Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our worst fears (day 41)

Good evening, after a long day.

I wish I had a good way to say this. Her team of doctors tells us that Nancy will not recover from this illness. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the abscess is so large that it is inoperable, and we're already doing everything possible medically. The doctors made it clear that even a perfectly healthy person with an epidural infection like this would not be able to beat it. They also confirmed that, without the significant pain medications she is now getting every two hours, she would be in agonizing discomfort.

Nancy took in the explanations during the meeting without question or comment, I asked a few questions to understand all the possible future paths for her, and she has been quietly processing all of this ever since early this afternoon. We had a lip reading expert here about an hour after the meeting. All Nancy wanted to say to Janet, Jim and I was, "I love you all so very much". We've all been in quiet thought, tears, and somber discussion ever since.

We've had several gracious visitors, but now I'm the only one here with her. Janet stayed last night, so she is exhausted, and Jim is working tomorrow. I got little sleep last night, and feel deeply sad, emotionally exhausted, and tender to both her and myself. I've had a big lump in my throat all day. Occasionally, my thoughts wander to the future, for her and for me, and I keep bringing myself back to the present. I can't handle too much more right now.

So now we get to pray for a miracle, and prepare for the most difficult initiation, one we all must face one day. Nancy (and I) have some difficult decisions to make over the next few days. Do we keep her on assisted breathing? What do we do if her heart stops, or if she gets pneumonia? She knows we will have to discuss this soon, but is not ready.

In the mean time, Nancy seems to have some acceptance of the situation. She told us last Friday that she was getting worse, that she was going to die. I think she has known far more about her situation than the rest of us. Not surprising.

She is comfortable, not wanting to talk or hear music, resting a lot and sleeping in short bursts. She is also still running a 101° fever, with an elevated pulse rate, just as you would expect with a big infection. It is silent in the temple tonight, with only the quiet rhythm of the assisted breathing machine and whirr of the fan in her air bed. And the soft click of keys on my laptop.


No comments:

Post a Comment