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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hospice Care


My dear friend Ted, who’s in a nursing home, just called me.  He has been approved for hospice care.  He won’t be leaving the home but caregivers will be coming to him a few times a week.  He is now paralyzed from the waist down and weighs just a little bit more than me.  But he of course, is a grown man and the one time we actually met, several years ago, his weight was about 150.  He’s had lots of surgeries and has rods in his back.  The pain medication he is on does little for him, and a doctor at the nursing home actually took one of them away from him.  He got it back this weekend.

Sometimes, when I speak to him I get so depressed and scared that I have a panic attack.  I was in panic attack mode before he called today and after we spoke it spiked.  I’m better now and trying not to think about the fact that I always seem to be a few months behind him in terms of symptoms.  And some of his “tricks” digestive wise don’t work for me.  Like the Relistor (the shot for opiate dependent patients).  That worked when I was in the hospital but does almost nothing for me at home.  And I know I’m doing it correctly.

So here’s the thing.  I don’t feel like I’m much good for anyone or anything, day in and day out.  But what I CAN do is be there for a friend who needs an ear.  And he does need an ear.  And he has been more than an ear for me over the years too.  He has sent me the most beautiful greeting cards you can imagine.  I have them all still and always will.  I feel blessed to have him in my life and I know that he wants what I want: to be done here.  But none of us knows when that will be so the best we can do while we are here is do the best that we can.  When talking with him I must listen with my heart as well as my ears, as he does with me.  I must admire his strength out loud, as he reminds me of how strong I have been.  I must assure him that there is something better on the other side and that G-d does exist and that He loves him, as he assures me of G-d’s love for me and His patience with my impatience.   

My impatience with this disorder that grows ever faster, my impatience with the checks and balances of chronic pain management, my impatience with the side-effects of that management, my impatience with 12 years of cabin fever, my impatience of what I often interpret as “missing out on life” my hearing loss, being able to be with people and most of all, my impatience of having to be on this planet when all I want is for it to be done and G-d, have mercy, do not send me back here, please, I beg Thee.  But what do I know.  Who in their right mind would want to be living a life of pain? 

Sadly, that may be the point.  Whatever I am here to learn, pain is the catalyst for that lesson.  Everyone has their own catalyst.  Perhaps I should think of it as a muse instead.  Pain as Muse.

I am being diligent with my drumming these days, but today it poked me further into panic mode so I will wait a bit and try again later.  Maybe it will bring me "Closer to Fine"  And bring me to being grateful for all I do have, including the incredible people I have met online through this blog.  Several have become very dear to me and generous with their kindness.



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