Subject: Jen wellness update #49 (27Jan01) The Final Hours
I'm going to retain the series title for these updates, even though it's not accurate anymore: it reflects the hope she felt right to the end.
I look back and see that I've not written about Angie: she was able to make Jen's last hours much less frightening for us all, and for Jen. Angie arrived as an old, old friend, but also as a doctor. Angie persuaded Jen to give low-level doses of morphine a try. Morphine is still the best drug for relaxing the body, and allowing you to feel like breathing is happening.
Tuesday was a busy day. Jen became very agitated at one point that she must talk to Paige. No amount of reassuring her that Paige was arriving tomorrow night helped. She talked to Paige. JenL arrived in SF but I told her to wait till tomorrow to visit.
And I sent everyone bar Robert away at eight o'clock. As Angie left she said that I should call her later that evening. Then something strange happened. It all went very, very quiet. Robert was with Jen. I pootered about the house. And nothing happened for a couple of hours. Robert woke, and I went to be with Jen: she took a little more morphine, then rested quietly. I dozed off.
But snapped awake at midnight, frightened. Jen still sleeping, but breathing slow. Wasn't Angie going to call? Must've missed it. Too late to wake her. Wake her. Angie? something's different. See you soon.
Then Jen woke, convinced it was morningtime, and time to get ready to see JenL. We got up for a little while - sat in the fireplace room. A strange burst of energy. Then Jen tired again. Angie could read things
I've never seen before. I'm not sure I would have known that this was really the time. JenL made it. Jen talked to her. Mum and Dad were called.
Jen slipped into unconsciousness and breathed increasingly slowly for some hours. We all spent time alone and together with her. I built a fire at four in the morning, and didn't let it burn out till Jen left the house later that afternoon.
I turned the oxygen concentrator off, and an eerie stillness settled. Dawn.
Now, a time for the living: I allowed Jen to rest at the house for most of the day, and let local people know that she was there. Throughout the day many people came to pay their respects, and I found it comforting to make the joke again and again of "I'll just go and see if Jen wants to see you".
Jen suffered much over the last six months, but the end was peaceful, and she knew who she was, and where she was, always.
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