Katie has had a very hard time as of late and has suffered quite a bit. Her pain and nausea were at times uncontrollable and for a bit all I could do was hold her as she cried, it broke my heart to see her in such pain and have no way of controlling it. The day we moved to the Hospice House Katie was switched from morphine to dilaudid for pain control. She had reached the point where the morphine was developing toxicity and some ugly side effects were starting to show up. Things like a little blond girl in pigtails standing at the foot of our bed, twitching, and auditory hallucinations hearing the voices of friends both old and new who were not there.
The original conversion from her dose of 90mg/hr of morphine to dilaudid was for her to get 10mg/hr with another 5mg as needed for pain control. Fast forward to last night and the dilaudid had been increased to 150mg/hr and again we had reached the point of toxicity. This time when she pushed the button for the demand dose of 75mg she would start shaking and vomiting with no relief from the pain. The staff were concerned that they would not be able to arrest the pain and would have to transport her to the ICU where they could anesthetize her under strict observation, much like going into surgery.
Fortunately they were able to control her pain but unfortunately she is now unconscious. At this point I do not know if I will be able to talk with my wife again and the prospect of that scares and saddens me like no other. Katie has been my constant companion for something like the last 21 years. I'm not sure what life is like without her.
Katie and I met while I was going to Jr. College in Centraila, WA. I had graduated from high school two years before Katie and by the time we met she had already surpassed my academic progress at CC. When we started dating I didn't have a goal or purpose for going to school, I guess it was just what I thought was expected. Katie gave me a purpose; I had to finish so I could follow her to the university. Even with a goal in mind my prior lack of focus caused me to be at Centralia for two quarters past Katie's graduation.
Being the focused, smart, fantastic person Katie is she decided that going to University of Washington in Seattle was her goal, and off to UW she went. I spent the next two quarters at CC trying to finish as quickly as possible while driving to UW every Friday night to get Katie so we could spend the weekend together in Chehalis. I would take her back late Sunday and go home to wait another week to see the love of my life.
As my graduation grew closer we talked about where we wanted to be. I was in favor of Evergreen in Olympia (state hippie college), Katie wanted UW, and we could both deal with Western. So off to Bellingham and Western Washington University it was. There again, Katie the good student finished before me.... What can I say she has always been smarter than I.
Shortly after school was over I started working for the City of Bellingham and we moved from our college apartment to our house of the last 16 years.
Not that you all wanted to read the story of how we got to Bellingham I don't know if Katie had ever gone into it. When I went to post today I noticed that she had started a post and never finished, as I read the post I thought it really spoke to how she felt just prior to coming in. I know Katie had big plans for writing her final post and a few others but in the end she felt as though she had lost the ability to type or form a coherent thought. I also consistently told her she was a freak for wanting to write about her demise...but for her I think it was a way to prepare for the inevitable and Katie has always been one to prepare.
The following is Katie's unfinished post
This continues to be a rough go for me of late. I am feeling better but not consistently and that is rough on me both physically and mentally. I haven't quite stopped vomiting, meaning I haven't been free for an entire day yet. I escaped this morning by being what I consider very mentally strong. Breathing is good for you. I sat on the edge of my edge, my feet side by side tightly pressed together and my hands pressed down into the mattress right next to my sides. I rocked back and forth quickly and steadily just breathing through the nausea, almost rocking myself like you would do for a baby. It finally passed and I was glad that I managed to get through those moments.
This pain I feel is different that the discomfort of nausea or of any other type of symptom. I can blame chemo for a lot of my discomfort, but I can only blame this pain on the cancer. That scares me... it's a deeper feeling of mortality a sense of finality that is not the same type of emotion. I understand it myself, but it is difficult to explain.
I feel like in a way I've lost my purpose. I have the same roles to fulfill and the same duties as before the diagnosis, but I now feel like my role is to be sick. That is my job now, to manage how to be a sick person and for some reason it isn't fun and it doesn't feel very productive.
All of this seems so
I'll post more later,