Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Overactive Imagination

Well, my mind is certainly heading down an interesting path.  It may take me straight to a padded room.  Now I'm seeing things.

Today, Luis and his brother, Joseph, came down and replaced some wood on our deck steps and porch rails.  A few of the steps were in really bad shape and I was particularly worried that someone might get hurt.  My sister-in-law, Nancy was also there helping me with some things in the house.

We had all stopped for lunch and were sitting around the table talking mostly about Rudy.  I was sitting opposite Luis.  We had been talking for some time, and Luis was saying some pretty wonderful things when all of a sudden, I caught sight of some items in the background around Luis's head.  I saw wings and a halo.

A few months back, our dogs started going nuts at the window trying to get in.  One of them kept jumping on the screen.  There was no time to shop or sew, so I decided to hang a a tablecloth hung over a shower curtain rod as a makeshift curtain to block the view. That solved the problem - no more dogs scratching at the window.   Above the curtain was a vintage life buoy - my idea of an interesting wreath.  

Behind Luis's head, the tablecloth seemed like angel wings and the life buoy became a halo.  I had Joseph and Nancy sit in my chair and look for themselves.  It was a bit freaky.  I took some photos, but it was better in person.

What I wonder - is Luis the angel or is there an angel watching over him from behind?  I don't know, but one thing is certain - Luis is a really great guy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Did God Hear Our Prayers?

In my last post, I ended by asking people to tell me if they had any dreams about Rudy.  So far, I have found out about 3 wonderful dreams.  One was from someone young, as in below drinking age, but old beyond their years.  I'm not going to include names or even pronouns in this post because I have not asked permission to share this.  I'll call this person Sage so I don't need to keep writing young person throughout this post.  I googled gender-neutral names to find a name I could use and that was one in the list.  Since it's also a word meaning wise person, I found it particularly fitting.

Sage dreamed of a place that sounds heavenly - with a path in a forest and a lake and a city in the distance.  He/She felt the dream was about Rudy and heaven.

Sage has prayed for Rudy throughout his illness and asked others to pray as well.  Sage wore the Team Rudy bracelets.  So many other people prayed for Rudy and wore those bracelets.  With all those prayers, you'd think God would surely cure Rudy.  So how can it be that Rudy died.  Was God not listening to our prayers?  

After hearing of Sage's dream and hearing about how upset Sage was at Rudy's death, I was very concerned at how this must seem because I can remember feeling let down by God when I was young.  I wrote to Sage's mother and after my message was sent, I decided to include it in a post in case anyone else feels let down.  Here's what I wrote (with names and pronouns changed) -

I worry about [Sage].  He/She prayed so hard and must feel his/her prayers didn't work.  Rudy's cancer was not beatable.  Yet he lived longer than most with his diagnosis.  Better yet, he died without much pain.  Lung cancer can be a hard death.  I was praying for an easy ending and I know Rudy was, too.  The pneumonia was peaceful.  I don't know if that information will help [Sage], but tell him/her if you think it might.  Prayers were indeed answered and God chose the best way to bring him home.  If heaven is as wonderful as we believe it is, then the only thing we are sad about is that we will miss Rudy so badly while we are on earth.  I feel sure Rudy is watching us all and that he showed [Sage] a glimpse of a wonderful place that most can't see til their life is over.  Also, [Sage] described a place where I hope to see Rudy one day and for that I am so grateful.  Please give him/her a big hug for me and tell him/her that he/she is forever in my heart.
God was listening to us all and He knew what was best.  Those of us who feel assured of heaven know Rudy is happy.  We can feel the proof in every fiber of our being!  We're only sad because we know it may be a while until we can see Rudy again.  Maybe, if we are open-minded, we'll get tiny assurances from him.  It may be in our dreams at night.  It may be that something about Rudy pops into our head, seemingly out of nowhere.  It may be a significant song on the radio.  I hope you'll share those messages with me, because they really do help me.  I miss him terribly.

I'm not much of an artist and I'm even less talented at drawing on a computer, but here's a picture from a dream.  It's not from Sage's dream.  It's from a very meaningful and unbelievably realistic dream I had a number of years ago.  When I first learned of Sage's dream, I didn't catch the part about there being a path.  When I went back and re-read the description, I nearly fell over because all of a sudden I realized our dreams were so similar.  The main difference was that in my dream, there was a red and white checked tablecloth with a family sitting around it having a picnic.  It was on the left side of the path.  The family was very happy.  I belonged with them, but I couldn't join them. I was only allowed a glimpse - a glimpse of the family, the deeply-shaded path which was in a forest with a very tall canopy, the meadow beyond, with I think a lake just behind the forest and way in the distance, a city (with buildings much nicer than I was able to draw.  I think some had rounded tops.  The city also seemed lit up even though it was daytime.  Maybe Sage and I visited the same place.  The family probably wasn't in Sage's dream because they had no doubt finished their picnic.  Sage - does this crude drawing resemble what you saw in your dream?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Day of Memories

There's an old saying about how after you die, people throw you the best party of your life on the one day you can't attend.  It's pretty much true.  All day yesterday, I kept thinking, "Rudy would have loved this."

It was a perfect celebration of his life.  Denise and Philip's house was filled with the people Rudy loved most in the world.  At one point, I looked around at the crowd.  There were so many people there from all parts of Rudy's life and he would have been thrilled to see every one of them.

I keep thinking back over all the people who were there.  There were so many people I wanted to speak to - it was overwhelming.  Every single person there was a gift --- to me and to Rudy's two sisters, Linda and Nancy.  They all made our goodbye celebration the most perfect day possible. I feel sure, Rudy would have been proud.  I have no idea what it's really like in heaven, but I pictured him watching over the day with lots of people he loved. They were all no doubt telling him how wonderful it was and how lucky he was to be loved by so many.  I have a feeling his brother, Jimmy, was by his side, laughing and crying and cracking jokes.

There were, of course, many tears, but just as I'd hoped, there were more laughs.  I heard many people recounting stories about good times with Rudy.  Most of the stories were very funny.  Rudy was full of fun and mischief.  Some stories were touching and showed what a good heart he had.  Thank you Aunt Jane for a really special memory.  I knew that beneath Rudy's gruff exterior, he was just a big softie.  I loved that side of him.  I also loved his fun side, and truthfully, his humor is what made me fall for him in the first place.  I have said a number of times that Rudy made me laugh every day and he made me cuss every day.  That's the truth!  He loved pushing my buttons.  He was very good at it and when he got me good and "riled up", he'd have a good laugh.

Rudy's cousin, Matt, and Rudy's nephew, Daniel, spoke to the crowd.  Over the years, Rudy had said on a number of occasions that when it was his time, he hoped they'd speak at his funeral.  He got his wish and the things they each said was absolutely wonderful.  The two of them spoke from the heart and it meant the world to me.

Rudy's Aunt Peggy, wrote a sweet poem for him that she read aloud.  It was very touching.

Our niece, Denise W, not only hosted the event, but she also is the one who spent HOURS putting together the video.  It was amazing.  She gathered photos from lots of folks and added music that Nancy helped choose.  Daniel and his wife, Denise (we have 3 Denise's in the family) were instrumental in getting the video set up to play on multiple TV's.  If you didn't get to see the video, you can see some of the photos HERE.  Philip said Rudy went through phases in terms of his style, including the Grizzly Adams stage and the Lewis Grizzard stage.  I thought he was pretty darned handsome all of his life.

Denise W. had help from others in putting the party together and getting things set up.  Carly, Evan, Daniel, Denise L, Jack, Jonce and Philip worked really hard.  Everything was beautiful.    Also, thank you to the many people brought food!  I brought 4 blueberry pies (Rudy's famous favorite recipe) and we realized after most people had left they hadn't even been put out.  I'm sure Rudy thought that was funny.

It was really tough to stay composed through the day. I guess I didn't do such a good job and sweet Kelly was right there with me each time I dissolved.  I've held it together for months, but apparently, the dam has broken and now it takes nothing to set off the waterworks.   It seems every time I saw someone new, I became weepy.  Every time I thought about how Rudy would have loved it, I got weepy.  Every time I caught sight of a photo on the video, I got weepy. Every time I heard something wonderful being said, I wept some more. Thank you Stephanie for a particularly amazing compliment.  Thank you Luis for sharing so many details about your special relationship with Rudy.  Thank you to the many people who traveled some distance through harrowing Atlanta traffic to be there!  I still can't believe the number of people who stopped in through the day.

Thank you to Carl for driving me all over the place!  Today when I picked up my car, I found he had cleaned it and filled the tank with gas.  Of course, that brought on a fresh waterworks display.  He's a really, really great guy!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this extremely sad day the most joyful it could possibly be.  Linda, Nancy, and I will be eternally grateful.

One last thing.  If anyone has a dream about Rudy, please tell me.  I know...  That's weird.  But really, I want  need to know!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

You're Invited

Rudy's friends and family are all invited to a celebration of Rudy Casey's life.  It will be held Saturday, May 16th.  In fitting with Rudy, it will be very casual, and hopefully, upbeat and filled with good memories.

It's an Open House - you can come by anytime between noon and 4pm.

We've had a ton of offers from loved ones who want to help with the food.  No one HAS to bring a thing, but for anyone who really wants to a snack, appetizers, covered dish, sandwiches, salads, sweets, and whatever would be greatly appreciated.

It will be held in the home of Rudy's niece, Denise, and her husband, Philip Wilcox.

Dress is very casual - shorts, flip flops, jeans - whatever you feel comfortable in.  Rudy hated dressing up, so just come as you are.

The address is 5430 Silk Oak Way, Sugar Hill, GA  30518.

The neighborhood is a little tricky to navigate, so here are directions from the subdivision entrance:

Enter Arbor Clos Subdivision
Turn Right on Silverberry Lane
Turn Right on Star Flower Lane
Turn Left on Silk Oak Way
It's 5430 Silk Oak Way

--> Please park on the side with even numbered addresses!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Right Decision

I knew my intentions were good when I decided to have the celebration for Rudy across town.  I am truly not the kind of person who would ever intentionally hurt anyone's feelings and I certainly did not mean this as a way to leave anyone out.  I knew it was perfect for Rudy and truly felt it would work out in a way that would be very meaningful.  Still, there was always a tiny bit of doubt in my mind.  Today, that doubt totally went away, thanks to Luis, Jessica, and Jeshua and thanks also to Camille and Mr. Wheat.

My hope was that many people would come to see Linda and Nancy and I personally in the following weeks.  We could have a closer, more intimate conversation in a smaller group than could be possible in a large gathering. Also, the visits would be spread out, keeping us from sinking into grief as people went on with their lives.   My hopes have been totally surpassed already.

Today, Rudy's sisters, Linda and Nancy, were helping me around the house.  Our niece Kelly was helping, too.  She has stayed with me the last two nights and kept me from dwelling on more sadness than I can take right now.  My parents were in and out all day, too.  I'm so glad all of them were with me to be part of the visits today.

Luis and his family stopped by.  Luis worked for Rudy for almost 7 years.  Rudy said Luis was the son he never had.  Luis told all of us Rudy was like a father to him.  He shared one kind story after another.  I wish we'd had a tape recorder running because what Luis said was better than any eulogy I've ever heard.  He had us in tears (with kleenex being passed all around) and he made us laugh.  Rudy was no saint and he was very persnickety about wanting things done correctly (that means HIS way, of course).  Rudy shared everything he knew about the glass business with Luis.  He had faith in him.  He was grooming him to take over when he retired.  When Rudy got sick, that process was put on high speed.  He handed the company over to Luis, knowing full well Luis was ready.  He told all his contacts that Luis was the man they needed to use if they wanted things done well. Everyone knew that Rudy didn't throw compliments around lightly, so Luis is now their go-to glass man.   Rudy was very proud.  Luis said the things he learned from Rudy went beyond business.  He told us so many things Rudy had said over the years about faith and family and life.  It's hard to choose a favorite, but I did write one of the Rudy quotes down -

"The simpler you live your life,
the better off you'll be
at the end of the day."

Luis, you and your family will always be part of our family.  We love you so much!

As if that visit weren't enough, Camille and her wonderful father, Mr. Wheat stopped by.  Camille has known Rudy since first grade.  They lived close together in school and now they live around the corner from us.  I think every boy in school, including Rudy, had a crush on Camille and I was never jealous about it because I thought she was fabulous, too.  It sure was good to see her and I'm particularly glad they were there to meet Luis.

These personal visits were wonderful.  I have a number of people who will be visiting me next week and know of many people who will be coming to see me in the weeks after the get-together.  I'm looking forward to them all.  I feel certain I've made the right decision and I know Rudy was smiling today.

Friday, May 8, 2015

More About the Get-Together

I'm sure many people are perplexed about the location of the get-together in honor of Rudy.  Rudy and I live on the south side.  We have many friends and family on the south side.  What's the deal?  And why no service?  

First of all, I am not skipping a service because I'm flat broke.  I haven't paid all the medical bills yet, so I guess I could be broke, but if so, I don't know it yet.  Still, money did not enter into any of my decisions in this matter.  Not even one little bit.

Rudy and I were never traditional.  I couldn't bare the thought of a traditional service.  I have been to some really nice ones in the past, but I wanted something much more casual and more importantly, I know Rudy would think this is perfect.  Some of you may remember, Rudy and I ran off and got married because we got so nervous about the whole big wedding thing.  Seriously, we are not traditional!

The May 16th get-together is up in Sugar Hill, which is a long unpleasant trek across town for many of our close friends and family.  I did not do that to exclude anyone!!!  Anyone who wants to come is truly welcome.  If you need an address or more details, send me a message or give me a call. Or call Linda or Nancy or my sister or parents. Give us a few days to gather all the info.  

This decision made perfect sense, actually, for what I am hoping will happen.  I think the Sugar Hill get-together will not have too big of a crowd. It's not a service to bring closure.  I don't think I'll ever have closure.  It will likely be mostly Rudy's aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.  I imagine many people we love - both friends and family - will choose not to attend, and that's really OK.   Again, to be perfectly clear - anyone who WANTS to come is welcome!, but  please don't feel like you are letting me down if you opt out! 

After the 16th, I'm going to have to start figuring how how to live without the man I've been married to for 36+ years.  During that time, there were very few days we were apart.  I have been part of a team - half of "Rudy and Denise".  Most of my conversations included the words, we and us and our.  I think the best way to keep from sinking into a dark place is to spend way more time with the people I love and to surround myself as often as possible with as much love as I can.  So, if you aren't at the May 16th get-together, then please - let's get together soon!  Come by the house.  Let's go to a movie.  Let's have lunch or go for a walk.  I'll need a hug and a few laughs, please. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Rudy left us very peacefully this morning.  He did it his way - with just me and his two sisters in the room and even more family in the waiting room.

A couple of days ago, he became insistent that someone had told him he could go home.   We thought he was confused, but now it's plain the home he was referring to was not the one on this earth.  

My heart is broken, but I am so thankful that he didn't die in pain.  I am thankful for the many friends and family who surrounded us during these last 6 months.  I am thankful that he was cared for by the angels on earth at CTCA.  I am thankful that Rudy had so many years of great health and happiness and that I was lucky enough to have his love for 36+ years.  

The thing about Rudy that I found the most attractive was his humor.  He was funny and loved to have a good time.  Even when he was making me so mad that steam was coming out of my ears, he managed to make me laugh.  I laughed with him every single day.  Even today, there were things to laugh about.  We all laughed as much as we cried.  

I plan to do my best to put the bad cancer days out of my mind and to focus on our best days and all the fun we had over the years.   I hope you will, too.  Rudy wouldn't want to be remembered as being sick.  That was such a small part of his life.

Plans - 
Rudy was never a traditional sort of guy and I'm not a traditional sort of girl.  A formal service would not suit us and it would be absolute torture for me.  Rudy especially enjoyed get-togethers.  We will be gathering for a casual get-together at our nieces home in Sugar Hill on May 16th.  I hope that will allow more time to visit with people and to talk about good times.  Not everything is firmed up, but I'll get more info out soon.

I know that many friends and family might not be able to make that, especially some who live on the south side.  If you can't make it, please don't feel bad.  I hope you will find some time during the next couple of months to get together with me personally.  That also goes for friends of Linda and/or Nancy.  

Meanwhile, give your loved ones some extra love tonight.  Life can change on a dime.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

ICU Update

Yesterday Rudy's blood sugar dropped very low.  It was around 43.   The nurses jumped on that with special fluids and got it up.  The doctor really wants to get Rudy eating again.  He said if Rudy didn't take in some nourishment pronto, they would need to insert a nasal feeding tube.  Rudy had a chocolate protein shake for dinner.  Linda said he seemed to enjoy it.

He has a new oxygen system.  The tubes are larger.  They had wanted to use a mask system, but he wasn't having any of that.

He hated his breakthrough pain meds, so they ever so slightly increased his main med.  It is controlling the pain, but he's a little more loopy.  During the night, he yelled for me.  He had one leg off the bed, had pulled off his oxygen tube and said he'd been told he could go home.   The nurse checked his blood sugar and it had dropped again.  That may explain why he was acting goofy.

Other than the going home incident, tonight has been much calmer than the night before.  He was very restless and needed me over and over all through the night.  It's easy to lose a sense of night and day in a hospital, especially when pain meds are involved.  He knew I was there to help, so he called on me often.  He didn't understand that I might have been "hoping" to sleep.  I was up and down all night long.  The crazy thing - the next day he told me I was going to have to do better about helping him.  He said I was sleeping and he couldn't wake me up.   Seriously???   Later it occurred to me that Linda and I had recently stepped out of the room to talk without disturbing him.  He must have seen my thick blanket (from home) piled up on the sofa.  He can't see it real well from his bed.  He probably thought I was under it sleeping away.

By the way, the blanket is one our niece, Denise, had given us a few months ago.  It's super thick and warm and is really great.  Rudy's ICU room stays pretty cold.  It's perfect for Rudy.  The antibiotics are keeping him warmer than usual. Linda and I are having to dress warmly.  I stay under the blanket whenever possible.

Linda stayed with Rudy for a good part of yesterday.  I was too tired to function.  I went home and took a really hard nap.  Nancy came over and I showed her our crazy system of feeding and taking care of 6 dogs and three cats.  It's not a straightforward system.  We have a dog with allergies who has to eat special foods.  One of our cats is blind.  

I'm not sure what the next few days will bring.  At some point he'll probably be moved to a regular room.  Being with Rudy around the clock is hard.  It's only because of that night shift. I don't mind at all being with him if I've had a decent nights sleep.  I'm not sure what we're going to do but something has to change about the night detail.  I had thought about leaving him to the ICU staff overnight, but tonight's episode has made me rethink that. (He just tried to get out of bed again. )  If I hadn't been right there in the room, he might have tried to walk on out and go home.  He's too weak to walk so getting out of bed would likely result in a fall.  I wouldn't want to strap him in or anything like that.  I also don't want to put any of our friends or family on a night shift.  We have lots of offers for help, but losing sleep is rough.  I'm wondering if I should hire overnight help for a few nights.  I wonder what that would cost.  It doesn't have to be someone in the medical field.  The person would mostly hand him water, adjust his pillow, and keep him from trying to get out of bed when he's feeling loopy.  Does anyone know someone who might like night work?  Or, if anyone has other ideas, please let me know!

I miss Rudy.  He's right in front of me, but it's been a long time since we've had a normal conversation.  Between pain meds, hacking, nausea, and breathing difficulties, he's just not able to talk much.  Cancer is horrible.

That's all for now.  It's 3:07am.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

ICU - No Visitors Please

Rudy will be in ICU for a few days, give or take.  He's fighting several things right now.

He has pneumonia.  It was a pretty good case of it, but he seems to be responding to the antibiotics.  His breathing is better.  The most polite way I can describe his coughing is to say that it's quite productive and colorful.  His temp is staying closer to normal.

Rudy doesn't like to be boring, so a new trouble has popped up.  His liver is inflamed thanks to the lovely Hepatitis bug.  It's really painful.  It went from not there to awful in a matter of a day or two.  He has two pain meds now and the dosage has been upped and upped so that his pain is tolerable unless he coughs or tries to sit up.  He's a bit loopy and that's probably a good thing right now.  The hepatitis just has to run it's course.  There's still a chance we'll be seeing a hepatologist soon to see if there's anything else to be done.

Rudy was sound asleep when I took this picture, so I didn't include his face.  I'd much rather get him when he's smiling and alert.  There's a sliding glass door behind that curtain to keep the sound down and the nurses station is just beyond.

If Rudy talks, it brings on coughing.  Coughing brings on really bad pain.  He doesn't need visitors.  I've received many messages and emails from people wanting to come see us.  Even those who know Rudy doesn't need visitors want to come and offer support to me.  I truly appreciate it, but actually it wouldn't be helpful right now.  I'd need to step way down the hall out of ICU to see a visitor.  If a doctor came by while I was there, I'd miss it.  When Rudy coughs, he needs help to sit forward without it hurting so bad.  I only leave the room right after a major doctor visit and only after room is sleeping soundly.  There's no way to set a time on either of those factors so I don't even want to plan to meet someone for lunch.

Today, I grabbed a quick lunch and ate it outside at the swan pond.  A lovely lady and her daughter happened by.  She quickly told me her story, which included that she has stopped treatment to have her daughter.  She knew the treatment would cause infertility so it was her only chance.  It was an absolute treasure to watch her telling her daughter all about swans.

I know people are worried about me, but there's no need.  I'm doing fine.  I feel more relaxed sitting in that room with Rudy than anywhere.  It makes a huge difference knowing that there are a zillion experts watching him constantly and jumping through all sorts of hoops to help him through this.  I can be with him without the pressure of not knowing what to do to help him.

His room is right in front of the nurses station.  Other people are in charge of helping him and they are very good at it.  The room is large.  I have my choice of a recliner or sofa.  I have pillows and blankets and it's actually not a bad place to sleep. There's a private bathroom.  There's a TV, which so far has only been turned on to see if the Braves were on.    Best of all, I have his sister, Linda, staying with Rudy whenever I need to leave.  She would do anything at all for her baby brother.

I'm rereading the Mitford Series books
which are very upbeat and heartwarming.

His other sister, Nancy would be helping, too, but unfortunately, she has a respiratory infection or something.  She went to the doctor, but I haven't heard the details.  We feel sure she shouldn't be anywhere near Rudy.

My sister and parents would love to help as well.  They've offered to do anything they can.  So have our many close friends and large extended family.  There's just not much anyone can do right now.   But, let me make this point - all the offers mean more to me than you'll ever know.  Just knowing how much we are loved and that help is just a phone call away is very comforting.  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Just Breathe

The last 24 hours have been rough.  We've had one crisis after another and one solution after another.  Rudy and I have been surrounded by earth angels - Nancy, Linda, Lorraine, and my parents.

Friday morning Rudy said he thought he might be needing to get on oxygen.  His breathing rate had increased and he felt like he couldn't get a good breath.  He had woken up a couple of times the previous night because of breathing challenges.  He said one of the times was particularly scary.

I called CTCA and an appointment was scheduled in with his other Monday appointments to get that going.  We didn't think there was a rush.  A Monday  appointment would be fine.   NOT.

A random stop at Rockin' B to pick up an office chair turned out to be divine intervention.  Lorraine was there and asked about Rudy.  When I told her what was going on, she just happened to have a really nice oxygen concentrator - a portable unit that makes oxygen without the tanks.  Did I want to borrow it?  SURE!  She even had lots of spare tubes for it.

I went back to Rockin' B yesterday afternoon, picked up the tank, and headed back home.  I wasn't gone long.  When I returned, Rudy was on the floor.  He had passed out and woke up on the floor.  He stayed there til I got home. His elbow was bleeding.  He was frantic for me to set up the oxygen tank.

OMG.  Lorraine had given me a quick lesson, but doing something for the first time in frantic mode is not the best way to get started.  I had some trouble and it took everything I had to keep from flipping right out with fear.  Once it was set up, he had instant relief.

Once he had instant relief, I starting getting sick.  I have stomach issues - IBS or something.  I can almost always control it by eating right.  At first I thought I must have eaten something wrong, but apparently, this episode was stress induced.  I could feel the pain and nausea increasing and knew that with Rudy needing close monitoring, we had to call in the reinforcements.

I called Nancy and she dashed over.  Just her very presence was a huge relief.  I gave her a super fast briefing, then went to my chair upstairs to sit very still and wait for the worst to pass.

At one point in the evening, Rudy took off the oxygen to go to the bathroom.  He came back super fast frantic to get it back on.  The system has two backup batteries, but since Rudy started using it immediately, there was never a chance to charge them.  And now, Rudy feels he just can't go without the oxygen.

Everything went smoothly the rest of the night, thank God.  Nancy insisted on staying the night and I didn't argue much against it. Thanks to her,  I was able to actually sleep.  If she hadn't stayed, I probably would have slept with one eye open and jumped at every sound.

The night passed without incident.  The oxygen system worked with no issues. Rudy slept in a recliner in his office and that turned out to be great.  Apparently sleeping more upright is helpful.  Between the upright sleeping position and the oxygen, he had less issues with hack attacks through the night.

This morning, things seemed OK.  By OK, I certainly don't mean they are going well.  Things are not going well.  Rudy is in bad shape.  He's weak and fatigued.  He's not eating.  He is drinking, but food (even the food he asks for) just sits untouched.  His quality of life is just awful.

Nancy went home to get some quality sleep.  She had slept in a living room recliner.  I have been meaning to get a guest bed, but hadn't.  I decided that couldn't wait any longer.  It's likely we're going to need to have some overnight guests and they need a decent place to sleep.

Linda came to stay with Rudy this afternoon.  I'm definitely not leaving him by himself anymore.  I set left to get a mattress, sheets and pillow as fast as possible.  I was halfway thru my mission when Linda called.  The oxygen contractor alarm had gone off.  The alarm code sounded ominous and the manual recommended we get a backup system.

After MANY panicked phone calls all over, Lorraine quickly followed me to my house and made a few changes.  Lorraine saw that I had hooked up the system with a really long cord.  She bypassed the long cord and attached the nose cord straight to the machine.  She could then turn down the setting and Rudy still gets plenty of oxygen.  We were hoping that on the lower setting, the batteries might be able to charge, but that's not happening.  The batteries are old and may need replacing.

Linda, Nancy and I all agree that Rudy should have gone over to CTCA yesterday.  He didn't want to go.  He was adamant.  He feels just as strongly about it today.  He doesn't want to go til his appointment on Monday.

So now, we are in between a rock and a hard place.  I could force Rudy to go to CTCA.  That would stress him to no end.  Or I can pray like all getout that Lorraine's life-saving oxygen concentrator continues to keep pumping til we can get him over to CTCA on Monday.  (The alarm has sounded two more times since everyone left.)

If anyone has a spare oxygen system lying around, please let me know!

Tonight, Rudy and I are on our own.  My parents live right next door and they have helped with everything they possibly could.  They would do more if I would let them.  I know if I called them tonight, they'd be over in no time at all.  In fact I have any number of people who have offered to help with anything at all.

Am I OK?  Truthfully, no.
But, for now, it's very important
for me to keep going along as if I am.

I feel almost as if I am watching everything from afar.  Is this normal or have I just turned to stone?  Only part of my brain is working correctly - the part that is logical and looking to what needs to be done.  The emotional side has shut down almost completely.  My emotions have been on a pretty tight leash these last six months.  I've pasted a smile on my face and kept my butt in gear to put it crudely. I definitely can't open that emotional Pandora's Box right now.  If I did, I feel sure I'd completely dissolve and wouldn't be able to help Rudy when he needs me most.

Please pray for us.