Saturday, June 27, 2009

Synopsis: Carroll's Last Few Weeks

Carroll Tyndell Smith

The Gentleman from Georgia

Over the last several months, Carroll had been feeling somewhat weak and tired, and was frequently short of breath. He thought it was because of a heart problem. After a visit with Dr. Crawford, open heart surgery was scheduled for May 19th to replace the aortic valve.

Just before that date, though, he was hospitalized at Summerville Medical Center with pneumonia and remained there for 9 days, then went home for a few days. During a follow-up appointment with Dr. Handshoe on June 1st, we were told he had Stage 3B lung cancer. It was in both lungs and in the fluid around the lungs. We left the doctor’s office and went to Waffle House for a late breakfast. He said one thing he did not want was to linger. He was not afraid of cancer; he was afraid of lingering. Even so, we all thought he had several months ahead of him.

The very next day, Carroll, Sherry and her mom went to Garden City and spent 5 days at the beach. He sat on the balcony, looking out at the ocean and said it was the best breathing he had done in a long time. He also said it was the best sleep he had had in quite a while. He got to spend an evening with Becky during that time also.

Returning home, he continued to have trouble breathing & was hospitalized at MUSC on June 16th following an appointment with Dr. Steinberg. On Thursday he had a procedure in which he was catheterized and a balloon was used to stretch the aortic valve, making it easier for him to breathe. That afternoon, he was breathing much better. By the next day, though, he was on oxygen. He came home on Saturday the 20th but was on oxygen 24/7.

He had visits and quality time with Lisa, Chuck & Pat, John, Vic & Edie and their family.

At about 2:00 Monday night/Tuesday morning, he said he needed to go to ER. He was transported to Summerville Medical Center and then transported a few hours later to MUSC’s critical care unit. There was a blood clot in his lungs. Because of the cancer, the doctors could not operate. He continued to weaken.

On Wednesday afternoon, there was a prayer service in his room by Pastor Briner. Several family members were present: Vic, Edie, Jeff, Laura, Courtney, Lisa, Susan, Pam, Kelly, Chelsey, Whitney and Sherry.

We all had time for some good-byes; Chelsey even made him chuckle and smile a few times. She’s the one who gave him the name “Poppy.”

Sherry slept in the hospital bed with Carroll Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night. He wrapped his arms around her. Vic and Edie slept in the hospital room also, although Vic said he couldn’t sleep because of Sherry’s snoring.

Thursday morning, at 9:30, Carroll peacefully and gently slipped away, gripping Sherry’s hand as she said “Peace be with you, Carroll.”

Carroll was a friend to many and he was loyal to his friends. He was a classy gentleman who called Savannah and Summerville his hometowns.

His friends are placing an Atlanta Braves shirt with the number “1” and the name “C. Smith” on it and hanging it in O’Lacy’s.

In the near future, a tree obtained by friend John Clark will be planted in Summerville in Carroll’s memory.

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