Hilary passed away yesterday afternoon 22nd June 2022 at about 17:50.
She had been fighting pneumonia for the last
month and was moved down to the Intensive Care Unit in Basildon
Hospital 3 days ago because her condition was worsening, she wasn't eating
properly and they needed to try and stabilise her condition. She was
breathing heavily but still there and able to talk. Over the next two days
she became more unresponsive and sleeping most of the time. The first day
she recognised me and we gave each other a kiss. The second day she was
asleep and if the staff talked to her loudly she would open her eyes but there
was no recognition or response.
Yesterday I visited her as usual - she was fighting for breath and unresponsive - she would often cough and you could hear the fluid on her lungs - the staff tried sucking fluid out of her throat but it was not very effective. I was there from 1 to 3pm holding her hand, talking to her but no response. I left at 3pm - the time to go.
As soon as I got home the hospital called me and asked me to hurry back to talk to the doctor. When I arrived we had a long chat and he said that although they were doing their best to keep her alive there was nothing more they could do because the underlying problem was her faulty heart valve, this was heavily constricted, not allowing blood through and was the cause of the fluid build up in her lungs. And the valve could not be changed when she was in such a bad state.
The valve was picked up as a problem when the bowel cancer was diagnosed and it was suggested that the valve be replaced first. However, Hilary felt fine and, worried about the cancer spreading, wanted the cancer treated first. I agreed with that decision. However, according to the ICU doctor he would have advised us to do the valve first because people could drop dead with a faulty valve - the cancer could wait. However he said that not all doctors thought the same.
So, they were at the end of what they could do and suggested that she had been fighting for three days and it was time to remove the oxygen mask that was forcing oxygen into her lungs and let her go. I had texted the family that morning to say in my view she was already gone. I reluctantly agreed and went back to sit with her and hold her hand while waiting for nurses to be ready to do this.
As I waited with her holding her hand, her breathing slowed and she started to get colder. Suddenly she stopped breathing - even though she was still wearing the mask (with fluid drip in one wrist and being fed with a tube in the other). I called over the nurses and they took her pulse which was slowly decreasing. The monitor she was hooked up to was showing an ECG trace, breathing rate, BP and oxygenation. The display slowly flattened all its traces - and she was gone. In those last few moments she seemed much more at rest.
It was a terrible thing to witness but I am glad I was there and that we had not yet removed her oxygen mask. I am heartbroken and my family in Southend and beyond are there for me. Needless to say the whole family are devastated.
I am so sorry to have to report this.