Where were we last time? Oh yeah. Waiting for wonders. Well, they never do cease.
Tuesday afternoon, Asa passed about a pint of fresh blood. He called the Center for Digestive Disease and told them. This was something they were expecting, and they insisted he go immediately to the ER. He called me,I locked up the bookstore and ran home, threw him in the car and got to the hospital at about 3 pm. The gods love us - I found a parking space just inside the parking structure. He said the magic words to the ER admitting team: "cancer" and "fresh blood." In less than half an hour he was in a bed in a room in the ER being prodded, poked, drained and x-rayed. Then came the long waiting.
Waiting on decisions to be made by committees of people as to the best course of action. Should they do more invasive testing? He couldn't have anything to eat or drink until they decided. Time took on this weird, shimmery quality. 10 pm came and still no decision. He was stablized, there hadn't been any more bleeding, the cause was most likely a burst varicose vein in his stomach or intenstinal wall, so I think they were trying to decide what action would be safest for all concerned. Asa was getting worried about me. He knows how much I truly loathe and despise being in hospitals, and that I have night-blindness. Driving at that hour would be problematic for me. We'd been passing the time by keeping all our friends informed with updates to Facebook from my phone. My good buddies, TJ and Tree, halted their weekly D&D game to come to my rescue. I had been so frantic to get out of the building I was misdirected to an exit that put me nearly half a mile from where I'd parked, but they found me wandering down the road and scooped me up, Tree driving my car home for me, and TJ chatting away and lifting my spirits as she hauled me home. Once there, Asa kept me updated through the night: he was put in a bed in a regular ward, they fed him, gave him something to drink. They decided to keep him all night for observation. He managed to sleep and so did I.
Wednesday I got ready for work as if it might end up being something like a normal day, but I was going nuts. Asa called a little before 11 to tell me they were going to do one more lab test and then release him. I headed back to the hospital. After a little mouse-in-the-maze stuff on the hospital's 4th floor, I found him - sharing a room with an elderly fellow who had pneumonia. Everyone was in masks. It was surreal. The lab tech came in and drew that one last vial of blood. There was cable TV in the room, so we settled in to watch a cooking show. We shared a very odd lunch - a chicken sandwich on a bun, mashed potatoes, macaroni, and a fruit cup. We watched three episodes of NCIS. Nurses and techs came and went. By 3:30 pm they finally turfed him. I got him home and as comfortable as I could. Our pal TJ brought us Panda bowls for dinner. We made an early night of it.
Thursday was an oasis of normal. We went through our regular morning routines. I went to work. He had an acupuncture treatment. We chatted constantly through the day, either on the phone or through Facebook messages. We had meatballs and rice for dinner. We watched some TV. We went to bed. He didn't sleep well.
Friday we got to the Cancer Center in excellent time. He had labs taken. We saw the oncologist. He gave us the bad news. Asa's liver is failing rapidly now. There is no treatment. The doctor sent in his nurse to speak to us about home hospice care. Once she explained what it is, we were both very relieved and agreed we would like to do it. We stopped at Hurricane's on the way home and got breakfast burritos to go. I don't think we were home for more than ten minutes before we got a call from the hospice people. They wanted to send a nurse/navigator out to see us within the hour. And then she was here. And then we were signing papers. And then a medical courier was here with new pain meds and new nausea meds.
There's too much to process. Mostly, SHIT JUST GOT REAL, YO. You know this terrible, horrible, awful, no good, very bad news is coming but your brain isn't wired to take it seriously. These people who have been in the Doling Out Hope business suddenly stop. The world just tipped and tilted and you kind of slid off there. Big ass punch to the gut.
And then they give you this gigantic chocolate Easter Egg of a thing. There's home hospice care that enfolds you, gets your prescriptions so you never have to wait in a pharmacy again, monitors how you're doing, seeing to whatever needs you want them to. It comes with your very own doctor and nurse and social worker and spiritual guide and home health aide. Who will only show up as often as you want them and you can have them stop by every day if you'd like and if you don't like any of them, they will find others you will like and you can fire them any time and by the way this is all covered by Medicare. Because you've come to the end of the road and there's nothing else to be done. And they give you a whiteboard calendar for your refrigerator to keep track of their visits. And they are on call 24/7 so it's like you have your own personal 9-1-1. Giant feather pillow to land on.
We just got emotionally tossed around pretty hard. There's no safe place for me to put my brain - my thoughts are circling a very dark drain. Asa is tossing and turning and getting up every ten minutes. I'm not too sure about the new pain meds. But the nausea drug is ACES.
It's 1:30 in the morning on Saturday now. I'm drinking Sleepy Time Tea but it's not helping. Asa came out to join me, and I gave him another dose of this pain killer. We're supposed to meet friends for breakfast. His best friend is coming over later in the morning to help him install a leverage rail on the toilet. I need to get back to work just so I can get some normal for a bit. Give my Giant Wet Feels a rest.
These crocs were made for shufflin' .
Now it's Saturday morning. I got about three hours' sleep, maybe an hour more than he did. Asa asked me to wake him at 7, but he's incoherent with fatigue so I've rolled him back in bed until 8. He wanted some tea. He wants to take a shower. Before I put him back under the covers, he said this to me:
"Death is dogging me at every turn."
He had a fucking twinkle in his eye when he said it.