Thursday, July 21, 2011

News from the front!

HP is losing ground still. Yesterday we had to move to crushing his meds in applesauce so that he could swallow them, and he was too exhausted from being transferred from bed to table for lunch, to really manage to eat much, even with the food put into his mouth. It's easy to forget how much energy it takes to just sit, and eat and swallow, for those of us who don't need even to think about it.

His doctor is now considering hospice care. At home, just continue his care but with a team of people and a lot more attention to both of us. For readers outside the US, hospice usually means that the doctor has made a reasonable forecast that there may be six months or less left to the person. It can be longer, you can't know with a situation like HPs, but it would seem that she sees his current losses as part of what she described as nature taking its course.

And we both think this is fine. Back when HP was able to make his own health decisions, he repeatedly said NO special measures, NO feeding tubes, NO breathing machines that you can't get off. His doctor agrees with us that if this is his wish, we'll keep him comfortable and at home for as long as it takes, or as we can.

This sounds very calm and logical, but there's a maelstrom of emotion going on with me. No sleep at all last night, what with worrying about what happens between now and getting help, Helen having failed to show up again, there must be confusion with the dates, and worrying about his ability to swallow safely and so on, and how long we can get help and what kind, and who is the organizing person.

All this will be clarified when his doctor visits next week, but oh well, you know. The introduction of the word hospice aloud into the planning is like detonating an emotional explosive. The middle of the night is not a good time to be trying to solve problems, and I finally got to sleep after blessed Duncan dived under the covers and wrapped himself around my feet the way he used to as a tiny kitten, and acted as a feline no side effect sleeping pill.

This morning HP very unsettled, cursing and furious at me and asking what hospital he was in, and screaming at every touch as I washed him. I did some gentle exercises for his arms and legs to relieve the stiffness, which he hated. Then after breakfast, which I adapted to his new swallowing situation, he calmed down, and even managed a nice smile and a thank you, and said, with a lot of difficulty, oh, I'm clear now. I asked if he meant he knew he was home with me and he nodded. So that was okay.

A good friend came over yesterday with a lovely bunch of carnations, which he liked a lot, and gave me a large bag of unused and lovely fuzzy and novelty yarns from her sister, which she doesn't like to knit with. So I think this new phase is demanding a new knitting enterprise, which may be: silly skinny scarves!

There's a terrific stitch pattern I've adapted, originally for a belt, but who wears them, really, to a skinny scarf which I fasten like a necktie, and I've had people really admire mine. So I will do a bunch of them, and they'll go to the rescue group's fund raising, if they would like them, that is.

Knitters might know this one: cast on 9 stitches, knit 6, yarn over to front, then slip last three stitches purlwise. That's the entire pattern. When you start each row,you tug the yarn snugly, to create a rolled edge. Astute readers will realize this is like an Icord only attached to each edge. It creates a lovely flat piece of work interestingly raised at the edges and not looking at all like garter stitch.

So watch this space for health and work updates, and thank you all for your continuing sitting with us through this.


dianesowo said...

Warm thoughts for both of you and here's to your maintaining that delightful sense of humor through all of this.


Sue said...

thoughts are with you. Take care of yourself, you are doing a great job

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Hang in there - I think of you every day and wonder what the latest development is. Hospice care in the home is not a bad thing. I found it a huge relief when I was dealing with my dad.

Minimiss said...

How maddening that Helen didn't turn up when she was seeming so promising. {{{Hugs}}} and kind thoughts are with you as always. So sorry to hear that Andy is deteriorating at such a rate. Hospice is a wonderful thing when you need it. Take care.

eepy said...

I think of you every day too, Liz. This is one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do, and you are doing it superbly well. HP (A) is so fortunate to have had you in his life.
I'm very disappointed in Helen, she seemed to the the answer to a lot of problems but she may be out of her depth now.
Again, I'm glad you have your art, and the busy work to keep you occupied. My local Lizzy does this too... always has some knitting or quilting or some project on the go.
I will be thinking of you and wishing there was some way I could help.

Anonymous said...

Here in Canada, we call this Palliative Home Care, which was what I did. I feel for you both, a difficult part of life's journey. As alarming as it sounds, when said out loud, home hospice can be doable, and can be a comfort to you both as this unfolds. Thinking of you often here in Calgary, Jean

Heather said...

I'm sitting with you quietly, virtually, but sitting with you just the same.

dogonart said...

All of the comments go for me too. Thinking of you every day and wishing you strength and patience in this very difficult time. Take care.

annie1931 said...

eepy expressed perfectly my thoughts for you {{HUGS}}, and bless Duncan for his comfort.
love, annie

Now, let me see if I can use what just might be a proper google account name and pw...if not, back to anonymous. xoxo