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Life is only what you wonder.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Heavier Things

It's been awhile since I posted. It couldn't be helped really.
I have a few "frivolous" posts in the hopper I could have posted, but I ultimately decided against it, because it didn't seem right with all the other things that have been going on.

As the title suggests, this post is not a light and frivolous one.

The husband's sister passed away the other day.
She had Renal Cell cancer, so we knew it was coming.
She had been pronounced "terminal" about a year ago, and at the time they gave her six months to live, so she made it six months after they said she wouldn't.
That's something.

Death can be sad, death can be tragic. It can be a shame, it can be horrible, and awful to contemplate. Death can be a lot of terrible things.
But death can also be a blessing -- but you don't hear too much about that aspect of it.
She was in a lot of pain. Pain most people couldn't begin to imagine. She lived with that kind of pain every waking moment of the day.
She was doped up on oxycontin and oxycodone just to make it bearable. But she hated the drugs, they made her too tired, too prone to sleeping all day.
The cancer had spread until it was literally eating her from the inside out. Her lungs, her heart, bladder, kidneys, liver, stomach. Even her brain, making her forgetful and causing severe headaches.

She was on hospice, which is another way of saying "keeping the patient as comfortable as possible until they croak". Oh, they'll see you have an adjustable bed, a wheelchair, a walker, oxygen, vitamins, and all the drugs you could possibly want or need, but they don't provide IV drips, or resuscitate you if you stop breathing or if your heart stops beating. That's not what hospice is all about, it's about making dying an easy process as possible.

She was mobile and somewhat active (she needed a walker to get around) until about three months ago, when she started deteriorating rapidly. It was a week or so ago when she couldn't move or go to the bathroom by herself. But it was a few days later when she couldn't keep anything down that we knew she was reaching the end. Food, water, medicine, anything taken orally would come back up again. Medications had to be given by suppositories at this point. Still, how long can someone live without food or water?
We knew it was only a matter of time.

It's sad, but I've already dealt with it. I've known for awhile that sometime soon she would be dying. I've already mourned and grieved.
I think the husband has, too, although it's much harder on him.

It sounds horrible, but when I got the news a part of me said, "Thank you, Lord, for ending her suffering".
I'm all for fighting the good fight and holding on as long as you can, but sometimes letting go is the best thing you can do.