Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Then There Was Cremation

In 2006 I submitted forms for us to donate our bodies to science. Why did I do that? I have no idea.

In 2018 I figured all that was long forgotten. Bob was 85, which I figured meant no one would be interested in his body for science. It seemed I should pay for a cremation and forget about the body donation.

The week of Bob's death an attorney friend was here going through some business papers and asked about the paperwork for donating our bodies to science. I passed it off as long out of date and I'd be arranging something else. She slipped out of the room, made a phone call, and returned to say the body donation paperwork was still good, and there was no reason not to use it. By then I didn't know what I wanted done about anything so I asked her to call our son and talk to him.

I know absolutely nothing about these places, and I sure didn't remember anything I'd done twelve years earlier. The one we used is called BioGift. So far all our dealings with these people have been good. I received a call yesterday his ashes are ready. I'll let our son deal with that.

The morning of Bob's death the hospice nurse called BioGift and they came out in a station wagon type car with no markings that would indicate their business in our apartment complex. They were very professional in doing their job, and thoughtful to us as family.

There was no cost for this service. I understand the ashes will be returned in a wooden box. We can then put them in a nice urn or do whatever we desire.

I seem to have an unwanted commenter from another country. I read about the steps to block a commenter but was unable to make it happen. I would appreciate any suggestions.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Hospice Fiasco

Not one time did hospice care ever cross my mind when I thought about Bob. When he developed a blood disorder the hematologist told me people like Bob usually died from an infection that moved quickly or they bled out, but either way would be quick.

Bob and I were badly shaken when he went into acute delirium. In our wildest imagination delirium was never on the list of things that could happen. None of the specialists wanted to own that delirium, and believe me we didn't want to own it.

I needed to get Bob in to see a doctor and Friday is never a good day for that. As expected, none of his doctors were in their offices. I agreed to see a new doctor in one of the clinics where he was a patient.

This doctor actually did what doctors are supposed to do, he read Bob's medical records before seeing him. That was our undoing. The test results on Bob's recent bone marrow test were beginning to come in. This doctor entered the treatment room and immediately told us we needed to put Bob under hospice care. We were shocked, worse than shocked. Thinking back I can think of things I should have said or done but in that moment my brain was frozen.

That evening an intake nurse and social worker from one of the hospices came to visit. All went well until I had enough sense to know this needed to be run by our nurse daughter in Texas. I called Texas and had the intake nurse visit with Susan. After that things went bad in a hurry.

None of us slept that night. The next morning I called the hospice office and told them to hit the pause button, we were not ready to sign on.

Susan hopped a plane and flew to Oregon. One, among several, of her objections to the group we were working with was it being a for-profit group with offices nationwide. When I called their office a person in another state answered the call.

A local non-profit was what Susan wanted. That's what we did, and Bob's hematologist said he would be pleased to be the physician for Bob. We were all much relieved.

This was Thursday, Saturday morning Bob died.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Death Is Hard To Plan

I'm a forward thinking person, and have a plan for everything I know the future is going to bring my way.  Though plans often have to be changed, I am usually able to hang on to some of it.  I could have saved my time with Bob's death. I learned spouses seldom, if ever, die as you think they will.

The morning of January 4 I awoke to find Bob in acute delirium. From that morning until the morning of February 25 we were in crisis mode around here. The blood taken trying to find a cause for the delirium revealed his blood disorder had returned with a vengeance. At 5:00 a.m. on the morning of February 25 he was returning to bed from the bathroom and fell across the bed dead. Not something in my plan.

This is the compact version. I'll be dealing with individual pieces of the story over the next few postings.

I've learned you cry some and you laugh some.

During those last days I would often find a wooden spoon in the bed or Bob would say he was laying on a spoon and ask me to remove it. The first night it happened I passed it off as happening because of his delirium but it continued to happen.

Finally, in one of his lucid moments, I learned he was using a wooden spoon as a back scratcher!

These days I can laugh about it. I wonder how long he'd been using wooden spoons from the kitchen as back scratchers? How many times do you think those spoons got washed before they went back in the cabinet drawers?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Life Happens

A lot of life has been happening to me over the last few months. It appears my sanity may be returning so I need to explain.

Bob died in February. Life before and after his death continue to consume my thinking.

I'm going to do a few short posts in order to pass on some things I learned that I hope will be helpful when you come to this time in life.  No matter how well you think you've planned, you haven't.

I'd been thinking about the possibility of Bob's death since the nineties when he suffered a heart attack. His death was like the many times I took him to the ER. I learned something every time, and thought I would be better prepared for the next ER visit. That never happened, each time was unique.

You don't get a do over when you're dealing with death. Some things are basic but can be handled in a variety of ways. I'll share some of the choices we made and why. Society, and our situation, had changed a lot since the nineties causing some changes to earlier decisions.

His death was expected, only the moment was a surprise.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Gloating Is Not Good

I am pleased with yesterday's election results across the country. My concern today is that Democrats not gloat, it isn't nice, and it isn't pretty. Take a minute and think about how you feel when this image passes in front of you.

I feel no desire to gloat, I'm just thankful, and I'm grateful. I was able to see that our country is not as wretched as we've been told it was over this last year.

Following the news today is incredibly difficult. It's very hard for any political message, other than Donald Trump, to break through. He sucks all the oxygen out of the room. He's a distraction on every level.

I've been very discouraged and troubled, to the point my blood pressure is elevated. Yesterday gave me hope. We must press on for the good of our country.

Monday, October 16, 2017

I Spoke Too Soon

A few days ago I posted about taking Bob to the ophthalmologist. After visiting with him I felt I could go forth with confidence, wrong. I spoke too soon.

Soon after that visit Bob mangled another pair of his prescription glasses. Three times he's done this. I know he sat on them one time but don't know what happened the other times. Everytime this happens I have to take him and the glasses back where we got them and ask them to repair and realign them.

I decided I would fix that so I got a cord for his glasses. Surely that would keep his glasses safe. Nope, like glasses, you have to wear it for it to be successful. That idea was a fail.

When I had my cataract surgery the doctor told me if I didn't want prescription glasses to get 2.50 strength reading glasses and I would be fine. This morning I went to Dollar Tree and bought five pair of reading glasses for a total of $5.

Go ahead Bob, lose and mangle those prescription glasses all you want, I can get more where these came from. This is it for you.

I am commenting on blogs, I really am, but when I press publish the comment goes away, never to be seen again, perhaps eaten by Blogger?  Anyone else having this problem? Know a solution?

Friday, October 13, 2017

It Happened Again

Some time ago Bob was given a prescription by one of his doctors that did not play well with his other medications. We spent the day in the Emergency Room over that one, and our insurance paid a tidy sum for that mix up.  Since then I've tried to be extra diligent anytime he receives a new prescription. I question the doctor, and read up on every new medication.

In spite of this we recently had another bad experience mixing medication. It was an inhaler that tripped us up this time. I don't know why I didn't check it. Perhaps I thought an inhaler was different, that it would be okay with pills. Who knows what I thought but this one got through my check system.

About a week and a half after Bob began using this inhaler he complained he was urinating a lot. I didn't give it a lot of thought. A few days later I was giving it a lot of thought.

Early one morning I heard him calling and he had fallen in the bathroom hitting his head. The next morning he fell again hitting the other side of his head. We were off the the ER to be sure he wasn't bleeding into his brain since he takes blood thinners.

When they weighed him I was shocked to see he had lost about 17 pounds in just a very few days. The scan revealed no bleeding but I received no answer for the sudden weight loss.

While we were at the ER our nurse daughter put on her investigative cap and went searching. She did the logical thing, started with his most recent prescription. Bingo, she had to look no further. She texted me what she'd found.

The short of it is this inhaler did not play well with any of the medications he was taking. It caused the diuretic to go into overdrive causing him to urinate off the 17 pounds weight loss, his electrolytes went crazy, even caused his heart to act up as was recorded when they checked his pace maker.  He was a mess.

Daughter flew here from Texas and stayed two weeks with us. By then he had managed to scramble back into the land of the living, and has continued to improve, but I can assure you it was not a good experience.

I took great pleasure in dropping that inhaler into the trash bin.