Debbie Pace is a native Washingtonian and presently resides in Maryland. She is still single without children and has a cat named Sashay. In the years since Ralph died, she switched employers and has been with her present firm for 10 years, visited Paris and had her first poem published this year. Life goes on!
Fiancé's Brain Aneurysm
6 July 1995
Seven years ago, my fiancé suffered what the doctor called an anachroidal? aneurysm (in otherwords, five arteries were involved making it appear "spider" like). The suddeness of my fiancé's death took a very big toll on me. After seven years, I still haven't gotten over the effects of that night and probably never will.
It was February 19, 1987, a Thursday and we had dined on Chinese food. I decided to get an early start to bed and my fiancé stayed up to watch a Thursday night football game and snack on the rest of the food. I fell asleep and was awakened by his thrashing around in the bed. I thought that he was having a nightmare. I tried to wake him up but couldn't and the next thing that I knew, he had crawled out of the bed onto the floor, still in a deep sleep, or so I thought.
I started to panic because I couldn't arouse him, and ran into the kitchen and got some ice. I began to rub it on his face and body and he did wake up long enough to ask me what was going on. The doctor said that the ice probably stemmed the flow of blood long enough for him to respond. I helped him back into the bed and all of a sudden, he said that his head hurt so bad and then he said that he couldn't see. He stopped breathing after that and I performed CPR and he responded to that. I called 911 and my Mom to let her know to meet me outside when the ambulance left for the hospital. That turned out to be a long time.
Firemen also showed up and they were all crowded in the bedroom. During this time, my fiancé had started to vomit all over the place. One of the paramedics thought that his name being Ralph was funny, since some people jokingly call vomiting "Ralphing". I was too in shock at the time to respond to his chuckle. Anyway, they finally got him on the stretcher and hospital. My Mom and I arrived the same time as the amublance. I don't know what took them so long.
After a while, a nurse came out and asked who was with Mr. Cannon. We approached and she said that he had been taken down for a CAT scan. I knew then that things were not looking to good. We were finally escorted into a waiting room and a doctor came in and told us about his condition. Meanwhile, we had called his parents in New York and they were on there way to Maryland. We had arrived at the hospital at approximately 2AM and he died at 5AM. His parents didn't know that he had died until they arrived at the hospital that afternoon. I had gone to my mother's with two friends who had come to the hospital to wait with us.
My hope is that these articles can be therapeutic for others who have gone through such a traumatic experience. The ugliness, suddeness and humiliation of the whole experience makes one need to talk about it from time to time with someone. My fiancé had suffered with severe headaches. When I checked the medicine cabinet after he died, I discovered that he had taken an awful lot of Tylenol. Around January he had fallen down the stairs on his way out of the apartment building because the steps were slippery from water. I often wonder if that fall triggered the fatal attack. I was told that he probably had had this condition since childhood. Maybe people need to be more aware of the symptoms of an aneurysm and what you can do. I sure wish I had known.
Update: 28 November 2008
Here's to a man who helped people far and wide, many of whom he did not even know. Let us all keep Bill's spirit alive by continuing to reach out to others in whatever way we can. We miss you Bill!
© Copyright 1995 Deborah Pace
Discussion, comments, or questions: Deborah Pace
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