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Monday, May 24, 2010

It's Over . . . He's Gone.

My brother, Eugene Lyle Davis, passed away Wednesday, 3:15 pm, Florida time, May 19th.

When I was born, my parents named me Lyle Eugene Davis. When Gene was born, four years later, my mom, in a burst of creative energy, named him Eugene Lyle Davis.

Somehow, I managed to forgive my mom for that terrible transgression.

I am saddened not so much by his passing, it was expected, but by the fact that I did not learn of his death until about 2pm yesterday (Sunday), the 23rd of May. Five days after he passed.

For some reason, Jody, his daughter, my niece, had opted to not notify either me, his brother, or his girlfriend of the last four months, with whom he had been living at the time of his heart attack.
Jody and Vicki (the former Vicki Wardrobe of Omaha), his ex-wife, had arrived in Fort Myers, Florida, after having been called by Nancy, Gene's girl friend.

Nancy had heard what she thought was Gene snoring. She jostled him to stop him snoring and rolled him over and immediately saw that he was dead. She called 911, the paramedics responded and rescuscitated Gene . . . but he had been dead for somewhere between eight and 15 minutes. He was transported to hospital and placed in ICU. All subsequent neurological tests showed Gene to have suffered severe hypoxia and that his brain, being deprived of both oxygen and blood for too long, had suffered too much trauma. He also had 100% blockage in his left carotid artery and 40% blockage in the other. If he survived, it would be as little more than a vegetable. At best, he would be in a wheelchair, staring off into space, him being in his own little world, with no ability to communicate or to care for himself.

I spoke with Jody about two or three days later (she had called me at 1:30am California time, 4:30am, Florida time to brief me). I agreed with the neurologist assessment and also agreed with her decision to take Gene off of life support.

She did not need my approval. She had had Gene sign a Living Will, Medical Directive, DNR, Power of Attorney, all kinds of documents. He had suffered two mild strokes several weeks prior to his massive heart attack and Jody had flown into Orlando from Oakland, Iowa, where she is a practicing veterinarian, met Gene, and took steps to ensure she'd have the legal documentation to control things.

It worked.

Upon arriving at the hospital, Jody and Vicki immediately, and bluntly, advised Nancy that she was not family and was not welcome. She was told to leave the hospital and she would not be allowed to return.

A day or two later, they contacted Nancy and advised her she could see Gene again, but only if she returned Gene's wallet, car keys, checking accounts, jewelry, several computers, etc.

Nancy, understandably, declined to submit to what amounted to blackmail.

In the meantime, Jody had given instructions to the nurses and hospital that no information was to be given out to anybody by anybody but her. That included other family members . . . of which there was only one. Me.

Following the early morning briefing from Jody, and my agreement that removing life support was appropriate, I never heard from Jody again.

Jody, however, was not yet done. She called the Lee County Sheriff's department, filed affidavits and a demand that the Sheriff retrieve Gene's personal belongings as outlined above, and insisted the Sheriff enforce the order.

The Sheriff complied and went to Nancy's home. Nancy, being a lay person, didn't know what to do so she complied. I don't think the Sheriff could have compelled her to surrender the items unless and until there was a formal court order. Jody's paperwork did not constitute a court order, only a claim. Nancy did not know that. Besides, she was too emotionally distraught to analyze things logically and respond accordingly.

Understandably, Nancy was very upset. She would call me from time to time, crying, wondering why Jody was being so cruel.

I could not answer her.

Today, after returning from a weekend reunion with some of my high school classmates from Omaha, I received a call from Nancy, wondering if I had heard anything of or about Gene. I had not but agreed to call the Hospice Center where he had been referred to from the ICU wing of the hospital.
It was only then that I was told that Gene had passed last Wednesay at 3:15pm. The nurse expressed surprise that no one from the family had notified me.

Whether Gene has been cremated, per his wishes, or not, I have no idea. I don't really care at this point. He is gone. His ashes, his body, his remains, they are all just remnants of what and who he was.

Evelyn thought I should call Jody and when she answers, say, "You are the scum of the earth!" and hang up. I declined. It would not solve anything. It wouldn't even give me any particular pleasure in saying such a thing, or taking such an action.

I am writing this summary for several reasons. One, several of you have asked about Gene, two, I'm trying to make sense of the whole scenario, three, I'm trying to figure out what I ever did to Jody or her mom, Gene's ex-wife, that would cause such a needless and hostile action.

At this point, I don't have any answers. I'm just kinda numb.

Eugene Lyle Davis, dead, at age 67.

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