The last time I wrote about Gerry, was on February 11th, with the story of his progress following his transfer to the Royal Brompton Hospital in London in mid-January.
The final chapter in the life of our friend
The machines supported Gerry – ventilator, ECMO, pumps and drips. He had a special bed and special care. He was conscious, and able to speak for a short time each day. We all willed him to survive; prayed for improvement. He fought for 10 weeks, Kate by his side and Deb in support. The team at the Royal Brompton Hospital Intensive Care Unit used every ounce of their superb expertise in their attempt to repair him.
Then came the utterly devastating news that Gerry’s lungs could never work again. The machines were all that was keeping him alive and the situation was not sustainable.
Our friend – Kate’s forever love – was dying.
The news was both a horror and a blessing: Gerry spoke with the doctors and knew what would happen; he was frightened. Kate was unimaginably distressed.
The Intensive Care team promised a peaceful and comfortable end, with Kate and Gerry’s wishes given the utmost priority. Gerry asked to see his friends and family, who dropped everything to be there. Then Kate and Gerry had precious time to talk together, laugh and cry together and prepare for what was to come.
They talked about organ donation. The transplant co-ordinator came to see Gerry, the first time he had actually spoken to a conscious donor; there were tears. Gerry was generous to the end. You might as well take them all, he said.
Then the day came. 8 of the team were in the room to provide support.
After 2 strawberry yogurts and a Jack Daniels with coke, the process began and Gerry gently drifted into unconsciousness. Kate and Deb sat at each side, holding his hands. They had chosen the music he liked – Mack the Knife, which had always made him want to dance, and the songs from their fairy tale wedding in Thailand 9 years ago, which reduced everyone to tears.
There were a couple of comedy moments between Kate and Deb as they held Gerry tight; their nurses’ black humour kicked in to help them all along. They had observed a nursing tradition not recognised by the current generation, of leaving the window open to let the soul depart. Kate felt him leave…….
Then, when it was all over, the transplant team took control. Gerry’s kidneys have given life to two others and so he lives on.
Kate is unbelievably grateful for the last 10 weeks. Had it not been for the Brompton’s intervention, she would have lost Gerry without ever hearing his voice again, sharing tender moments or saying goodbye. She would like to thank the immensely dedicated team who befriended her whilst they were caring for Gerry, and to everybody for their prayers and condolences.
Deb has been an outstanding friend. She has been Kate’s constant support, rallying other friends to help sort out things at home and, most importantly, just being there to hold her up.
Kate is planning a finale for Gerry on 27th April at 12.30 at Weston Crematorium, followed by a gathering at the Commodore Hotel in Kewstoke. All who knew Gerry are welcome to come along. He was a Scot and his favourite colour was pale pink, so, if you wish, feel free to wear pink or tartan in his honour.
As his friends know, Gerry was an avid photographer. Kate and Deb would love it if you could bring along a photo taken by him – or of him – to display on the memory table at the Commodore.
Donations are very welcome on the day, as well as on our JustGiving site; they will go to the Royal Brompton Hospital. A memory tree is located in the main corridor of the hospital and is seen by many patients, staff and visitors every day. Money is raised by sponsoring a leaf on the tree.
Kate would like add a leaf for Gerry.