Hospice #8

Foreword: Last week in our reading group we were sharing with a friend who read a poem entitled ”This is the Dream I Carry”. We encouraged Bob to write his own response to the poem.  Then, we urged him to use this in a blog post.   – Heidi –

My current dream is about my impending death. It is, of course, an unpleasant dream but inevitable for all of us, and I think much sooner for me. My body has been scourged by many years of treatment for PCa. and I feel myself slowly slipping away. A month or so ago my slipping had seemed to stop; but, in recent weeks it has seemed to quicken the pace. I have no control of this, unless I want to commit a form of suicide. My body knows better than I just what is taking place and what the sequence of events will be.
I dream of relief from all the everyday issues of physical weakness, poor diet and anxiety from constipation. The gloom of winter does not help. I try to think that a day w/o pain is a good day. So, by that measure I have many good days. I enjoy my days with Heidi and all the wonderful friends who come to visit. I am learning to relax and let nature take its course. I am not particularly anxious for death to come; so my dream, unpleasant as it may seem to others, will have to wait.

Some good friends from Ann Arbor, Robert and Sara Holmes, stopped for the afternoon on their way home from the Women’s March.

Hospice 7- The Nurse says I’m stable

h,b,kids

Bob, Heidi and the Leesburg youngsters at Christmas lunch on December 23, 2016

Thursday, the hospice nurse declared me “stable”. We do have a routine we follow most days, but she meant that she saw color in my face.

Pain
I feel very little pain. I’m taking just one-half the morphine dose I started with in September. It is doing the job and seems to affect my sleep not at all.

Meals
I am down to eating mostly liquids: soup broth, hot tea, hot chocolate, water, pudding, stewed prunes, canned pears or peaches. It seems my stomach is not capable of digesting much.
Medication

The two medications Hospice prescribed for my irregularity problem seem to be working well. Hospice also prescribed Lorezapam, a liquid form of Ativan, for anxiety. It is also used for a sleep aid. I don’t think I need the sleep aid, at least not yet. So,we are slowly lowering the dose; maybe I can stop it completely.

Sleep
I have very few complaints about my sleeping. I can lie comfortably on my back now after many years of pain from lumbar stenosis pain when lying on my back. I am very grateful for that mysterious turn of events. I’m in bed by 9 pm and sleep until 8 am the next day.Then, I usually take a 2 hour afternoon nap.

Mentally
In spite of my antidepressant, I often feel down, especially on cloudy days. There are many things I can no longer do. When I allow myself to brood on some of these, it really takes me down. I know I’m walking into a blind canyon, and I do my best to ignore that far-off fact.  So, I try to think of some near term activity to anticipate and concentrate on what’s positive about today.

Activities
When I’m up and alert, I read the front section of the Post, or at least the headlines therein, a magazine article, or a chapter in a library  book. I watch the TV news in the evening. We also watch programs we’ve recorded, e.g., NOVA. I’m house-bound, especially in the winter cold. So, we enjoy visits from friends and/or neighbors at happy hour time. My drink of choice these days is a small cup of hot chocolate. I’m still getting around on my walker in spite of my legs getting weaker.

Our Leesburg family came for a Christmas lunch and gifts on Friday.  Heidi made cinnamon rolls, a favorite, for breakfast Christmas morning. And, one of our wonderful neighbors shared plates from their Christmas Day dinner.

Outlook
This Christmas holiday season is a time we both have much to be thankful for.
Happy holidays to one and all!
Love, Heidi and Bob

xmas-bkfast

Christmas morning breakfast with seasonal favorite cinnamon roll.

 

Hospice #6

Many things have changed for the worse this past month or so. Still, I enjoy spending time with Heidi, short visits with friends, and watching the PBS network in the evening.
I find myself feeling tired and listless most of each waking day. I like to sleep for 11-12 hours a night and take a 2 hr. nap in the afternoon. I rely on Heidi to help me get up from both.
Reading regular font books has become more tiring (I’m using Helvetica 22 for ease in composing this draft.)
I think the morphine I take for stomach pain is affecting my comprehension. While trying to read a story about the gold rush, I stumbled upon an ordinary word – “conquer”. I was stumped. It took me until the following morning to remember how to pronounce the word and recall its meaning.
I have pondered a lot the process of “passing away”. I think the journey for me started when my appetite disappeared in July.  This probably explains all my loss of energy. At the end of September, I started taking a small amount (10 mg daily) of morphine for stomach pain. I can tell that the impact of this drug in my brain is accumulating, affecting my speech and reasoning. The morphine also has some difficult side-effects.  Occasionally, I have af night or a day of steady pain, but still I am thankful that most of my days are pain free. I haven’t thought about where things go from here.  We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home, but I’m glad to say I can still enjoy a glass of holiday egg nog with friends.  Sunday Heidi was happy to make chocolate ginger bread cookies with our grandkids.

Kids and product

The photo shows the fruits of their labor.