Update: February 22, 2017
Ana’s been sleeping for two days straight. Yesterday we may have over medicated her – we’d doubled her dose of oxycontin (the slow-release form of oxy) in the morning and gave her more Ativan than we had been (under the guidance of Dr. Yamashiro and hospice). It may have been too much too soon, or she may be getting sicker more quickly than we expected. There’s no way to know. We’re in uncharted waters right now.
Jim and I honestly thought we were losing her yesterday. We rushed to get Emily from her friend’s house. We called hospice. We asked hard questions of her doctors. We watched her closely and then we went to bed, our hearts in our throats.
This morning, she woke me up at 6:30 a.m. by knocking on my bedroom door and asking for strawberries and tea. I was so thrilled, I practically floated out of bed. “Of course. Strawberries. I’ll be right there.” By the time I got up to her room with the hot tea and sliced strawberries, she was already drifting back to sleep. “Can I sleep a little longer?” She asked. She didn’t know what time it was or that she’d been the one to wake me up. She never even touched the strawberries. I left them by her bed all day.
We reduced her meds today, but she’s taking more than she did a week ago. We hoped that she’d be more coherent, more awake, but she slept all day.
I know it’s a blessing. She wasn’t crying in pain and discomfort. She wasn’t distracted with the things she “should” be doing. She was resting, peacefully, sleeping and occasionally talking – speaking in her dreams.
The morning strawberry request was her most lucid moment of the day although she came downstairs (briefly) and also sat in Emily’s room (on the Yogibo) while Emily and I cleaned, argued, and listened to terrible music. She mostly slept while we worked but I think she was glad to be near us. Roo kept jumping on her, curling up on her legs and making a cute nuisance of himself.
The hospice nurse, Sarah, came by at 11 a.m. and examined Ana, listening to her breathing. She heard breath sounds in both lungs (a total surprise). She said the left lung sounded weaker and the bottom part of her lung was silent which could mean there’s fluid there. She also checked her blood pressure (118/60) and pulse which was 140. Her heart is strong. It’s working hard. Ana has a young, strong body which is fighting the advancing cancer every step of the way. She smiled a few times today and laughed at least once. Each of those moments were infinitely precious.
I miss her so much it’s excruciating. You can’t hold onto someone with sheer force of will. You might think you can, but you can’t.