Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What a difference a day makes!

As predicted, I got to sleep last night with the aid of morphine, and slept pretty much through the night. Marty woke up at five, and although he doubted that he could get back to sleep, he did, and slept till eight (I slept a little more as well). He hasn't been sleeping well, so it was good to see him get some needed rest. The pain had receded back to just my left side, and was much milder, so whatever is going on, I'm feeling pretty confident that I don't have pneumonia, which is very good news.

I was feeling unusually hungry, since I had only a very light dinner last night, and I asked Marty to make me a cheese omelet, which I had with two Popeye's biscuits--a very big and very yummy breakfast, and I haven't been hungry since (it's now dinner time). Later in the morning I had a visit with Caren, one of my hospice volunteers; we moved into the living room and sat and talked for almost two hours. One area in which this hospice program is clearly superior to the previous one is in its volunteers--I never got a consistent volunteer in the previous program, and the ones that did come never did more than chit-chat, but with both Tim and Caren I have been having enjoyable and meaningful discussions. One thing that came up in the course of our conversation today is that I mentioned how much I love being in the water and swimming, and Caren said that her health club in Waltham (a nearby town) has a therapeutic pool, with warm water and a chair lift (separate from the lap pool, where the water is much cooler). Years ago, when I used to belong to a health club and swim laps, I remember the constant disagreements between the swimmers, who wanted the water cool, and the people who just played around in the water, who wanted it warm, so having separate pools is a really good idea. I'm going to ask Lauren or Katrina to check out a place where I can use a pool (Caren said when I talked about going in the water my eyes lit up).

Another thing she mentioned was that there is a rule that volunteers are not allowed to bring food to patients, and that she really wants to bring me some of her home-baked goodies. So she went to the volunteer director to discuss it with her, and apparently it's going to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. We both can understand that there are some patients who may have medical reasons why they shouldn't receive food, but we both also like the flexibility that the program apparently has. Last week I gave Caren a recipe for some sesame apricot bars that are the rare treat that don't taste at all like the stereotype of health food desserts (back in my baking days I've made them for lots of people who agreed they were delicious).

After Caren left I had about an hour before Anne was due to give me my acupuncture treatment. I wasn't hungry for lunch, and Marty wanted to go out, so he made me a chicken salad sandwich and left it in the refrigerator in case I got hungry while he was gone. When Anne came I moved onto the daybed in the office, and told her about the pain I'd been having (which was considerably diminished). She put a needle into the tenderest spot on each side, and asked if I felt a pinching or drawing feeling, which I did, and which she said indicated that it was working. She inserted some other needles, and I lay comfortably in the dreamy state that acupuncture almost always puts me into. Anne had mentioned that she would bring a space blanket (those high tech foil things) instead of the little down throw I usually use, and when she spread it over me I felt a comfortable warmth that contributed to the state of comfortable reverie.

Often I fall asleep after acupuncture, but after lying comfortably for a short while I decided I didn't want to sleep. I was feeling pain free for the first time in days, and energized. I moved back to the bedroom, and as soon as I sat down on the bed realized I should have made a stop in the bathroom (which I had walked right past); and I just could not hold back from wetting the bed. Every time this happens, I start using the disposable pads, but they bunch up and after a few days just seem to be more in the way than anything else. I knew Susan was coming, so I just sat there, somewhat uncomfortably, until she arrived. It was getting a little on the late side, and I was beginning to wonder whether I remembered incorrectly, but I was pretty sure she had said when she left yesterday that she would be here again today (we'd been sitting and watching the old movie Anatomy of a Murder), but then she called and said she was running a little late, and was wondering whether I still wanted her to come, so I said I needed her. She very efficiently got everything off the bed and the wet stuff into the wash, and then got the bed made up with fresh sheets while I rested on the daybed. After moving back to bed and resting for a bit, and feeling really good, I decided to take a shower--I don't even want to think about how long it's been since my last shower, and it felt so good!

So right now I'm comfortable, clean, and relatively pain free--what a difference a day makes indeed!

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