Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Circle of Life

Its the autumnal equinox, a time when I am reminded of the cycles of nature. This year as summer gives way to fall, I am very acutely aware of the cycles--we're hospicing Caro's Aunt Frances. She is in the end stages of pancreatic cancer.

For the last month, Caro and her cousin Kathie (Frances' daughter) have been in Myrtle Beach, caring for her. To our surprise, after a fairly energetic walk in the neighborhood, Frances' said she'd like to go to NM.

After much discussion with the hospice people at both ends and a frantic weekend of modifying the back bedroom to accommodate our new guest, Kathie and Frances flew out (first class with 1-stop in ATL). She arrived last Wednesday (the night I have to teach at CSF) and since then we've been dealing with all the myriad details of her care. From the photo you can see that she has her good moments.

On Thursday my cousin Hank and Norma stopped by for dinner. They'd been in Denver to visit his brothers and then toured CO before touching base with all the relatives in NM. Being a doctor and a nurse, they had excellent advice for Frances care.

Last night she was moving well, walking just with the walker, and ate a fair bit of a turkey dinner. Today she is breathing shallow and fast after having a coughing problem in the night. Unlike yesterday, she hasn't gotten up for breakfast. She had a similar coughing episode on Saturday, but it passed by noon before the hospice nurse arrived. Hope this passes soon.

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