Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Life and Death

I haven't had a lot to say; there's a lot on my family's collective mind right now.  My uncle who has had numerous extremely nasty health issues since a motorcyle accident paralyzed him about 9 or 10 years ago is dying.  And sadly it hasn't been the most peaceful, slipping away in his sleep, that we all wanted for him or that he deserved.  The life he has lived since the accident has been a horror story in many ways and his death has not been an easy one.  Currently he just keeps hanging on despite having had no nutrition or fluids in many days, being on doses of pain meds that should suppress breathing, oxygen levels low enough to cause death typically, various organs have shut down and he has had end-of-life breathing patterns yet he is still here.  It is heartbreaking and it is so hard because he and my aunt are the love story everyone wishes they had.  For me personally I have not seen him more than once or twice in the last 10 years but he was so kind to us when we were children.  It takes a brave man to take on 5 girls with a 3.5 year age difference between oldest and youngest and he did it, a lot.  My favorite memory is the last time I saw him before his accident.  It was my sister's wedding and the groomsman I was supposed to dance with had no more idea than I did how to dance and my shoes were incredibly slippery which was making it even worse.  He was laughing so hard at us that he was nearly crying.  I don't think too many people paid that much attention to the sideshow but we were very close to his table and well, we were a disaster.  A huge disaster.  It is a miracle we didn't wind up laying on the dance floor, it was that bad.  So it is a kind of quiet time here, contemplative and with lots of checking in on the situation calls.  My mom went up I think 3 days in a row and then weather and a bad cold stopped her but in that time my cousins (who all have young children) have been able to fill in the gaps and my aunt doesn't need her so much and wouldn't want her there anyway.  
I have seen "bad deaths" before (isn't that an awful term?) and this isn't one of them.  They are controlling his pain although they've had to resort to injections which isn't pleasant but he can't swallow and IVs would only prolong his suffering so this is the only effective choice (they tried another way and it didn't help).  There is no screaming in agony and no pleading to not die.  Those are "bad deaths".  This is just a long one, with more suffering than seems fair after years of increasing suffering, and a body that just won't give up.

It is so weird how it all works.  My cat who I was told was so sick that I really didn't think she would survive the summer is clearly intent on living to be 20 in July.  She has gained weight, eats well, and has even gotten stronger lately (she can pull herself into my bed without using the carefully disguised step system I made for her on the other side.  She hasn't done that in a year).  She looks healthy, is a decent weight and honestly her worst problem is that I can't find glucsomaine treats without grains that make her very, very sick so her arthritis gets to her some days.  But even as I type she's saying that she'd prefer I stop and keep her warm (like that is possible with these wind chills....my heat pump is past its' ability to keep the house warm so I'm living under a pile of blankets in fleece pajamas).  She shouldn't be here.  And not to compare a pet to a human life but my uncle is young, not even 69 and he shouldn't be dying and certainly not in this manner.

And the hardest part is that life goes on.  I'm feeling good right now.  But I suspect I'm about to make a decision that will compromise that.  See my brother is going to be arrested again literally any day now.  We've passed the average and are more than living on borrowed time and for now I'm just praying it doesn't happen until my aunt doesn't need my mom as much because my mom will fall apart when this happens.  I see Dr. Brain Monday and am going to ask her if she will up my Seroquel any further if there is an issue, like not coping well with that arrest.  She might but I think it is not very likely as I'm on a very high dose, there's only one more boost to reach the maximum she prescribes for anyone ever and I have a few side effects that are my body not tolerating this as well as possible.  (OK, fine, peeing is an experience instead of something I just do.  And forget peeing and reaching into a drawer for something or petting a cat or anything; it takes full concentration.)  This has been a side effect of other meds but not quite as badly and I had very frequent UTIs with it then.  Anyway, if she can't increase if needed (and I'm not sure I'm willing to try the higher dose if not necessary because of weight gain) then I am going to ask her to lower my dose so that we have room to go up when I really need it.  I'm doing well right now and hopefully am able to wiggle a little.  The argument against this is that I started doing better than ever before when I hit this dose so why risk it, but I have nothing else to use without introducing a new med if I struggle with the inevitable--and I don't see not struggling there.

I am so glad to be done with PT.  I am so much better with less committments. I'm doing well at getting my exercises in at least 3 times per week or more and I'm making big gains still.  Things I couldn't do when I was discharged without pain and cheating are easy now.   Plus I'm not really interested in walking on ice this year and rather than going to appointments and praying for a good handicap spot it has been a blessing to just hole up inside while it is icy and scary cold.  I was so mad Monday because I was excited to get to show Dr Mind "No brace!" and although it wasn't snowy here it was in the city so I had to put my brace on in his parking lot before I could walk in it.  The lot is weird; there are 4 slots that are nice if you get them but I rarely do.  There is a top lot where mostly staff parks but I'm allowed to while physically disabled but I always forget to even look there.  And there's a lower lot with a decent walk up a little hill to get to the offices.  So it may be a while before I get to show him just a sock.

There is a DBSA support group 25 miles from here that I want to try eventually but for now I'm taking a break.  4 full months of PT along with being nearly 7 months out from the surgery that has dictated everything I do for so long has been a lot and I just need some time.  Plus I need to go back to PT eventually and it's better to do the support group after that when I won't be starting and stopping.  And the winter weather won't encourage participation.

In the final news my credit card has lost its' ability to reason.  I was just notified my credit limit was increased to an amount that is almost my entire income.  I could buy a car on this credit card.   Not a great car, but a car.  Yay for a good credit score but wow.  Back when I was working and my credit score was not quite as high but my income was 4 or 5 times this much they wouldn't increase my limit at all.  And I will be paying off another card totally in 2 weeks so may get another limit increase then.  

One of the better ideas I had when I was still employed but knew I was going to have to quit was that I applied for a couple of credit cards with my old income.  It has done wonders for my credit score and in the next months that will go up even further after the one card is paid off and old late payments come off my record.  I have great credit for someone with no ability to pay it off.......

Anyway, that's enough for now.  So much happening at once....


Rachael said...

"And the hardest part is that life goes on" - that is one of the truest things I have read in a long time.

Jean Grey said...

I think I am waiting on the spring for my DBSA group. It is just too depressing to get out of work in the dark and jump into my car and drive in the dark to the group. I will try again in the spring.