Last night was an absolute night out of hell.
The subcutaneous syringe driver was halted as Vic’s tissue is so bad. Vic is now on 100mg Durogesic patches and morphine syrup. Initially it appeared to be an okay solution. Then the nausea started…. The pain steadily increased to absolute intolerable levels by last night.
Yesterday morning Vic was great! She obviously still has some of the intravenous morphine in her system. (I also gave her extra morphine syrup as a precaution). She went to breakfast with her friend Angela and had a wonderful time. She glowed when she got back. Gill, my BFF, popped in for a cup of tea and was amazed (once again) at how well Vic was looking. Madam was even wearing a shoe with a little heel (which we made her take off).
In the afternoon Vic started looking grim. She was nauseous and suffering from abdominal cramping. Her tummy was distending.
By 10pm last night Vicky was sobbing with pain. By 11pm she was vomiting uncontrollably. She has severe intestinal pain and I believe she fractured a vertebra with the vomiting.
This morning I had an early meeting. Half an hour into the meeting Vic phoned sobbing uncontrollably. I was unable to hear what she was saying through her sobs. I just said “Baby, I am on my way…”
When I arrived at home Sr Ciza from Hospice was here. She had given Vic a morphine injection and an additional 25mg Durogesic patch. Vic was already looking so much better. Ciza encouraged me to get a night nurse to assist me… She had written a motivational letter to the medical aid without my knowledge. I don’t think I am ready for that yet.
Whilst she was vomiting last night I thought of how quickly she “crashes” and how the good times have almost disappeared. Yesterday morning Angela actually looked at me with a question mark in her eyes when Vic said she wanted to go out for breakfast. I nodded my “consent”. You see I had just read a comment from an incredible brave lady.
“my husband has expressed the same concerns you have over your daughter pushing too hard when she does feel better. it is so important to me when i do have a good day to get out or make dinner, even doing laundry makes me happy. it is a reminder that i am still me. while i see your point and his, i know how vic feels and know that for me it is worth the price i pay afterward to have that time where i feel like the old me. the me before. My heart goes out to you all and say a little prayer for your continued wisdom and love. http://thedrsays.org/”
Today I would also like to quote my “mentor into the world of pain” Tracy Rydzy http://ohwhatapain.wordpress.com/author/ohwhatapain
The concept of illness as a way of telling you to slow down is frustrating, as I have always lived life in the proverbial fast lane. Since my first surgery, my life has basically come to a screeching halt. Any living I do is now in the slow lane, sometimes I never even make it off the shoulder. I think one of the most difficult aspects of pain, especially during a flare, is the comorbid (I have to use my expensive Master’s Degree vocabulary sometimes) depression and mood swings.
It’s hard to deal with the slow down. I mean, generally, this is something that comes with age and is a natural part of life, but when it happens at 33, how the heck do you reconcile that? Before “all this” I felt so strong. I felt like I could take on the world. I used to be busy everyday, all day and the craziness of my schedule was like a high. Now, I have maybe a quarter of that activity, some days, I have none. The worst part about slowing down is that the pain slows down my body, but not my mind (thankfully), so in my head I still feel like the woman who can go all day, do it all, run around all day and still have energy left to cook dinner and clean the house. Nowadays I get up at 1030am on a good day, workout and do maybe one chore, and by the time I am done I want to cry from pain and exhaustion. But I am still me. I refuse to let the pain change who I am.
I still feel like I can do it all, but I can’t. The constant drive to push and do more is, at times, a gift and a curse. I still push myself to do more, even if it comes with the cost of a day in bed. When it comes to physical therapy (and the accompanying weight loss), I know that I push myself too far, too often. That part of my brain that refuses to accept this “new normal” can’t give up certain things. One thing I can do is physical therapy, so I will do it as hard as I can and push myself, regardless of the cost to my body. A couple of weeks ago I hurt my back (more) while driving and the surgical nurse, who knows me well by this point, actually said, “I tell most patients to slow down for a little while, but I won’t bother telling you that, I know you won’t.”
Sometimes the slow down causes resentment. I get angry that those around me have a life and are busy and that adds to the mood swings and depression. The weekends are the hardest because I want to do so much more than I realistically can, yet I watch friends and family run from event to event with no need to stop and rest. For me, a trip to Wal-mart requires a rest.
Flares do bring up an interesting realization, though. Until things get as bad as they are right now, I didn’t realize that I was in less pain before. So, in essence, flares tell your body to slow down and take it easy, but at the same time, for me at least, it takes something bad to make me realize that before this, I was feeling a little better, at least by comparison. Now if only I could return to feeling like crap instead of complete crap…
So, the bottom line is, what do you do when life slows you down? http://ohwhatapain.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/flares
I wish I had understood Vic’s pain-filled world earlier. I am so sorry for getting angry with her for trying to live. I wish we had more time.
4 thoughts on “Hospice Day 11”
So hard to think of anything to say, though I want to. Of course, Vic and the others want to live as much as they can; it is well near unbearable for you to see the consequences.
You are a very strong amazing woman to cope with everything the way you do. I am so touched that you used my post in yours, it is so humbling. I am so sorry for what you are going through but I must say you are an incredible and insightful author and your writing is very touching and you make everything so relatable! Thank you for letting us into your world
what a gift to you both that you are trying to understand now what pain can do. we (the dying) don’t understand at times how our loved ones can ask us to not take advantage of a few good hours. yet reading your blog helps me understand and look at my husband’s feelings more closely.
it is not the amount of time but what you do with it. you and your family live in love, that is beautiful. wishing you continued peace of heart.
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