We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gall Bladder

  What does a gall bladder do?  I still am not clear on that, and, I guess, in the scheme of things, I guess that I do not have time to really make it matter...

    One year ago, my Kimmy, who had not seen a dr in over 6 years, was going to see more in two months than probably her whole, too short life.

    It had become unbearable.  The pain in Kimmy's rib cage area.  She went to work Tuesday morning, one year ago, despite my escalating objections.  She was so stoic.  So brave.  So strong.
    But, she could not quite make it through.  Her RVMS team could fill you in better here, but, at some point, in tears, I believe it was my neighbor Amy, who convinced her to call her dr.  
     Now, I had, less than 24 hours before, talked her into letting me make her an appointment.  She wouldn't have, otherwise.  The bambini came first, than me, than Kimmy.  I begged her, telling her I'd change any work schedule that I had to make sure she could see a dr.  Finally, she relented and I made one with her dr for 10/25.  She never made that appointment.

    She was so strong.  For so long.  And, a year to reflect upon, I wish I had seen it coming.  The bambini are beat up this week, as well, subconsciously remembering a year gone bad.  Especially Tonio, who I give a medallion of Mary each morning, before school, to let him know that Mary will watch over him and that I am close, thinking of him.  He and Autumn will not be separated at night.  Cody is quiet...reflective...

     Yet, I am daily reminded that it was not all in vain, as I receive messages from other who tell me that Kim continues to inspire them and when times are tough, they think of her....that helps.  But, these last two days, I have felt especially alone...

     And so it was, one year ago, that my cell phone rang while I was at Barnes & Noble, around 10:30 a.m.  It was Kim.  I picked up "I told you to never call me here..."  I joked.  It was our joke.  She typically giggled and proceeded to tell me whatever was on her beautiful mind.  Not today.  "Dave.  I'm on my way to St. Joseph's"  My mind blanked.  "What?"  "I called Dr _____ and she told me, if I could not wait until my appointment on 10/25, I should go to St. Joseph's."  Crying now.  When was the last time I heard Kimmy cry??   ?   "OK.  I'll meet you there."  I told her...
          I remember calling my D.M. to let him know something was amiss...
        Then, I was there.  In the ER waiting room.  With Kimmy.  Holding hands, like we always did.  Telling her it was going to be ok.  She telling me she knew.  Gall bladder was the idea.  Our neighbor, Amy, had hers removed just weeks ago.  Kim would rebound quickly, just as Amy had done.  Piece of cake.  Right?
          Except the minutes turned to hours...and finally, Kim got a gurney, not a room, but a hall way space.  She was evaluated, while I stood next to her, holding her hand.  We talked. 
           And then, after what seemed like days, the ER drs said they would do an ultra sound...and, yes, it was the gall bladder.  No biggie, right?  Surgery to be performed the next day.
           I spent the next several hours with Kim, in her hallway gurney.  There was a homeless man brought in, drunker than me, who was babbling about being left faced down in front of Circle K.  He was wanting full treatment...We prayed for him...and waited.  Finally, around 9:00 p.m., 10 hours after Kim first walked into the ER, she was given a room...and I left her side to go take care of the bambini...
             I woke the bambini at 5 a.m. the next morning to go say hi to their Mama, before school.  Before her operation.  They were ready!!  We raced up the stairs to see her and they were getting ready to transport her...We followed her down to that dreaded third floor, I kissed her and gripped her hand, our finger tips trailing as they led her through those irrevocable double doors...
            The drive to Cottonwood and back was excruciating.  I went faster than the speed limit, as is my way, and hurried back to wait for Kim, making it in plenty of time.
            I sat there alone.  Head in hands.  Hands in lap.  Praying.  Praying.  Waiting.  Endlessly.  I knew, just knew, it would be fine. 
            Then, around 9 a.m., Dr. Atkinson, came out through the dungeon doors and called my name...He was holding 8 x 10 photos.  Glossy.  I did not think anything of it at the time.  "Mr. Conca?"  "The gall bladder surgery on your wife went fine."  Relief.  I knew it!  "But."    "Look at this." 
             The glossies.  I should have known.   Never.  Never trust a dr, especially one emerging from surgery, who is carrying glossies.
              "This is a photo of your wife's liver."  Black.
               "Wha?"  I wondered, my world begin to teeter. And toter. 
               As far as I could get.  "Cancer."  He told me.
               My mind went a zillion different ways...not Kimmy...no....no way...they can get this...curable..
               "We are going to find out where it came from...."
               "When.  When can I see her???"  I needed to see Kimmy.  Needed to hold her.  Needed her to tell me she was ok.

                 The bambini.  They know.  Without me saying, that the year is approaching...especially Antonio, who is in tuned and affected.  I give him a Mary medallion each morning before school and tell him that Mary will watch over him.  Keep him safe.  I kiss her and tell him that he now has a kiss from me if he needs one...Our time at the Nitcho has increased, too.  The kids lingering...remembering..

                   And yet, we are here, to help others, as they face challenging times.  Our neighbors, who lost their boy...we talked to them this morning, to help them to find peace, healing.  Not 'closure'. I am convinced that there is no such thing.
                   My good friend from high school, let me know his Mom passed yesterday...he told me that he was sure that time would heal the wound and his had not yet started to scab.  I told him:
          Anyway - we all know loss...it's a challenge. It will take time to heal, my friend. Do not set a time frame, or let anyone set one for you...but, with good support, it does get more manageable..
              Reconnecting with my past...

                   I'm not alone in experiencing loss...
                   We've all been there...or will be....but, the people that are immediately around you, will make a difference!
                   Does 'time heal all wounds'?  I dunno.  I've always hated that phrase.  And still don't have an answer.  Rather, again, I find that everything, anything, is more bearable if you can surround yourself with positive people.  And we have been blessed, over and over, with that.
                   I've discovered that there is so much that I do not have control over, no matter that I think I might! 

                     "He makes everything work out according to his plan"  Ephesians 1:11

                   In Kimmy's garden, the Mexican sunflowers are blooming....


  1. Not a day goes by that we don't pray for your family Dave. You. The kids. You. I can't imagine the emptiness, the quiet...yet you strive to fill all those spots with activity and words and food and kids...It's not just Kim that left her mark all over the place, it is also you Dave. YOU. The example you set for others that have experienced loss...it is sweet and touching and selfless.

    God's plan is not ours. That is the hardest thing ever to swallow. Grief does NOT dissipate, only changes and alters. Remember that for yourself, not just others.

    See you Saturday :)

  2. In her passing kim has made all of us want to live with the love and appreciation for life she had...

    And you and the kids have shown us to have strength and faith in whatever life brings us...

    Can't wait to celebrate kim saturday!

  3. Thanks for so freely sharing your stories Dave. I stand outside at night, look at the Big Dipper, and pray for Kim, the kids and you!

  4. I think it's been in the backs (Okay, and the forefront) of so many of our minds...the date...the disbelief that it's been almost a year now that she left this earth. Leaves a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes every time I think about it. Can't even imagine how you must feel. I often pray that you are able to get past that feeling of loneliness. And thank you for continuing to talk about her and write about her. Hooray for Kim Saturday!