Still, in the hospital…everything is vague. Doug is half out of it with morphine and never asks any straightforward questions like: “What exactly is going on with my health status?” or “Why am I running an intermittent fever?” or “What is my prognosis of getting out of here?” His appetite is almost non-existent today, has a fever of 101 (the highest it has been), still going to the bathroom every two hours, all day and all night.
I finally asked to talk to someone so that we all could have an idea of what is going on with him.
His potassium keeps dropping because of constant diarrhea, they seem to be very concerned about this and are giving him a lot of supplements. Doug thinks he should just be able to eat a banana but he would have to eat about 40 bananas a day to replace what they are giving him in pill form. The fever is just part of how the chemotherapy and radiation attack the body. The body thinks it is under attack so it reacts as if it were with a fever: even though there is no infection. He is not losing any blood in his stool so his hemoglobin levels are fine.
I think what happened here is he waited too long to express how bad he was really feeling to the doctor over the phone. Now one can’t fault him for being the person he is; Doug is just him. He is stoic, outwardly calm (though he might inwardly be in turmoil), and especially hesitant to be any trouble to anyone.
I want to mention that Doug’s deceased father Wally keeps giving us signs that he is here watching:
Yesterday, Doug’s mom was here visiting and was looking for something that would help her find some sporting event on the television. She was shuffling through hospital brochures and by pure coincidence (NOT!) she found a picture of Wally in a hospital brochure which had been taken a few years ago, with his permission, for a pamphlet about “options for pain control”. He had a glowing smile on his face just to remind us all that he is still around, working to heal Doug from the “other side.” There have been other incidents which I have personally had; but, nothing as obvious as this event.
Doug was very happy to see his family! His Aunt, Mom, and Sister came to visit him and he perked up quite a bit and even got quite chatty. Doug loves his family very much.
Unfortunately, Doug started running a slight fever, which hadn’t been an issue up until now, so the doctor ordered a chest Xray to look for pneumonia since this bad flu is going around. They have found no proof of infection thus far but are treating him with antibiotics as a precaution. His pain comes in waves and it must be quite severe because he will lie there with a grimace on his face. I keep reminding him that one of the reasons he is here is so he doesn’t have to suffer and he is not bothering the nurse by asking her for relief; they have all been very kind here.
We cried together today when I told Doug I saw a male Cardinal bird in the backyard when I went back home to get some things to bring to the hospital. We have come to think of this beautiful bird as a symbol of Doug’s departed father, Wally. I told Doug that I waved to the Cardinal and said “Hi Wally”; Wally is watching over his son—I am certain of that fact. I didn’t intend to make him cry but he is exhausted from dealing with the pain. We have a lot of loss and sorrow over the last year…sometimes it just gets to you; but, you have to keep grinding along.
There is something about the time from 2 am to 4 am which comes with aging, anguish, and illness. When our beloved dog Hanna had reached her later years, lots of them she had–17, she would wake up during that wee hour time period and pace around the house. Doug would always get out of bed in order to let her, and her baby Nina, outside; then, he would sit down in a recliner in our living room waiting for a signal which would always come in the form of a single bark from Nina (she was the talker) signaling they were ready to come back inside. He did this for at least three years, every single night. You see, this is how Angels work, quietly, without acknowledgement, without complaint, without posting it on Facebook…they just do what needs to been done in the quiet of the night.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Now I am way far away from being an Angel; so when I wake up at 3 am it is just to…well I’m not sure. Like I said, there is something about that time of night. I picked up dirty clothes, trying to be quiet because Doug was sleeping (in the recliner as he was afraid to sleep in the bed with his tubes and bag of chemo); then I started picking up stuff everywhere…I just felt like I needed to pick up stuff and throw it away. I am not a house cleaner any more than I am an Angel.
A nurse told Doug not to shave because he might cut himself…hearing that terrified me…so open ended…such an out of the ordinary statement to make.
There are silent screams happening during the dead quiet of 2 to 4 am.
Oh, and most importantly, the Huskers woman’s volleyball team won their game last night; they are close to a national championship.