Monday, May 1, 2017

The long drive home

Each night I leave Ed, my heart stops just a little. By the time I leave, he's getting sleepy from drugs and ready to drift away.   That makes it easier.

The reality is every one of us could go to sleep tonight and not wake up, right?  I think this every night I leave Ed.  Even though he's doing pretty good, I think this.  Could tonight be the night?

So I tell him I love him very much. It hurts to leave him.  To leave him alone in the dark.  To not be there when he needs help.  If he dies when I'm not there, I want those to be the last words he's heard. That I love him so very much.

When I leave, I try not to cry. He's all sleepy and smiling at me and he tells me he loves me too. Will those be the last words I hear??

The drive home is hard.  Sometimes I practice his eulogy.  This sounds weird and morbid.  But it's helped me keep Ed solid in my head.  Does that make sense?  Reviewing healthy Ed.  His accomplishments.  I say these things out loud as I drive home.  The things he loved.  Loves.

Doing this makes me cry.  I've had to pull over because I couldn't see through the tears. Oddly, it helped.  It cleared my head.  Stitched up my heart a little so I could climb in to bed by myself.  I don't want to say it helped block out the image of Ed alone in his room but it soothed my heartache a bit. Keeping Ed close by talking about him as I drive home.

I can't believe it's been two months since I've posted anything here.  Almost all of February and March, Ed was back to hallucinating insane things.  He took trips to Vegas, Tallahassee, unnamed forests and lakes.  He auditioned for a movie.  He went hunting and on secret missions.  He was in a sinking boat one minute and in a fire the next.  It was crazy and exhausting.

A part of me felt this moral dilemma.  Even though it felt like a Twilight Zone episode, Ed was generally in a happy place, having great adventures.  I wondered if it was worth fighting for finding the cause of his delusions.  Did he want to come back and face his reality?  Ed gave me the answer. Every so often, he'd have a couple of hours of clarity.  He knew something was off.  He'd ask me where he was, how he got in his room.  We'd talk for a while and for a few hours, he'd be totally present.  He said he was tired of feeling crazy and wanted to get clear.  At that moment, we called his hospice nurse and Ed told him he wanted to find some way to make that happen.

Ed update:

He's no longer hallucinating.  He asked to stop his pain medication and was weaned off of methadone.  A day or two after the methadone was completely done, his hallucinations stopped.

His vitals are good.  This means his breathing and lung capacity are good.  His "input" and "output" are good :) :)  Which is code for he's eating a lot and ummm... getting rid of it normally.

He eats about 2500 calories a day.  For someone who doesn't move, this is a lot of food. He's gained close to 20 lbs since he arrived at the nursing home in December.  He was down to 160 and is now almost at 180.  This is a really good thing.  He is totally tube fed.  Once in a while, he has quite a craving. He tried one cheese nip of all things but choked on it.  He can eat jello and sometimes the innards of something like pumpkin or coconut cream pie.  He highly recommends Patti LaBelle sweet potato pies from WalMart.

When he was at home, he was choking and coughing on the junk in his throat.  Gunky saliva accumulating that he couldn't swallow.  This happened every day.  It was scary.  Now, this happens maybe once a week.  It's been amazing this cleared up as much as it did.

His voice is getting weaker.  We are figuring out ways to communicate once he loses his voice.  We both say how lucky we feel he's been able to talk all this time.

I feel lucky he's still here.  We were just talking today how he doesn't remember August through December.  He feels sad I have to remember.  I told him every time I feel guilty he's in a nursing home and not home with me, I remember what those months were like.  Now, he's cared for in a way I could not.  I have time to be his wife.

It's 1 a.m.  I'm in bed by myself typing this.  It's hard to fall asleep.  I don't like the quiet; it leaves too much space for my brain to think.  I miss Ed so much when we're not together. But you know what? A month ago, I missed Ed when I WAS with him.  I'll hold on to that the next time I drive home and feel that hole in my heart.  I have Ed back.

This was about a month ago for Ed's birthday.  I made him a memory box of his Air Force medals.

It's good to see him up and (sort of) smiling!