Glorious Nativity

26 December, 2009

I’m sorry I haven’t posted. I’m daunted by the task, and can’t give you as much as I’d like, for all of the expected reasons: Increased pain and shortness of breath, weakness and shakiness (?). Forgive typos.

Last Sunday, Fr John was here. He had come to give me Communion, and we were talking afterward when a string of other parishioners arrived. Dr Bob had brought twenty to carole me from the other side of the mountain.

I managed to mostly keep it together; Christopher was not. He has been very moved by the actions of Holy Trinity and her clergy. I hope and pray that after Christ takes me, he and the church will continue to heal one another.


Oh you heard something about the nor’easter that hit. Boy, did it, but not as bad as they’d predicted. Weather report said sleet and freezing rain every day, and we tunred out to ave only one of those, thank God. If our roles were reversed, this would be hell for me, as scared of heights as I am.

Christmas Day began very bad, Christmas here, and all. Christopher arrived in his Santa cap when Sharon, Brook, and Stacy, three nurses aides, were here and I was recovering from a particularly excrutiation pain spam.

Sharon was crying as she took my hand and said this was going to be the best Christmas ever because I was surrounded by people who loved me. That’s when I started crying, when I realized the truth of what she said, and we had a room of ten wet eyes.

Everything was uphill after that.

Christopher is on I-99 now, but they canceled my brother’s flight. April is on her way.

With that I log off for a while. My meds are making me very groggy.

Worse and better

20 December, 2009

I’ve been noticeably worse the last couple of days. However, Christopher called at 10:00 from the driveway as he was pulling out to drive down here, so he should be here at the latest by 11. And Marlin and Linda are dropping by on their way out of town, so I should be able to get them to stay until Christopher gets here.

They’re here. More later.

Late development

20 December, 2009

Every morning between 8 and 9 I get my first dose of meds, and whie in terms of Methadone, it’s the same as the other, I also get a bunch of other pills and capsules. The result is waves of nausea. I haven’t thrown anything up yet, but I dread that first dose every day.

Almost screwed myself

16 December, 2009

Instead of paying attention to med shifts, and getting up around 1 or so at the latest, but I decided to wait until 2-ish, when Christopher would be there. I will never do that again.

Being moved in that hydraulic lift can be excruciating. That, then being plunked down into the chair, then being jerked around to adjust me, well, it just ain’t pleasant. Suffice it to say that right after being seated is the only time I always need a breakthrough Methadone.

However, it turned out I was way at the last strings of the Methodone, not to mention the aides’ shift. They did the sack of potatoes routine, then ran out. I was miserable, and getting worse every minute. The nurse got me my second base dose, but finding two aides just coming on duty to put me back to bed seemed like it took forever.

Oh, the motor chair came, but I have to have some tech to show me how to drive it. It looks narrow, though, painfully narrow. I’ll reserve my opinion on it, but I suspect we may have to search for another, wider, chair.

Ah. The base dose is starting to take effect. More later, maybe.

First report

16 December, 2009

Med changes took effect at midnight, when I got 35 meg Methadone. This morning I had to have a breakthrough pill, 10 mg instead of 7.5, but 8 am is when I get my next base 35 mg dose.

Real News

15 December, 2009

Nurse Nancy, the Hospice nurse, brought very good news today. First, to alleviate the worst tendency over the last few weeks, the rapid increase in pain, she called Dr Ellison, my palliative care doctor from Geisinger (Danvile), and he made the following changes:

Base dosage (every 8 hrs, unaffected by breadthrough doses)

20 mg Methadone -> 35 mg Methadone

PRN (breakthrough) doses, not to exceed every three hours, unaffected by base doses.

7.5 mg Methadone -> 10-15 mg Methadone, set at 10 originally by Nurse Nancy.

20/8 –> 35
7.5 –> 10

The progression of the cancer is what it is, of course, but this should make it liveable for a decent period of time.

It wasn’t just the progression, but the location of the pain. It went from displaced to the hips straight to the lungs — that is, the back. Think a metal constriction band squeezing until it crushes your vertebrae and ribs. That’s an accurate, if slightly less intesnse, description.

The control of the pain isn’t just meds. It’s posture. One thing repeatedly that has been recommended is an air mattress. The Hospice found one of imperfect size (long enough, but not wide enough), and we’ll try it.

All but one approval has flown through for a motorized wheelchair. Only one more, and I will, once lifted into it, be able to fly up and down the halls.

Finally, I met the Orthodox chaplain of our Hospice, a Fr Stephen (AOCNA). Sure, I know, I already have two priests and two deacons who see me regularly, but I figure the more, the merrier.

All in all, good news, I’d say.

Dems rewriting history

13 December, 2009


Reid, like most Liberals, is trying to revise the racist history of the Democratic Party, and better yet, to transfer that history to the Republican Party. You would too if you had the racist history of the Democrats.

Iced in

13 December, 2009

Freezing rain has sealed most everybody in this morning, and Altoona is becoming passable, so Pam et al should be over here soon. Christopher probably won’t be able to get here for another couple of hours.

Feelings of avoidance

12 December, 2009

Last night, I asked Phyllis to stay a bit longer. She said she’s be back, but I got the distinct feeling I would never see her again.

Please, God, make me wrong.

Wasting no time

10 December, 2009

The last three days have been hospice person after hospice person, doing interviews, setting up schedules, and so forth. It had seemed that hospice would be here working with me three days a week, but it’s more like every day, just coming in on different three days a week.

Temp fixed?

10 December, 2009

We did determine that the thermostat for this room was set down in the 60s, and called maintenance (sigh).

They haven’t shown yet.

God granted me

9 December, 2009

another restful night, just with a couple of surprises. The controls on my bed are breaking down, and Phyllis, my sister-in-law, flew to State College last night, rented a car, and drove to Altoona. In the ice storm. Not that she stopped here, mind; all I got was a text message.

Something tells me that yes, I did “know” about this on some level, but it must have been a very “deep” one.

Flip-flop night

8 December, 2009

Yesterday was up and down — really up and down. Yesterday began okay, as today is, with pain still well managed. When I was pulled up in bed, though, it was accompanied by jarring pain, that now encircled my lungs. And that was before I got my first regular pain med dose for the day.

The rest of the day I was miserable, although pain management started to work hours later, around 4, after taking numerous breakthrough doses. That’s the problem with pain management. You have to stay ahead of the pain, and once you start to get caught up, it takes a long time to accomplish.

The highly increased lung pain never was managed, really, until I took my midnight regular dose. But that, thank God, brought the pain under control, and I slept non-stop until this morning. Slept well, and got up in a positive mood.


7 December, 2009

We’re putting in a request with a hospice service. I need more care than I’m getting as just a nursing home patient, and there’s one service that works in both Blair and Centre Counties (a couple, but we can only talk to one service at a time). And the hospice has an Orthodox priest on staff as a chaplain.


6 December, 2009

Marci, my youngest brother’s first wife, and their daughter Danielle, have been here for a couple of days, and it’s been a blessing because I have been declining fast. It began with the speading in constriction to the lower halves of my lungs, and the accompanying pain, and has steadily gotten worse. Breathing is difficult, and I just get weaker.

Danielle leaves for basic training (USAF) on 1/5.

I don’t think I have long. I could be in a temporary downward spiral, but I doubt it. I think peace is close.

More constriction

5 December, 2009

Ever since the paralysis, I’ve had a “constriction band” of pressure right above the line where the pins and needles starts. The constriction has expanded upward across the lower halves of my lungs.


4 December, 2009

Deacon Alexander and his children were here earlier. Danielle and Marci (Erin?) are the daughter and first wife of my youngest deceased brother, and they’re on the road, with an ETA of about am hour.


3 December, 2009

lights out, tv till I fall asleep.

Patiently waiting

1 December, 2009

for my compny and lunch …

Then, this!

30 November, 2009