Living Well with a Bad Diagnosis - Lung Disease

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


We got word that George passed away. He was Sherman's best friend and both Michael and I knew him well. I think he was only 77-years old, took over Sherman's UPS route after he retired and was an owner of many Model T cars. A kind and generous man.

Just over a week ago, he had a stroke that left him unable to speak or move half of his body. A feeding tube was introduced a few days ago but the prognosis wasn't good. When we were told he died Sunday night, we both thought it was probably a relief that he didn't have to live in this vegetative state, unable to respond to anything.

With Sherman dying just a few months ago, this was a most unexpected death.

A sudden death like this is often hard for the family as there was no time for goodbyes. Having this disease, I am often grateful that I have had years to say everything I wanted people to hear. My relationships are all settled. I could die tomorrow and it would be okay.

Recently, I found myself preparing Michael for my death. Sounds odd, I know, but I realized it while showing him how to snap the stems off the dead flowers of the geraniums in the garden. I was also explaining why a Japanese Maple would not be a good choice to plant along the windy side of the house and showed him why I planted the two where they live protected from the ocean breezes.

He used to drive me nuts by telling me when he ran out of something rather than giving me a few days notice. He is now trained to actually write on the grocery list when he opens a new item. Always have an extra on hand is my motto. He knows how to do the laundry as well as fold it and put it away. We are still working on Dishwasher 101! Don't even ask about making the bed as he is still in the pre-caring-about-it phase. He knows how to turn on the oven! He knows to open the mail and immediately phone if there is a problem with any bill, insurance or bank.

He can actually food shop all by himself. This was a huge step that came after shopping with me for all the weeks of my fractured knee. He now has the confidence to do it alone.

Instead of phoning for him, I have him dealing with all the new paperwork and phone calls regarding his upcoming entree to Medicare and Supplemental insurance. Kaiser needed to be cancelled as of a certain date. We have had to deal with the Supplemental several times already. In our 43 years of marriage, I have always taken care of this stuff. I realize that I have not been doing him any favors. He needs to know how to write the checks, pay the bills and actually take them to the post office. Follow through. Not always his strongest suit. Best intentions...

But, he is learning. He has embraced the gardening. No, he doesn't approach it the way I have for years but he does it his way, which is just fine with me.

I am teaching him to function without me.

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