Reflection on December 7 2017

As I look back over my posts from this week a year ago, I’m struck by things I had forgotten. 1. Lynette’s speech difficulties lasted longer than I remembered. 2. I had forgotten that problems with fluid on her RIGHT lung became obvious early in the week. She had had a “pleural drain” inserted on her LEFT lung at MD Anderson on November 10. She had, of course, had breathing difficulties that showed up intensely on Thanksgiving Day and she had come home on oxygen. Fluid accumulation on her RIGHT lung was new. That tells me that “disease progression” had accelerated. Whether that progression was behind her neurological difficulties is not something we ever got answered and is, maybe, not that important now. 3. I began the week believing that we could still have a goal of her returning to mobility and handling her Activities of Daily Living to a degree that would allow her to return to MD Anderson for the Clinical Trial. She had said “You hide and watch” to indicate HER confidence in that same goal.

I know that by Tuesday or Wednesday of that week, I was becoming skeptical that this was going to happen. I had a lengthy Facebook Messenger conversation with Clare Richardson Biedenharn about how she had come to decide that her husband Jim needed to move into Hospice care. The way I framed the question was “How did you know it was time to stop?” By Thursday, December 7, I had not come to decide it was time for US to stop, but the question was now in my mind and heart and in conversation with another person walking the same path.

I watched Lynette during those days doing her level best to cooperate with the Occupational and Physical Therapists. She was always “game” to try what they asked and always pleasant and cordial with anyone who came into the room. It’s also the job of such persons to be encouraging. The combination of “optimisms” may have been a little misleading to me.

The circumstances of Lynette’s being at St. Dominic’s meant that the hosptialists overseeing her care were not as familiar with her case as they might have been. It took until Thursday, December 7 for the St. D. hospitalists and Lynette’s UMMC oncologists to get into contact. New scans were ordered for December 7 and 8 to see where things stood with the “disease progression.” Lynette’s last UMMC scans had been in September and her last scans at MD Anderson had been in early November. Things certainly CAN change in that time.

I’m holding the rest of this story until tomorrow. In many ways, December 8, 2017 was the worst day. While some details from earlier in the week had become fuzzy, the details of THAT day are ones I will never forget.

About jaltman81

United Methodist Clergy
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