* I understand that these entries are increasingly difficult to read. As the following days increase in difficulty and emotions, so will my words here. I apologize in advance. These words are my outlet. This site is a window to my soul. And this experience, this record keeping, is for my memory and for the closure that my children will need at some point in their lives. I appreciate you sharing the journey with us, but understand if you are unable to keep reading. *
Chad’s fever spiked yesterday to 102.6.
It came down when the nurses administered ice packs and Tylenol.
He was minimally responsive yesterday evening and last night.
He attempted a few words, and even smiled at us once.
He slept soundly all night, but the fever crept back.
At 5am this morning, his fever spiked to over 103 degrees.
Although he is mostly unresponsive, you can tell that the fever is taking a toll on his tired body.
More ice packs. More Tylenol.
Now, at Noon, he is warm to the touch – but not blazing hot as before. He’s down to 101.2 degrees.
He is restlessly moving his legs.
Yesterday, he had a lot of difficulty swallowing his oral medications (morphine & Ativan), so the morphine is now given as a suppository. It’s long-acting; only twice a day.
A few moments ago, while he was moving his legs and letting out a few guttural sounds, I asked if he was hurting.
He was unable to answer – a blank stare.
Then I gave him my hand, asked him to squeeze it if he was in pain.
Squeeze, he did.
I hate the thought of him hurting and being unable to tell anyone about it.
In the last couple of days, I’ve noticed a dramatic change in his appearance.
His legs have always been skinny – but his calves are more like skin and bones at this point.
His thighs, which were still quite muscular until recently, have drastically changed in the last 72 hours. They are slender, almost hollow-looking. There is no muscle tone – arms, legs. There is nothing.
His jaw and chin are slack – he has a hard time closing his mouth all the way, especially while sleeping.
The gentle gurgle in his throat is increasing.
Sometimes it’s louder than other times, but it’s always there.
We often position his headboard upright to lessen the effects of gravity on his lungs and to keep him from choking.
He is unable to swallow an ordinary amount of liquid, and even small amounts are hard for him.
The straw confuses him and he’s not able to close his lips around a bottle or cup.
I’ve been giving him small pieces of ice to keep his mouth moist. He seems to appreciate that.
Bites, swallows a small amount at a time.
Yesterday was a hard day.
Not only did I relive one of the most difficult days of our lives so far, but we also received confirmation of something I had already suspected. Something I already knew deep in my broken heart.
Chad’s doctor came by yesterday, around lunch time.
She explained the current symptoms; the difficulty in taking concentrated oral medications, the sudden fever, the labored breathing sounds, the lack of food & liquid intake, the loss of interest to leave the bed, the decreased urine output…
Chad’s fight is almost over.
His journey here on earth will likely be finished within a few days.
Even though I knew what to expect in terms of a timeline, I was still shaken when the words came from the doctor’s mouth.
“We are entering Chad’s final days.”
It stung. Even though I knew it already, it still hurt to hear it outloud.
When someone says something aloud, it makes it more real, more true.
My guarded thoughts, the conclusions of my heart, were not quite reality.
I’ve been crying off and on since last night, a catharsis.
I had a terrible dream last night – which I’m sure is common under stress. I just usually have such peaceful, wonderful dreams.
And I wasn’t sure if I was awake. Or just hurt. Or just aching for something other than my own reality.
There are so many emotions, an avalanche of feelings.
Although I have prepared myself for these moments the best I possibly can, I do not think I can ever be fully prepared for the loss of my husband, my best friend, my confidant, the father of my two best blue-eyed accomplishments.
I don’t think you can ever be ready, truly ready, for that.
You can prepare.
You can do and say and be the right things.
You can welcome the emotion and accept the sorrow.
You can wait. And hold hands. And love with every last ounce of joy, hope and faith that you contain.
But be ready?
I just don’t think so.
But I’m trying.