Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

It can actually get worse

MONDAY, June 7 – Oh my God. So things can actually turn out to be worse. New facts of our fucked- up reality turn up in the formal analysis of the medical report, with the maddening conclusion in black and white:

“The final conclusion is that during the hospitalization of the patient there was a degree of carelessness within the intensive care unit. If it were not for that carelessness, the death of Mrs. Nolan could have been prevented. Without medical intervention the injury resulting from the traffic accident was lethal, but a medical intervention undertaken in an earlier stage might have prevented her death. It is likely that if the secondary bleeding resulting from the cranial injury had been discovered earlier, the patient would have survived the accident.”

Could have been prevented. Could have been prevented. Could have been prevented. Could have been prevented. Could have been prevented. Could have been prevented. COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED!!!!!!

These are the conclusions that followed a study of the medical file that was recorded by an external expert at the request of the Public Prosecutor. Is it never going to stop, goddamn it? Of course, it says that it could ‘possibly’ have been prevented; the crushing blow of that possibility is something I’m incapable of dealing with right now.

It brings me back to that afternoon, to the early evening in the hospital. I had wanted to stay with her. I could see her pain and the blood coming out of her ears. I talked to her, discussed whether I should stay or go home to be with the children. I said I didn’t want them to see the blood, since in the end everything was going to be alright. That’s what the ambulance driver had told me. That’s what the doctors had told me. It would be better for the boys, I reasoned with Jenn, to come back the next day, when she would be better able to talk. I was confident that she was getting the proper care and yet I still felt the urge to do more, to care for her. But they told me to go home.


The report says so.

I start pacing through the house, from living room to dining room, through the  hall to my bedroom and, by way of the bathroom, back to the living room. Faster and faster, with loud bellows somewhere between a sob and a shout. Tears, more tears, curses and maledictions. I could have saved her. Shouldering the blame. I could have saved her.

Which is downright nonsense, of course. But emotions take over. I didn’t save her.  And for me that conclusion means that she has died again. And died needlessly. I’m lying on the floor, and so the morning passes. 

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3 thoughts on “It can actually get worse

  1. OMG! I am sooo sorry. YOU could not have saved her. You were doing exactly what I would have wanted my husband to do. You were taking care of the children. You are not a surgeon, you are a dad.
    I’m sending all the strength that I can…warm hugs.

  2. Since started to read your blog and following along I have wondered about this idea of “medical error”, as something seemed off when I read in your introduction that she was bleeding from her ear………
    I’m so sorry to hear that this was the case. So sorry. What a challenging journey……
    Peace. ~S.

  3. i dont even know what to say… i can’t even imagine

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