Living Well with a Bad Diagnosis - Lung Disease

Friday, February 17, 2017

Hard to Say Goodbye

I know that when one is in a pulmonary rehab class, one has to expect that people are going to pass away. Older people. People who have been ill for years. Each time we hear of a passing of a classmate, it hits hard. These are people who I have usually known for years, they stopped coming to class then months later, we learn they have died.

At the beginning of the year, I was so surprised that Caveman had died. He was either my age or a bit younger and not that sick. He did not want to take prednisone. He did not want to take any medications or get a proper diagnosis or deal with his disease. He had been complaining of a pain in his lungs, another classmate told him to see a doctor as it sounded like pneumonia, he said he was sick of seeing doctors and DIED of pneumonia.

Yesterday, I learned that a lovely lady who joined us less than a year ago from another rehab program had just died of pneumonia. Her disease had progressed and, apparently, she knew that she was probably going to die sooner rather than later. It was still a shock when I was told she died.

Sweet Carlos, who has been with us in class for many years, has stopped coming to rehab over a year ago. He was head of maintenance in the hospital where I go for rehab class. Everyone would come by to say hello to him. Everyone would tell us that he was the best boss ever. We hear he is not doing well.

And then, there is Sherman. I so miss him. We talk on the phone but I miss teasing him and we shared things we would not share with others. A good, dear friend. I so fear I am going to get the dreaded phone call from his daughters. He has given up. He is no longer fighting. At 93-years old, he might just be tired of it all and ready. But, I'm not ready for him to die. Don't even want to think about it.

Then, there is my mom. My 88-year old mom who is still teaching me life lessons as I watch her navigate this time of her life. Amazing, strong woman. Her pacemaker doctor accepted a new position in Boston and he wanted to see her before he left. The office phoned me yesterday and we are seeing him at 10:30 today. He is the doctor who offered to write a referral to the lung transplant program for me, if needed. I so hope that the pacemaker keeps her active and happy for many more years.

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