Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Uncle Charlie, August 22

I haven't posted about Charlie for a couple of days because I guess I've just been waiting. Like him.

But Uncle Charlie is coming close.

Earlier, he was upset because he wasn't dead, and I think that was keeping him alive, contributing to his agitation and keeping him with us.

He really thought he was a goner at first. The doctors operated on him, looked at his pancreas and said, 3 weeks tops. One guy gave him a week. That was in mid May, and Charlie is still with us. But he just wants it to be over with. He didn't want chemo or radiation. He just wanted it to be over.

When the hospice started, he thought he would be dead in a week or so. The hospice nurses came to his house for the first few days and gave him hospice care there. This was hard for him because he was in a lot of pain and getting a lot of pain killers. When he asked to go to the actual hospice unit, he thought he would be dead in a day or two.

Then the dying just went on and on, and he just wanted to die. When he was awake and clear, he'd ask repeatedly if he could go home. He was sure that the hospice care was keeping him alive, and he didn't want to be alive any longer. That was Monday, the day I left Hollywood, Florida, and drove back up to Valdosta.

I talked to his brother Tony today, and he finally got someone to talk to him at the hospice. A nurse told him that she thought Charlie had another couple of days. Charlie's terminal agitation has stopped. He stopped talking too, even the raving that he was doing. He's lying tucked under a sheet--breathing hard, really hard, staggered, drawn breaths.

But life is hard to give up on.

When my mother was dying, she couldn't talk, couldn’t eat, couldn't move any part of her body. All she could do was blink her eyes, and I asked her if she wanted to die or if she wanted me to try to keep her alive. I told her to blink if she wanted to stay alive. She blinked.

1 comment:

Urkat said...

I'd still like to hear some of his music.