• Stefan Neff

From Zero To Hero Chapter 18

Till Death Do Us Part

It was in the winter of 2009 that we sent our son to visit his grandmother and aunt in Japan. He was so excited to spend Christmas with his grandmother. The plan was to send him with my wife’s friend, as a guardian, because we hadn’t yet received the paperwork of permanent residence in order for him to travel safely.


During the time our son was in Japan my wife and I really started to work on our relationship. I had planned a New Year’s party for just the two of us. I was so excited, for I felt that this was something that would build intimacy and closeness. I had picked up some alcohol and had planned to make a beautiful dinner for her. The night started out fantastic with some great conversation and of course drinking alcohol, always an icebreaker. The night was going well as she started to get a little drunk.


I could tell that she was getting turned on and I thought, “What a great after-dinner bonus.” I was ready, willing and able to make this a night of intense passion. Time to release the pent-up urges that were built up inside me. I could hardly wait because I knew she was a tiger-cat in bed.


It was everything I had hoped it would be. It was absolutely the best sex we have ever had. Lots of fulfillment in so many ways, I can’t describe as anything else except pleasure on fire.


I looked at the clock to see the countdown to the New Year and it was 11:55, almost time to celebrate the New Year. I went to say, “Are you ready for the count down?” and what I saw chilled me to the core.


I looked over and at first, it looked like she was sleeping like a baby. But that wasn’t what was going on. She wouldn’t move when I tried to wake her. She didn’t budge. I shook her and said Tomoko, wake up, that’s when I noticed that she wasn’t breathing.


I panicked with absolute terror because I just realized that the woman I loved was lying dead beside me. I was stunned but I also couldn’t accept this as the last moment of our lives together.


I jumped into action and started CPR. I didn’t exactly know how to do it but had watched people do it on TV. I was afraid to call 911 because she didn’t have medical coverage and didn’t want more huge medical bills.


That seemed to be a constant theme in my life... money or the lack of it. How ridiculous, right? But that is what was going on in my head. It was all about me and how it would affect my life, even though my wife had just died in my arms. My heart was racing a million miles hour as tried to breathe some life into her. Finally, I heard her suck some air in a small gasp and realized that she was breathing again. I almost wept with relief.


At this point, I was so scared of her death that I knew I had to get her to the hospital regardless of the cost. I lifted her in my arms and carried her down a flight of stairs to my car and drove her to the hospital as fast as my car could drive.


Thank God the hospital was only five minutes away from where we lived. We arrived at the emergence in record time. I rushed her to the front counter with a scared look on my face screaming at the receptionist “My wife just died! Please help me.”


What I got was, “Take a seat and we will get to after the next person.” I was furious.


“How can you be so cold and unconcerned with my situation? I said my wife just died!”


She said, “We see this all the time, and you are no different than anyone else, so wait your turn and have a seat. If she is dead then we can’t help you, but if she is breathing we can. So, for now, have a seat and we will get to you as soon as we can.”


I sat there for what I thought was an hour, thinking, “How can the people waiting to be more important than me?” Finally, my number was called and she asked me so many questions about our medical plan and how my wife got in this situation in the first place.


I knew that she didn’t have a medical plan, so I said that we have applied and were waiting for the paperwork to come in the mail. Well, that was an absolute lie in so many ways. I had no intention of applying for medical coverage for her. I was afraid of paying for her medical so I thought it would be easier to tell a lie than tell the truth.


This was the way I had done things my entire life. All talk no action. My biggest fear in life was for people to think I was a failure, so I made up stories to make them think I wasn’t. I wanted people to think I was the most important person in the world and thought that I deserved special treatment. I wanted to be treated with respect and admiration. Now, I see what a selfish way of thinking that was.


They took Tomoko away into a room filled with machines and equipment and a bunch of people who would try and figure out what was wrong with her. I was waiting patiently outside in the waiting room, like so many others, wondering if their family and friends were going to be OK.


I waited for what seemed like hours, for the doctors to walk through the doors with the news of whether or not things were going to work out or not. Finally, the doctor came over to me to give me the news. He sat me down like a child in a classroom and proceeded to explain in detail what they had found out through from the ct scan.


“The scan had produced absolutely nothing,” the doctor said. “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Tomoko,” and what baffled him. Because of her difficulty breathing, they decided to keep her in the hospital for the night for observation.


The next day I went to pick her up and was told that my wife was unable to walk or talk, but they were ready to release her. My body was just numb with fear “What did you just say? Did you she can’t walk or talk and you are letting her go home? I don’t understand, why she can’t walk or talk?”


The doctor said, “We have no idea. It’s a complete mystery to us too.”


I said, “So why is she being sent home then?”


“There’s nothing we can do for her here, and she will recover in time. The body is an amazing thing and it will come back in time, so be patient,” he said.


I sat there for at least 10 minutes stunned with disbelief. I thought, “Why do we need doctors when they can’t tell me what I need to know?” I had to make a decision as to whether to stay and watch her sleep or go home and get some rest myself. Well, I didn’t want to pay for parking outside so I went home.


When I arrived home, my eyes started to feel the emotion of what just happened. My wife was lying in a hospital room unconscious, while I am worrying about money to pay the parking meter. What a fool I was, what a selfish man. So, I walked straight back to the hospital with one thought on my mind, that she would be okay. I had a feeling that come over me. It felt like a large truck just ran over my chest.


I sat beside her, holding that fragile hand of hers, wanting her to wake up and feel just fine. I wanted everything to be back to normal, but it wasn’t. When she woke up she still was not able to walk or talk. A look of terror was on her face, and I felt so helpless. There was absolutely nothing I could do.


The morning came and it was time to take her home in a wheelchair. Now that was a huge reality check. I went from having this vivacious, feisty woman, to a woman that couldn’t even move her legs nor make a single intelligible sound.


For the next week, I cared for this woman that I loved so very much, coming home every day at lunchtime from work to make sure she had whatever she needed. I was beside myself with worry, wondering if she would still be alive when I came home from work.


I wanted to understand why this had happened to her so it wouldn’t ever have to occur again, so I made an appointment with specialists to try and figure this out. Nothing seemed to come of it, just more wasted time with no answers. I was getting discouraged.


As time progressed, she seemed to be getting a bit better day by day. She would fade in and out of consciousness from time to time but she kept on breathing. It freaked me out so much that I had a hard time focusing on my work. Thank goodness our son was in Japan. I hadn’t told him what had happened to her, so he wouldn’t worry. Was that the best thing to do? Well, at the time I thought so.


This one night I decided to have a drink, and then for some reason, she reached over to show me that she wanted so of it. I was confused at the time but she was grunting so much I couldn’t refuse her. I gave her a small sip of my beer and to my amazement, she started to talk.


I couldn’t believe my eyes, then five minutes later she wanted more. This was a sign to me that she was definitely getting better. I hoped so, but I also knew that she had a hard road ahead of her.


The next day I came home for lunch and she was gone, but the stove had been left on. I started a search of the area looking high and low for about an hour, walking up and down the street calling her name as loud as I could. I finally found her hugging a telephone pole crying not knowing where she was. She had this look on her face like a little girl that got in trouble at

home. I was so angry with her, that I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I told her, “Don’t leave the house at all. Stop being a spoiled little child and listen to me for once.”


That night was the turning point that really started the trust between us. When we visited the specialist he asked many questions about that very night, what happened what did you do? How much did you drink?” This was a little embarrassing at the time, talking about our sex life and talking about the wild sex that lead up to her dying in my arms. I knew these questions were necessary but I really didn’t want anyone to find out about our private life.


The Doctor reviewed all the findings and gave us the news, that he didn’t find anything wrong with her and that what had happened was a mystery to him. I was so puzzled about why the doctor couldn’t answer any of the questions as to why she almost died.


We left his office still wondering what was next on her road to recovery. A few more days went by and yes, she was getting much, much better in all aspects of our lives, but I still had a nagging fear about it happening again.


Our son was about to come home from Japan and he still he knew nothing of really happened to his mom. We went to pick him up from the airport and I could tell that still she had some difficulties staying awake. She seemed to nod in and out of consciousness,

especially when she was worried about something.


We finally told him the truth and then he told us what happened to him when he was in Japan. We couldn’t believe it. He had become very sick and had to go to the hospital when he was in Japan. His temperature was off the charts. He was hooked up to intravenous for at least three days not being able to eat or sleep much. This was very strange, and then when we told him what had been going on when he was gone, his face was filled with fear that he had almost lost his mother.


Now it was time for me to step it up and be the father and husband that I was meant to be. But, did I have it in me to take charge of my life or would I just go back to the same old patterns that were running my life for so many years?


Our lives settled down since that day, but there were still moments when she would fall asleep without notice, drifting into a deep dark sleep. We would try to wake her, but she didn’t want to wake up. One minute she was there and the next she would disappear. We

wanted to wake her but in my mind this was an opportunity to escape from reality, without the noise of her voice in my ear, asking me to provide the care that I wasn’t able to give.


A few months passed and Spring had arrived. The trees burst into life, the grass was becoming greener day by day, which brought life to how I felt. Yes, it didn’t take much to make me happy, but anything that changed became an opportunity to be happier than I was at the time.


I still had a notion that something was missing from my life, but I didn’t know what this was. Had I forgotten who I was or did I start to shift towards the light at the end of the tunnel? I wasn’t sure, but something had been forever changed in my life.


One day she looked at me and said, “I am sorry please forgive me, I love you, thank you for everything!”


I was stunned with surprise, I couldn’t believe my ears and asked her, “What do mean by that? I thought that she was being sarcastic because she always said things that were mean and hurtful toward me. I did a double-take when had apologized. Was this for real or was this a joke that wasn’t funny at all?


She said, “I really appreciate you and I want to apologize for everything I have done to you.”


Something moved my heart in such a way that my eyes started to swell up with joy. Was this for real? Was this what I had been waiting for all these years? I couldn’t believe that she loved me for who I was.


We started to learn more about what had just happened in our relationship. I was looking at life in a warm light now, that I had never felt before. It’s like going from pure hell to a place of unknown, this felt a little weird but I could feel a shift coming over me like never before.


We started a dialogue but I didn’t understand very much from the conversation. It soon became a daily routine that was going on within her thoughts now. Was this a start of a new beginning or was this all a new angle of deceit on her part? I couldn’t be sure what was going on, but what I did know was she was more understanding of how I felt, and it was bringing us closer. There were still dark parts of me, clouded by drugs and alcohol, but for the first time, I felt accepted for the man I was.


Next Chapter...Can This Be True...


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