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.


Slowly but surely

30 November, 2009

I woke up in this ungodly twisted to one side slumped way to the bottom of the bed posture which was causing my left leg to cramp. It took a while, but they finally came in and fixed me (so far). New aide: Jody. I remember one of the others from the wing I was originally on, and not positively.

Meds are here (fortunately, they don’t shuffle the nurses like they do the aides). Methadone, vitamins, protein supplements, stool softeners, high blood pressure, nausea, that sort of thing. Done with the steroid, thank God.

Fr John called yesterday. He was knocked out by allergy meds, so he’s bringing me Holy Communion today. Christopher should be here early afternoon, and hopefully stay a bit longer than usual. But we’ll see.

Note that I haven’t mentioned the Steelers game.

Grant this, O Lord

24 November, 2009

A Christian ending to our lives, painless, blameless, peaceful, and a good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ, let us ask.

Prayer before sleep

22 November, 2009

O Lord our God, as Thou art good and the Lover of mankind, forgive me wherein I have sinned today in word, deed and thought. Grant me peaceful and undisturbed sleep; send Thy guardian angel to protect and keep me from all evil. For Thou art the Guardian of our souls and bodies, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Long day

20 November, 2009

and by all rights, it isn’t even over. We had the wheelchair mixup, and I ended up sitting in the chair a good four hours. However, getting to sit in the Darth Vader chair is always fun. Then Fr John was here, and brought a Christ Pantocrator icontocrassa (so now I have a shrine). The shrine puts forth no light, having no lamp, but that doesn’t make much difference.

The Kleinsteivers came and went, and will be back tomorrow.
Sam and Meaghan visited, and I’m looking forward to their coming again.

Now, however, it is time to pray and sleep. A very restful, blessed evening to you all.

Saints among us

19 November, 2009

When I was searching years ago, I encountered a man who challenged much of what I believed, and made me question, then rebuild, my faith.

He was the antithesis of most of the clergy I knew, clergy for whom faith and belief were matters of embarrassment (well, we don’t literally believe that Christ was born of a virgin, it’s a metaphor, or that belief came from this other group, etc.)
And his faith was rock solid.

Meeting Fr Alexander was the most important thing that had ever happened to me. He saved my soul and changed my life.

Today, Fr Alexander is visiting on his way back to Louisville from St Tikhon’s Seminary. I can’t think of anything appropriate to say. But the man whose quiet, monastic, love of his God and Church who shared them with me when he christmated me in 1984 can now again share his faith close to the end of my journey.

Christ is among us!

Cowboys to the rescue

17 November, 2009

Wyatt is driving up from Philly Thursday.