However She Wakes Up---a story from the deathchamber

  Donna lies on her ''deathbed''---a puffy new recliner we bought  for her return from the hospital---with a puke tub on her tummy, mouth agape, in a morphine fuelled sleep. She had various aches and pains this morning that would not go away with half doses of morphine ---Donna calls it ''medicine''---or lydocain patch. 

   Yesterday was a good day, dressing herself, washing a bit, getting all dolled up in her new purple house suit. We watched "Charade" in between visits from grandchildren and Margi arriving back from one of her endless errands, complaining of her knees, one of which was due last week to be surgically replaced . She was awake and alert and interested in her financial and legal affairs (including that will she forgot to write). We were supposed to have a lawyer visit today, but our teenage daughter is also quite ill, with a 2 week stomach virus, so we figured we finally had to take the complaining little whiner ("I'm so siiiiiiiiiiiiiick!Mommy take care of me!") to the pediatrician.

  We also watched alot of cable news. Alot. Donna schools me on the nuances of the stories we see. She is savvy; her news is her world. Her private world. Her public world is us, and her grandchildren, and the great grandchild on the way. 

  She is excited about the pople coming. He will land in an hour and a half. I told her it would be interesting to hear him speak in English, a language unfamiliar to him. I heard he was nervous about coming here. I am nervous too: I hope we don't embarrass ourselves. Especially the Congressmen listening to him give the new Catholic doctrine. 

   The lawyer's visit is postponed to tomorrow, so I hope she lives through the night.

   She almost certainly will. 

   But what new pain will she wake with? She pounds the arms of the chair in frustration: "Oooooh, I hate myself, I hate myself for feeling this way!"

   She thinks she has two years to live. We initially thought it was going to be weeks, but for the past three days of hospice she has made a remarkable comeback that unfortunately met a bump today.

   She is asleep. I will deal with how she wakes up . However she wakes up.

Views: 333

Comment by Zanelle on September 22, 2015 at 11:42am

My heart goes out to Donna.  I wonder how I would do in a similar situation.  Death.  I know it can take a long time.  The body doesn't want to go, no matter what the mind says.  Thank you for writing from the edge of the universe.  It is important.

Comment by marilyn sands on September 22, 2015 at 11:48am

Very well written in a house of pain - different degrees; to be sure.  Here's wishing all better days.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on September 22, 2015 at 11:57am

You've been there and done that with your parents.  Help Margaret and her kiddos. R&L

Comment by nerd cred on September 22, 2015 at 12:08pm

I'm sorry for Donna's pain - and all of yours. This will turn out to be precious time. It seems like you're making good use of it.

Comment by Jeanne Sathre on September 22, 2015 at 12:25pm

You're a good man, James. I'm glad you're there for everyone.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on September 22, 2015 at 12:32pm

The edge of the universe, that's as good a description of how we are feeling our way along day by day, hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute (not when she sleeps), as I have ever heard, Zanelle. We call it "Hospice Days (Daze)" or "Stage Four Cancer Theater".

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on September 22, 2015 at 12:34pm

Thanks Marilyn...for a house of pain we keep the mood light. No overly tragic stuff, please, we insist to each other. Anything that happens can be dealt with, is what we are trying to convince ourselves we believe.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on September 22, 2015 at 12:34pm

Nerd, Margaret and I are both writing about it...or, to be slightly mystical, writing it.

Comment by Anna Herrington on September 22, 2015 at 12:37pm

Thank you for writing - again, my heart goes out to you all.

I repeat, as not only is Margaret's beloved mom suffering, but more than one friend is dying of cancer, currently, in my own life too:

Curses, cancer, ye evil scourge!!!

(In person, a string of F words sometimes follows.)

Wish I could take it all away for you all.

Comment by nerd cred on September 22, 2015 at 12:45pm

As my dad's brain cancer progressed (entirely painlessly, thank god) he became more confused. Early on he'd try to change the TV channel with the phone. It wouldn't work and someone would switch the phone for the remote. That often wouldn't work either and dad would distractedly set it down and try again with the phone while we all enjoyed laughing at him. He had no idea. The memory is somehow sweet.

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