A caregiver's journal

I have been struck by reading a friend's journal of his last days of caring for his close friend. it touched my heart and I hope it touches your as well.

2 weeks
Current mood: grateful
Actually 3 weeks into this with Linda. The daily thing that is. I've been going to her place every day trying to help her deal with her situation. Started with just doctors appointments that first week. Second week is when we got the news that the treatments were done. We've had a long journey together. It's been more like a 15 month process, and I've seen her every step of the way. I was there when the doctor told her she was terminal. That was a while ago... But I still thought in the back of my mind that she would pull through. Linda has fought this all the way, and I naturally thought that she would win the fight.

I know I've been saying that "I'm losing her" over the past couple of weeks. Her decline is sometimes slow, sometimes very fast. We thought she was leaving us last weekend... even the hospice nurses expected to have days off the following week... Linda rallied... she should have pink flags waving in her bedroom. But the past few days have been difficult, and different. She can no longer get out of bed. Her legs are useless. All of her hair fell out with the exception of some in the back. She rubs her forhead (where the brain tumor is located) saying her head hurts... she's rubbing it raw.

Over the weekend I took her food, and Rusty did a pretty good job of keeping her laughing. Not sure if she knew what she was actually laughing at, but seeing her smile was a good thing for me. My friend Linda was a big woman.... not fat by any means... but big boned. BIG BOOBS. Just like the female side of my family. Now she's all skin and bones... and some boobs. (She'd like that part.) When I look at her it hurts me. Hurts me because Linda looks like my grandmother on her death bed. And the smell... there IS a certain scent of death... and it's definitely in her bedroom now. Her last kidney failed last weekend, and we thought she would be gone in a matter of days. That's when I lost it... Saturday night.

We met with the hopice people on Wednesday and they pretty much laid it all out on the line for us. Hospice care is not guarenteed 24 hours a day. So him and I are picking up where they are lacking. Basically trying to cover 8 hour shifts. Linda wants to die at home, and this is just the way it's going to be. It's become a financial burden on us because I took leave from work, but things will work out. We're doing what's right. And I would DIE if she died there by herself. So many things are going through my mind right now...

I promised Linda back in July that when she died I would ensure that her wishes were carried out. That's what I'm doing. I knew then that I was taking on a tall order. At that point I was doing her laundry once or twice a week, and grocery shopping for her. Watching someone you love slowly slip away. At first it devastated me. Now... I'm more at peace with what is happening. I just want her to go without pain, and to have someone holding her hand. That's all. She still knows who I am... and that's pretty impressive.

Geeeez guys! The only people that actually read my blogs are my best friends and those that have known me for YEARS. What I'm doing for Linda is what I HOPE and pray one of you would do for me. STEP UP... HELP... DO WHAT NO ONE ELSE WANTS TO. That's what we do right now. I didn't sign up for this... I think Linda signed my name to the application.

And that's ok. When I sit in her bedroom next to her bed... reading my book, or complimenting the flowers... (we do have small conversations about what she wants. She can barely make sentences and words now...

It's going to be a sad day. I'm going to miss her... She has completely changed my life.

LymphomaInfo Social