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Thursday, August 27, 2009


composition in gray #2

I was somewhat awake when Jr called me. The clock said 2. He was on his bed and said, Did you hear that? I said, What? He said, A loud explosion, blew the hell out of everything, felt like lightning hit me. I can't move.

As you might guess, I suddenly didn't know what to do. Didn't know how to interpret when he heard and felt. Stroke? Heart attack? Dream? He couldn't move was no dream. He managed to get one hand to respond to his will enough to move just a little. Then it moved a little more. He moved his arm, then the other hand gradually and the arm. He straightened a leg with much pain. He wanted to sit up, but couldn't. I put a hand behind his back and lifted him lightly, his face wringing itself dry from pain in his back. He sat upright on the side of the bed, his feet not touching the floor.

He wanted into the wheelchair, which he likes to negotiate himself. I called the hospice number expecting an answering machine. Somebody who just woke up answered. She then connected me with the nurse on duty, who was also asleep. I did't feel right waking them, but I'd been told when something happens in the night to call. The nurse was baffled. First time she'd heard of anything like what I'd described. She wanted me to watch him and if it got worse to call back.

He crept into the wheelchair and wheeled to the living room with a great deal of effort. He wanted something to drink. I suggested and ensure. OK. I brought him one and he told me I pet him too much. I said, That's what I'm here for. He drank it down a little at a time. The pain in his knee never let up. The pain completely occupied his mind. He wanted to go back to bed. He tried to make the wheelchair turn around to go the opposite direction. He kept it at until I saw this wasn't going to get anywhere. I took the handles, turned him around and headed him through the doorway. He tucked his elbows in and I pushed him over to the bedside. I gave him a couple of pain pills while he was up, too.

I didn't know about the pain patches that had been delivered a couple days ago. I wanted a nurse to put that on him. I was holding out, hoping this would be the solution to all his pain. It's a 3-day patch. Next one I'll have to put on him this coming Sunday. It is about an inch long and a half inch wide. Transparent like a piece of really clear scotch tape.

He was in agony in the morning with his knee. I was jumping up and down inside for nurse to get here. I was up at 7 this morning , unable to go back ot sleep after waking, wondering what that lightning strike was last night. A few minutes after 10 the CNA arrived to bathe him. She knew about what had happened in the night, and I told her what has happened since; he got his feeling back and was up in the wheelchair. She said the nurse was on her way and would be here soon. The nurse arrived after Jr had been cleaned. He was in too week a state to get into the shower.

I talked with the nurse a good bit, talking about the incident in the night. By this time, after thinking about it much of the night and all morning, I'd come to see it must have been a dream. Posibly he moved in his sleep and a surge of pain from the knee triggered a dream, a lightning strike and a big explosion. That's what it felt like; dream mind saw thunder and lightning. Like the time a week or so ago in the night he was rolling the wheelchair through the living room where I'm sleeping on the pallet on the floor. My feet were in his way. He tried to push my feet out of the way with his foot. I dreamed a cat was playing with my foot while I'm in the bed at home sleeping. I sat up and said, Stop it. Jr was there in the wheelchair, the lights were on and I was sitting up on the floor. The nurse felt like it was probably a dream, too.

It was a joy for me sitting here seeing how they work with him, hearing how they talk to him. Everything they did and said was from the caring place within. They fussed over him like he was their Emperor and they were his adoring servants. He was given a shave. The nurse took his blood pressure, felt his pulse, and listened with the stethoscope. I'd known her for several years and Jr knew her dad for a whole lot of years. Having them here was like having friends visiting.

In all the Hospice people I've become acquainted with, I see a light, a very spirited light. I can't help but see them as people living what it means to be a true Christian. These are every day of the week kinds of Christians, who don't browbeat anybody. I can see in every one of them their work makes them happy. It's a lot of work and they get tired, but they feel fulfilled by what they do. Their genuine generosity of spirit seems such a rare thing in this time that I'm continually overwhelmed by what they do for Jr and their concern for what I'm going through, as well.

It's a whole new paradigm. When I'm used to the people coming through the door threatening nursing home, inspecting, not being friendly at all except in such obvious superficial ways they don't even need acknowledging, every encounter with the Hospice people is shocking. They're so open and generous and real. Their work has real meaning. It's not just a job.

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