We met with our speech therapist today to see what kind of technology is available. We know there are programs out there which will allow Ed to "talk." My worry is his energy level. It's gotten harder for him to sit up in his wheelchair. It's hard to use the computer in bed because his head doesn't move. It takes a lot of brain power to concentrate on the program and sometimes, Ed just doesn't have it.
So what happens when he can no longer communicate? I don't have the answer. We're still working on the computer... we'll see how that goes.
I wonder if I'm being too negative? Looking for signs that aren't there? Whatever is going to happen just will happen. I can't prevent it. Even when I gear myself up for something, I'm still surprised when it happens. Heartbroken. How must Ed feel??
We're at a point where I can't really talk to him about it. We used to. Now he seems far away. If you sat with him, he'd be fine. Quiet, maybe. Or he might fall asleep as you talk with him. Lots of drugs, I think. No energy. Plus I don't want to talk to Ed about sad things. I want him to feel love and happy and comfort. I spend lots of time touching him, massaging his swollen, heavy arms and legs. We don't talk much. We did a crossword puzzle about a week ago and it made him anxious.
This is hard. It's going to get harder.
I think it's ok to be this sad. To mourn the loss of our relationship, the loss of having him here at home. It's amazingly scary how easy the tears just flow. Sometimes it feels good to let it out. Other times, the sadness is too much. I hope if I get it out now, when he dies, I won't have any tears left.
This is the question I just asked my online ALS group:
I've been thinking about this a lot the last couple of weeks. Our ALS doc discussed end of life with us way back when end of life seemed far off. Back in the day when we were worried about other stuff like losing his job or his legs. Our doctor said my husband has control over when he wants to die. He'd stop tube feedings. It's up to him/us - along with input from the doctor - when this happens. I keep hoping he'll just pass peacefully. And maybe he will. We have an advanced directive but it never included this locked in scenario. We're getting closer to it. He's completely immobile, recently lost use of his head. He's tube fed but he can talk. His voice is going. We're in the process of getting an eye gaze system. That being said, he's so tired. He's rarely in his wheelchair anymore. I worry about his lack of energy in order to use a communication program. I guess my question is - have you thought through this scenario? Once bedbound and locked in, what next? We've discussed some of it -- but not really pinning it down. Can it be pinned down!?? If he's unable to communicate, how will I know? Ugh. Tears. I hate this.
These are the thoughts that keep me up.