Subject: Jen wellness update #47 (23Jan01) Waning and Letting Go
Robert and I are afraid to sleep together tonight - no that didn't come out right: Robert and I are taking turns being awake for Jen tonight. We are truly being 'Jen Watchers'.
Jen is a control freak. She and her beloved Palm-pilot are forever marshalling things. Since her operation in July she's only been able to take nutrition through the dreaded 'G-Tube'. She's also been on complex regimes of drugs and potions.
Part of Jen's routine has been to prepare her food and grind up her various pills ready for the tube. She doesn't like anyone to help with that - it's her thing: that's how she knows she's coping. And no-one enters appointments into the Palm, except Jen.
Latterly she's been able to let the responsibility go. Karly can, in fact, be trusted to judge the right temperature for the goop in the feed bag, and he seems to know just what pills are needed and when. What's happening today? When is Paige coming? Should I take an Ativan now? Karl will know. Shall I try to stay up for awhile? Karl? Is it safe to fall asleep? Is Karl watching?
Today Jen & I met with our counselor, with whom we've formed a special bond over the past year. Family Perlman found some errand to run, and the three of us had a peaceful time alone in the apartment. Jen realized that everything that needs to be done is done. The panic of a few days ago is subsiding. Jen is waning, and letting go.
And, late this afternoon a nurse came to visit. Jen isn't metabolizing quite enough oxygen, and her lungs aren't completely clear. It's possible that she could have pneumonia. Bang. Without quite enough preparation we are addressing real end of life issues.
How many times have I written in these updates that things weren't quite as expected? We'd thought that the hypocalcaemia from the cancer would slowly return, that Jen would become tired, and that it would be a gentle change from life to death. But pneumonia? And being asked just like that, on a Monday afternoon?
This time, Jen & I felt that the call was an easy one: there are few downsides to a course of antibiotics. And Jen would like to see some special friends who are traveling now to see her.
So Robert and I are watching ...
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