Ben called me around 1 or 2am on October 20. I can’t remember if I was awake or asleep since my whole sleep pattern had completely changed with Ben in the hospital. I just remember being awake at different hours of the night depending on if Ben was awake or not. Ben told me immediately not to worry and said he couldn’t talk long. He was happily telling me that they were transferring him to ICU, not because he needed to be in ICU or that he was getting worse, but only because they thought they could monitor him better in the ICU. He was mainly happy because he was in a much more comfortable bed and didn’t have a huge bulky and uncomfortable box on his body that all the wires from his monitors were plugged into.
I heard what Ben was telling me but still couldn’t help feeling that there were other reasons for why the doctors were transferring him to the ICU. Since Ben’s Father was put on the ventilator the previous day, I already knew the next steps for Ben if he got worse. I didn’t want to go there but my medical mind kicked in and I switched over to my doctor mode. Keeping my feelings at bay, I distanced myself emotionally as I asked Ben what his wishes were if he ended up on a ventilator. Of course all Ben said was “up to you”. I told him I would leave him on the ventilator and that was settled.
I missed Ben so much, it was hard not being allowed to visit him in the hospital but it did help that we could text each other. He was feeling better in the ICU. We were looking forward to watching the first Michigan football game of the season together on Saturday.
The next day Ben was worse, he had to fight to keep his oxygen up and I could tell he was exhausted. He had to kneel on his bed for a while after using the bathroom and wait until his oxygen levels went back up to the low 90s. I’ve never seen Ben mentally and emotionally break but he seemed so close to it. Ben has always been the strong one in our family and it broke my heart to see him so defeated. That night, he texted me that he loved me and sent me a picture of two animated halves of a sandwich reaching out for each other. That made me fall apart, it was a perfect picture of how I felt at the moment – he was my partner, my other half and no matter how hard I tried, I could not get to him and be with him. It was one of the hardest days we had so far and I went to bed so worried about Ben. I don’t think I managed to fall asleep until 2 or 3am.