A Request for Support
2010 July 15
Created by Tom on 08/05/2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010 (sent to a select list)
Dear support friends,
After a hard night and me holding and helping Karen on her bed for three hours while she sipped soda and threw up, it is now clear that she is in her last days. The new nausea-relief drug regime she tried last night decidedly did not work. Karen is sufficiently miserable she wants something that will work even if it makes her chronically sleepy, so our hospice nurse has gotten a prescription for a much more powerful mixture. Karen is going off all food and will get very little liquid. She will probably be sleeping the majority of the time now. The hospice nurse advises me to start making most of the decisions, to be the pilot with Karen as co-pilot, as she is able, as she is going to have a hard time thinking about and holding responsibility for such choices. After a few days, she will (according to the hospice nurse) start to feel some of the good feelings that people experience when they fast. The chances are extremely high she will die within the next couple of weeks, but we don't know when. Hopefully it will be easy for her, easier than it is right now.
This means that my Karen-care will involve less engaged conversation and more intense round-the-clock attention (including frequent provision of ice chips and tissues and many more such small tasks) than has been true for the last two months. It will be much more like it was during April -- except without Anna and Les -- and therefore more potentially overwhelming. I will need more spiritual and emotional support from all of you, in person or "in the field". For those of you who live far away, I ask that you hold me/us in your thoughts and be available for calls, should I really need to talk. For those who live nearby, I seek more logistical support than I have sought in the last three months. I will need to leave the nursing home occasionally for errands but I will not want to leave Karen without a friend to act in my place as caregiver and advocate (for this role I would prefer just a few of Karen's friends who can get familiar with the scene and what's needed here). I will also need occasional meals, transportation, laundry, listening, and other support. Please let me know what you would be happy to offer.
Thank you very much for your friendship.