Friday, January 13, 2006

8th grade student had pellet gun, on Advanced Life Support - Seminole County News

Here's the news from around me today. The last alert states that Chris is on advanced life support in extremely critical condition, and the prognosis to survive is very poor. My heart and prayers go out to Chris, his family and all who love this child.

My thoughts and prayers also go out to Lt. Mike Weippert and all who love him. I can't imagine what he is going thru, knowing now that the gun was a pellet gun, that had been modified to look like a 9mm semi-automatic handgun. What is this world coming to? When did bringing a gun to school, even a play gun, become the fix of all problems.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Not a good start so far

I have decided that if this is how the new year is going to be, I'm calling in sick.

I received horrible news today about an old patient and her husband. I had treated P for years and years, on and off, and had not heard from her in almost a year. I knew she came out of the hospital last spring and needed therapy, but I was swamped and another therapist took her case. I kept meaning to call her and her husband, but with all the stuff that went on with Sadie, and then the hole I fell into following her death, I just never did. This Christmas, I kept thinking that I would get my annual Christmas letter from J, her husband, but it didn't come. I noticed I didn't see his screen name on my buddy list since around Thanksgiving. Today while out seeing patients, I thought I am not going to let one more day go by without stopping in to see her and J.

Pulled up and rang the doorbell. Noted his cute little sign on the door ... "Ring the bell on the right, and hold your horses. 2 old farts live here and it takes us a while to get moving."

I waited, as I know it's their habit to lie down in the afternoon and rest. I figured he might just be getting P settled in. After 2 more rings of the bell, I peeked in the window way up in the door, and noticed the freezer door ajar in the kitchen, and no lights on as there normally were. Decided to go thru the back gate to the bedroom window, and see if I could get their attention. The blinds were pulled all the way up, and a bedroom light was on, but the beds were totally stripped and in disarray. P slept in a hosp bed, and J bought an adjustable bed and linked them to each other so they would be together. As I looked in the window, I couldn't figure out what was going on. Then I noticed P's walker on the back porch, and one of the wheelchairs. As I was leaving the back yard, I decided to look in the garage. Sure enough there was J's minivan. I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, thinking something had maybe happened to J and P was sent to a nursing home or something.

I went to the next door neighbors to see what was going on. The neighbor came to the door, and she said I saw you over there and wondered if you would come over here. I explained who I was, and she said "I remember you from when you saw P last year when J was so sick." I said, what is going on, P isn't there. Is she alright? She said, "Oh my God, I thought you knew. J and P committed suicide about 3½ weeks ago."

You could have knocked me over with a feather. The shock, the thought of their despair to end their lives like that. I have no idea of what happened other than the neighbor said when she let hazmet into the house, there was a lot of blood in the bedroom. No one has ever said what happened other than J put a hole thru the concrete wall that separated the bedroom from the garage and fed a hose thru the hole and turned the car on. They had 2 children who lived on the other coast who rarely visited. I know that J's medical crisis last year(04) put them in a horrible financial bind. P has been disabled for years (I had seen her on and off for 9 years for therapy), and J was her primary caregiver. I can only imagine that J felt that P could not survive without him, and he might have shot her then went to sleep with the carbon monoxide.

On the 7th of December, the home health assistant showed up late that morning as was planned, and she found a note on the door. The neighbor explained to me, "J had put on the note... N by the time you get here, P and I will be gone." The assistant went to the next door neighbors with the note. The neighbor said she had a bad feeling and called 911 before even going over to the house. They waited for rescue to get there before going into the home. She opened the door for rescue, and they prevented her from coming into the home, as the odor of carbon monoxide permeated the house. One firefighter went in suited up and when he came back out, he confirmed that both P and J were deceased in their beds. They called hazmet and hazmet cleared the home of gas. Neighbor states, when hazmet finished, the bodies were removed, and they requested that the neighbor go over with them to lock up the house until P's family could arrive. That is when she saw all the blood on P's bed.

P and J were in their late 70's, he might have been 80 by now. I hope they are finally at peace. It scares me the desperation that they must have felt, the internal pain. I wish I had been there more for them. I wish I had called when I first felt that urging back at Thanksgiving. Not that it would have necessarily made a difference, but it might have helped to know that I could be there for them. All the if's that will never be answered. I pray that they did not suffer pain, or fear.

A special passage for me from Micah 7:8
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.

P and J are surrounded by that light now. Good night dear friends.