Monday, 15 December 2014

It is a down hill slide for Old Man Watching

I actually started this blog a few weeks ago but didn't get the editing done or find time to come back to finish it.  I have a few minutes before I have to administer some drugs...oxycontin.  The codeine 3's weren't working anymore.  I am tired but wrote most of this in a family information letter so will just copy parts to update my Blogger site.  If you are also on Google + you may get an extra just delete it.  I just do not have the energy to type much news, but do sit mindlessly reading your entries and am thankful for them, but don't have the strength to respond to them. I don't know where the last tthree months went.  I am tired though and very thankful for the hospice workers and volunteer visitors who let me go for a walk and to get a few books at the library and milk at the grocery store.  I will keep adding to this for a few days.

Duncan has lost a lot of weight as he eats little, mostly porridges, soups, and puddings.  His belly is distended from retaining water and the tumours.  He needs assistance to get up to even sit on the edge of the bed.   Any exertion, such as getting out of bed to the commode, makes him short of breath afterwards and he has an anxiety attack while gasping for oxygen.  That just started a few days ago. However the good news is that after our weekly nurse's assessment on Friday, his meds will be changed.​

He will be given narcotic meds that work for 12 hours at a time.  ALLELUIA....ALL NIGHT.  I had been having to get up every 4 hours and then other times for toileting and other needs.  That made me happy as I might get a better sleep some nights.  I will also walk over in the projected -18 C. or so weather, to the pharmacy, to get the narcs and some anti-anxiety pills for when he panics when he can't breathe.  There is too much pressure from swelling which pushes onto his lungs.  He will also get some diuretics to drain some of the fluid from the abdominal pressure on his lungs.  

On a brighter note, our landlord, Jim and Pitter-Patter (as Duncan calls Presley), Jim's grand-daughter, came and hung a garland of greenery with lights in our living room window to start the Christmas season off.  He also hung multi-coloured lights outside on the porch posts and the B/B sign.  They looked quite festive in the cold, dark, windy winter nights we were having.  Duncan calls Presley, Pitter-Patter, because he LIKES the sound of her little feet running around upstairs when she visits, which is often.  Isn't it funny the things that make old men happy?  ​  Jim also gave me a fibre-optics table-top tree which cheers the living room up a bit for the Christmas season.
Duncan's cards and crib-playing friends from the Legion came to visit. (Bob and Jeannine Nishigushi).  They talked about the old school where Duncan attended years ago as we had a class picture.  Bob could name most of the kids in the photo as he was born in Ashcroft.                        

​Travis (down below with our grand-daughter, Eden, 5) took a few days off of work to drive up to visit his Dad.  It is a long day from Nanaimo to Ashcroft with a 2 hour ferry trip in the way.  6-8 hours travel...Travis and his family turned their garage wall into a MOVEMBER exhibit in November.  It raises awareness for men's cancer and research.  It is chalk-paint so it will dissolve over the rainy winter in Nanaimo.

November is over.  I doubt that Duncan will see another Christmas but then the specialist told me he would be gone by Halloween so God must have other plans.  Somebody once told me that if you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans.  I have some choice street-language words I could use these days about cancer.  You can just guess which of the rudest I would like to use.  (My childhood favorite, used out-of-adult-earshot was,   shit.. fart.. poop.. damn.. turd....and it felt scandalous to rattle off when we were younger).  That ​doesn't come close to what I would say about cancer today......

Duncan is enjoying all kinds of music on CBC and that is a bit of a shock to me.   I am sure God is laughing at that one too.  Maybe it is a gift to me.   He used to complain about my choice of radio for listening to CBC.  He has also started discussing 'the meaning of life' questions.  He has a lot of questions and not many answers.  It makes for good conversations, usually in the morning when he is brighter.  This morning we decided that life just might be all about hot chocolate with whipped cream topping.   That was only half in jest   after I brought him a morning cup of it with whipped cream on top.  He seems to still enjoy that treat every morning.

Our friend Germaine sat with him while I used her warm pickup to get his new meds and some groceries.  I also get breaks from 2 Care Workers and 2 volunteers on different days.  Jean comes to relieve me so I can go to church on Sunday mornings and stay for coffee hour afterwards.  The Home Care Registered Hospice nurse is now coming twice a week.

  Sister Linda brought the finished bone china urn that she painted for Duncan's ashes.          
​She also brought one for me that Duncan declined as he didn't want pansies on his urn. Why?  He would have accepted lilacs.

Mine has licorice allsorts in it right now.

​Here is a picture from a happier day in our suite last month when I had a 70th birthday party thrown for me on the 16th.  I didn't have to do anything and was waited on a lot.

My Crones group are spectacular and supportive and make me laugh.  Nobody could have a better bunch of buddies.  I am the Queen because I am the oldest of the group.
We talk a lot about the old days and when Duncan's favorite horse for branding and roping, who was called Who Dat, looked somewhat like the big lanky bay horse in this painting.  


  1. Karyn, I am so thankful to see you here today, and to get your news. I'm so sorry that Duncan is still struggling in this world. Being a caregiver is not an easy occupation, especially when you care for a loved one. You both remain in my daily prayers. The urn your friend painted for Duncan's remains is perfect. Yours is lovely, and I hope it continues to hold candies for many years to come. I would be helping if I lived closer, but know that you are in my daily thoughts and prayers. Hugs across the miles, with love.

  2. Thank you for this honest account of the last stretch of an earth life. If there is one thing I learned from being with my dying sister it is that we are alive until we are dead. This is not meant as a platitude. Duncan is a very fortunate man to have such loving care in his final time here. Wishing you strength, you are doing awesome!

  3. I was checking your blog, I though it was a long time since your posted and I found your post didn't show on my list as it should. I'm glad to read how many people are around to help. Sending you lots of hugs and prayers.

  4. Karyn, so sorry to hear your news. My thoughts are with you (as ever). My love to you and tell those crones to stick around some more.