of his surgery he was excited, but then irritable as it was delayed to the following day – he almost said forget it. I convinced him one more day would be ok. And so on that Tuesday he underwent the surgery at the VA Medical Center in West Roxbury Ma. I’ll never forget the call the evening after his surgery. He had sent me home to take care of our puppy he adored so much. He was over the moon. He told he he’d already been walking the halls and doing the stairs. He was so happy and so motivated.
Two weeks post-op, he met with his primary care physician. He was so pleased with Kevin’s outlook and the success of the surgery. He told me that Kevin was one of the best patients he had and a role model to the other Vets. It made us both so proud to hear. His wound was healing and doing fine. In a week’s time we had our follow-up with the surgeon so we were given some kudos and sent on our way
A week later, Kevin wasn’t feeling well. He thought it was a cold and just took it easy. The patriots were playing the first game of the season and unlike Kevin he wasn’t into it at all. The next day, a Friday, I stayed home and around the house. He was way off… very sleepy. I told him we should go to be seen and the stubborn 50yr old Irishman wouldn’t have it. I’ll be fine tomorrow. As the evening progressed, I knew I would not take no anymore. He didn’t know the day – or where he lived. He tried to walk and had no power. I called 911 and they came and said “we’re having trouble finding a pulse.”
That was the beginning of the worst night in my life. At the hospital of which we lived 5 min away – they rushed him in – gave antibiotics and fluids and said he was heading to ICU. He was where he needed to be. They sent him to CAT scan before that he was awake and talking although ornery. I was used to that in him. When he arrived back they were moving his IV and he began to vomit. I was terrified. They whisked me away and I heard, he’s coding. That was the first of 5 times I’d be whisked away.
He fought so hard that night. I held his hand the entire time. I tried reaching his family. No one answered. Then as I was sitting with a nurse – she wanted me to take a break, it became quiet. I asked her to check and she came back to get me. It was then I watched the doctors doing CPR on him for the last time. It’s not like you think. Its’s violent and hard to watch. They were trying so hard but I knew. Shortly there after, I heard a doctor say, “we need to call this.” And Kevin was gone…In total he coded 5 times. The last time God knew he was too tired and it was time to give him wings and bring him home. I lost my best friend, my soulmate and my love that night…9-9-2017 after 7 amazing years together and a year short of our wedding. His love his light his laughter will live on, in those who loved him.
Kevin died of sepsis from an infection that had started internally near the spine where the discs were sanded in order to alleviate the pain. (Sepsis and Surgery) I spoke for 2.5 hrs with his primary after he saw the reports. I went through anger – guilt that I could’ve done more. And acceptance that he was no longer in pain and would always be that young and handsome man I loved.
Sepsis is difficult to sometimes see. Kevin’s pain medications masked the symptoms. I don’t understand why this happened to him, to us. But I now in his honor share his story – support both veterans and sepsis organizations. it can happen to anyone. Live everyday to the fullest. Be kind. Show love – show empathy and ask questions.
God bless and show grace to all those who have suffered and lived or have lost someone to this disease. It is far more common than anyone thinks. Let’s make people aware. Thanks for listening to my story!!
Source: Cate Eldridge, his fiancee