***If you are just joining the blog, you may want to read a few of the previous posts to catch up, this is a healing journey. It’s my story, as I walked along side of my husband Paul during his battle with cancer. We began this journey in 2011- these are the emails that I used to keep all of our friends and family in the loop. ***
We are home. They released Paul yesterday when I got back to the hospital and I was able to bring him home.
He never had pneumonia.
It was the disease causing the fever. The disease causing the pain.
It’s moving and spreading throughout his chest. Primarily his lungs and liver… these are the two major organs that will be affected.
When they diagnosed him as terminal, they told us this would happen… and they were right. He was so lethargic because he wasn’t producing blood. He wasn’t strong enough- or should I say- his immune system was not strong enough… because God knows My Marine is strong enough!
He came home and has barely sat down. His energy level is higher. He kept putzing outside for hours… he built a bonfire and just sat in a chair and watched it. He burnt every scrap piece of anything he could find… he even ate his dinner by the fire. I whipped up some skeeter spray for him… and he sipped his ice water and dozed and putzed. He is medicated. Hopefully the meds will keep the pain at bay.
We talked on the way home about what the Dr.’s said. Here’s the deal… on Saturday when they admitted him and he was all loopy (sometimes talking lucid… other times rambling…) with a fever and meds… we talked about the disease moving. I told him that the chest x-raydidn’t look good. The tech said that it was really cloudy. I told him I was scared… I held his hand. He told me he was worried too. I just kept telling him that it would be okay. I told him I loved him and that it was all going to be okay…
The next day, he told my mom that he kept dreaming last night about me telling him it would be okay. He said he was really glad that it wasn’t his cancer that was doing this, he was thankful it was just the pneumonia.
We decided then- to not tell him any differently.
On Sunday- the pain started. They started him on pain meds to keep him comfortable… nothing stopped it.
At one point… he was moaning and trying to scrunch up his legs… Hailey hopped up and laid her hands on him and prayed. He had tears in his eyes, and said- “Thanks Hailey Pie…”
They gave him several doses of morphine then resorted to dilaudin… he got real sleepy… then- really playful.
For the next few days- he was happy- soft spoken and gentle- and generally in a great mood. Dopey at times, but always smiling. He joked with Hailey and I all day on Monday, he was flirting and sometimes downright silly.
Jennifer called and said she was coming with the baby- and once I told him that… he kept smiling.
He kept rambling about how blessed we were… how exciting- right babe? Then he’d giggle… we would ask him what he was laughing about- with closed eyes… he’d say- “Them babies…” He was giddy. He was so excited that Lydia was coming to see her bampa.
He was beaming when they got there, he showed her off to all the nursing staff… and he just smiled.
His favorite nurses were all tripping over themselves to give him the best care… seriously… they love him there. Sis came in and gave him a big smooch right on the lips. Troy, Jan and Mikailu- all just dote over him. He had great care. We are very blessed.
He was given four pints of blood while he was there. His hemoglobin was so low. That explains the lethargy.
The next morning- the Dr.’s came again on morning rounds- they suggested doing a full chest cat scan. (They had talked on Sunday about doing an abdominal x-ray….but never did.)
The nurse practitioner- the one that Paul disliked from before… the one I had the talk in the hallway with… was a peach this time!! She ordered the CT. They also changed his antibiotics to something stronger… big mistake… The first time ever- he had an allergic reaction. His lips swelled up… he looked like a duck. Oh boy- he had fun with that. He kept telling Mellissa- take a picture of me.. take a picture of me… OhMygoodness… he was a nut.
We told him about our hotel room- and how unusual the layout was… spooky even.. reminded us of the movie The Shining. Seriously, long narrow hallways… chandeliers hanging and that got him going with “REDRUM”…. he and Troy had a great time with that. All day long when anyone would walk past his room- he would lower his voice to get gravely then say “redrum”. At one point he wanted me to write with his red cough syrup on the mirror. Then Troy said- hey- “Where’s your lipstick? You should write “redrum” on the mirror…” Oh man, they really got to see his humor this time!
His sister Laura and Jerry came up to visit… also my Aunt Linda and Uncle Burt… It was great to have the support of so many people praying and lifting us up.
I had to go home Tuesday – because we closed on the Dighton house on Weds morning- and I needed new clothes. On the way home, Tuesday night … I realized I wouldn’t be there when they discussed the CT results with him in the morning … I was a little apprehensive about how he would react with the news.
Deep down… we all knew it was the cancer…but we honestly did think that he had pneumonia… they were giving him breathing treatments… several back to back antibiotics… and that’s what they told us.
Mellissa and Mike were there when they talked over the results. It was not pneumonia. It was just the disease. It had caused all of the recent symptoms.
I asked why they were doing the other stuff then?? I guess the blood cultures take 48 hours to complete- so they just found out that it wasn’t pneumonia. When I got to the hospital… he was edgy. Snippy again. The playful Paul surrendered to the fear. UGH….
We spoke about pain meds. How to administer them. How to keep him comfortable. We also talked to the Palliative Care staff… we also got more information on the difference between Palliative care and Hospice. (We already knew this… but it was nice for the girls to have the information too.) We still have the option of home nursing to come once a week or when necessary… more.
They released him and I brought him home.
He was out in the yard until after 10:00pm… sitting by the fire. I finally made him hop in the shower and convinced him that it was time to head to bed. He slept pretty good- only woke a few times… but got up and came to the couch at 5ish… he was on the couch when I got up at 6:30.. and is still there now. It’s time for breakfast… I think I will let him sleep.
The biggest difference between now and last week- is the meds. He isn’t taking all the dang pills. Only pain meds.
No more bladder stuff… no more prostate stuff… no more high blood pressure…and no more insulin. He will monitor his sugar and may need Glipiszide if his levels are up… but things are different. He has energy. Although right now, he is peaceful and relaxed.
Okay everyone- I had better start my day. My coffee is cold and I need a shower. Have a blessed day and know he is in good hands. It will take a day or so to get his routine back… once we do-his mood will mellow… it always does.
Thanks again from the bottom of our hearts for the kindness, good energy, prayers, gas cards… we feel the love and appreciate it all.
Peace and Love,
*** Side Note
We had a bonfire sing along that night, a few neighbors and family came by. They brought guitars, we sat around the fire and listened to the guys playing. It was such a beautiful gift. Looking back now, it was as if it was all planned…
(Insert wink here)
God is so faithful… especially when I am.