Some Days are better than others for anyone- but lately my Can Opener has some days that are really difficult. Like yesterday when she got a call from the Funeral Home. Of course, she also had flower deliveries as well- and that really helped. But I think it’s time I share some advice for her and for others that may be going through something as well. I call it “Twilight’s Tips.”
Believe it or not, there actually is such a ‘holiday’ as Opposite Day! I’m getting desperate to distract the Can Opener with something new to think about, and I tried reminding her tax time was coming up- but that didn’t exactly have the effect I wanted. After I told her that, she randomly decided to check her wine supply. Weirdo.
Then I decided to try something different to make her forget that, so while she was making her lunch I sneaked onto her computer and discovered a holiday she didn’t know anything about. (This better earn me some treats)!
So, what Is “Opposite Day?”
Well, someone who must have been extremely bored decided to make a yearly holiday of doing the exact opposite of what they would normally do or saying one thing and doing the exact opposite. According to National Today, the earliest reference goes back to 1920 when President Calvin Coolidge made a statement that he did not want to run for election. And ever since, some have made January 25th every year a sort of fun holiday for pranking people- Here are a couple of suggestions for celebrating it;
Call in sick and show up anyway!
Say goodbye when greeting people
The point is, to do (or say) the exact opposite of whatever you would normally do (or intend to do).
So, Since I hate playing with my Can Opener, I’m NOT going to try at all to get her to play today (no matter what she tells you)… I’m going to trade places with Sushi today, and just sleep all day.
And Sushi plans to constantly bug the Can Opener to play with her today (to give me a day off).
Hey. I think I’m going to really love this holiday. Check out the link to learn more about it!
Twilight and I have been trying to make our Can Opener rest because she’s under so much stress. She likes to stay busy to keep herself occupied so she doesn’t get the unpleasant pictures going through her head constantly of the Backup Can Opener as he died. The problem is, they keep running through her head anyway, and we tell her it’s time to get into the grief counseling that the Hospice program offers.
She plans to do that, of course, but she’s been so busy notifying people, and all that final stuff, and gathering up all his things, that at the end of the day she’s wiped out and in pain. Twilight keeps trying to make her play to cheer her up, but that just makes her feel guilty because she can’t do that right now.
She has made herself take some time to play with Twilight the last few days- because she was gone so much running back and forth to the hospital, and then she was so busy taking care of him when he came home, that Twilight was really stressed out.
She even tried to play with me a little- But then Twilight jumped in and I got frustrated. So I just plant myself on her lap and get snuggles, because there’s no one else here to give her snuggles now. She seems to love that -(until her legs start to hurt). I’ve been upset at Twilight because I’m still on a diet- and she’s not. Honestly, she can eat whatever she wants, but the Can Opener doesn’t want me gaining weight. That dang health nut!
Honestly, I don’t see the big deal- what harm can 5 or 6 cans of food do in a day? It’s FOOD! And I’m getting tired of being limited on treats- have you seen how tiny those bags are?
It’s been a while since she’s laughed- maybe I need to fix that. Maybe it’s time to pay Twilight back for all those times I was sleeping, and she sneaked up on me and started swatting me…
Within an hour of leaving the hospital, a Hospice Nurse arrived and provided everything we needed for his care- even sets of new sheets for the hospital bed- various other supplies, and of course, his meds. Everything was directed at keeping his pain under control, controlling anxiety, and keeping him as comfortable as he could be.
Our daughters and their families stayed over to make sure someone was always at his side, and to assist in his care and make the atmosphere as peaceful and restful as possible. They were an amazing support to me as well, as I was having a hard time finding time even to eat, sleep, or spend time with Sushi and Twilight.
I could tell that Twilight especially, was stressed and restless. Before the first blood clot happened, Twilight knew something was wrong with him and always stayed close to him. The kids helped with the kitties’ needs and provided food and took turns staying up at night at his bedside so I could sleep. It was hard to keep up with his med schedule, but it was the top priority since pain control was the top priority.
It wasn’t long before swallowing became too difficult and eating and drinking stopped. Soon after that, we found we couldn’t understand what he said when he tried to talk, and before long, he quit trying. We played music he liked, took turns reading the Bible to him and knowing he could still hear us, talking about happy memories. But this became harder to do as we saw him continue to deteriorate- and become unresponsive. Then we all started tuning in to his breathing without even realizing we were doing it.
After 8 days, the battle was too much for him and he passed peacefully with his whole family at his side.
There is a lot more to this story, but for now I’m stopping. We are just relieved to know that he is no longer in pain and is finally with the Lord- and I am so thankful for our kids and grandkids because they did everything they could to make sure that I had the help I needed, Twilight and Sushi were taken care of, and that he knew He was valued and loved and in good hands. They took turns staying with him after I gave him his meds, (and they took over doing his meds and recording them at night so I could sleep)- and they made sure I was taken care of as well.
Hospice was amazing and will be assisting our whole family for the next 13 months. A social worker, chaplain, and others are checking on me and the kids and keeping in touch by phone to make sure I’m okay, while at the same time offering free grief counseling for the entire family for the next year.
I honestly don’t know how I could have gotten through the last month without our family and hospice.
I am truly thankful for them all. Knowing also that I do not have my husband’s income anymore, they are also helping with keeping the kitties supplied so their needs are met. I cannot tell you how much of a relief it is.
In my last post (more than a week ago)- I wrote that my husband had finished the first chemo treatment. I discovered the next day when I went back to the hospital, that he had completed the first part of the first treatment. It took 3 days altogether for it to be done. I was thankful that they had finally allowed me to visit him, so during and after the chemo, I stayed with him and tried my best to get him to drink fluids and eat what he could.
He seemed to be doing well after the chemo – (except for having no appetite) – but he kept bleeding from his intestines and after about 5 different transfusions, it was clear that the bleeding wouldn’t stop and they didn’t want to do more transfusions (because of a blood shortage). That meant they also couldn’t give him blood thinners to get rid of the clot (still in) his leg, either.
On January 6, I came to see him and his countenance had completely changed. It was as if all hope of recovery had evaporated from him and the first thing he said to me was, “Call my sister.” I was surprised, because I had thought he had already told her about the cancer- so I took my phone to a quiet place to call her and had to let her know what was happening. Of course, she burst into tears, as I had known she would.
She asked if he was conscious and if he could talk, and I answered yes, and headed back to his room to hold the phone for him (on speaker phone), so they could talk. The chemo had somehow affected his eyes, so after the chemo he wasn’t able to see messages on his phone.
Right after I walked into the room with the phone on speaker still, a man appeared in the doorway, and asked if I was his wife. Then he simply said, “Here’s the thing. There’s no more treatment. We’ve done all we can do, and we are changing (him) to DNR (do not rescusitate). And we are sending him home for hospice care. He and I discussed this this morning and this is what he wants.”
I looked at my husband and knew He had wanted the Hospice Coordinator to tell me, and so it was. Within an hour, we were on our way back home in an ambulance.
And that began the last chapter of my husband’s life. I will write more tomorrow. It has taken me several days to get this far.
Thank you for bearing with me and for all your prayers and support. I love you all.
The days have seemed to all blend into one very long day. At the other hospital where the cancer was found and diagnosed, visitors were allowed, so our Can Opener was gone for hours every day staying at the hospital with the Back-up Can Opener.
But a new blood clot (and the same old misery with pain and struggling to breathe), sent him back to ER the day after Christmas. This hospital doesn’t allow visitors – So from the time he was admitted the day after Christmas until the 1st- our Can Opener wasn’t allowed to visit him.
Bleeding and two more transfusions later, the blood clot couldn’t be taken care of yet. Blood thinners aren’t a good idea when bleeding continues elsewhere. And surgery in this case, wasn’t an option.
After several failed attempts to stop the bleeding, they decided to attack it by attacking the tumor- with Chemo. It started Jan.1. Finally, after calling repeatedly every day, to get permission to visit when he said he was nervous about the chemo, they finally allowed our human to go see him. Today it is finally done. (First dose).
The Can Opener hasn’t been getting much sleep- so Sushi and I have been working overtime (without pay), to keep her distracted. Sushi does it by proving herself to be a true feline, leaving her presents in the floor (hairballs). I do my part by attacking her feet the second she kicks her shoes off, walking on the laptop, and hopping up on back of her chair at the desk.
She keeps herself busy when she can’t be with him at the hospital, and she’s been praying a lot. Along with all their friends and family.
We see her get her workout mat and put it down and Sushi and I immediately warm it up for her by sharpening our claws on it, and I help coach her. But nothing feels normal. She still works out to manage her stress and stay healthy- but we don’t like that he’s not here. Neither does the rest of the family.
And the little Critter turned 5 yesterday, and her Grandpa wasn’t able to be here for her birthday or see her in her Princess outfit. She knows he’s in the hospital, and she knows what’s wrong. But she’s only 5 so she doesn’t “know.”