Carol’s sleep patterns are really messed up.  I haven’t had more than five hours sleep in the last 48 hours. The only place for me to sleep in her room is the chair and although it is a big overstuffed chair with an ottoman, it just isn’t working that well for me. Krista has taken the day off today so that I can try to get some sleep.  She gave me some earplugs so hopefully it will block out the noise of the air conditioner being installed today! It is quite noisy.    

     We are waiting for the new nurse to arrive so we can discuss changes we see, look at meds and figure out a new plan to help Carol.

     The nurse has arrived. She says the left lung is at about ¼ capacity and the other is maybe 1/2 capacity. We will be increasing the meds a bit to help Carol feel better. Krista tries to drain fluid from Carol’s lungs about every three days. In the beginning she said she was getting about 1,000 to 1,500 units. Now she is lucky to get 300. The nurse tried to do a drain today but got nothing. That is not a good sign. We will try again tomorrow.  Honestly, I don’t think she will be with us longer than two or three more weeks.

     The breast that has the cancer in it is disgusting. It is not only repulsive to look at but, it tends to smell. The cancer grows and eats away at the skin tissue and turns it black. There are not many words to describe it except disgusting, gross, nauseating, etc. We change the gauze pad on it several times a day to help with the odor and to help soak up the discharge. It helps quite a bit but, what helps the most is the potpourri that Carol keeps in little dishes around room. It is in the window, on the dresser, in the dresser and on the desk. Anyone who knows Carol knows the scent. It is very distinctive. When you walked into her apartment at the Inn, you could always smell it. She never throws it away. When it begins to lose its pungent odor, she just puts it in Ziploc bags or gauzy type bags and puts it in her dresser drawers. Her clothes absorb the odor. When it has been sealed up for a while and is reopened, it still smells good. She told us that when she dies and is cremated she wants her potpourri to be there with her. We will try our best to make it happen.

     She seems to be the happiest when Kelly, Krista or I are in the room with her. She appears to like it the best when we are all there. She told me this afternoon she wants to have a party and that Krista, Kelly and I all need to be there for it. We were all in the room together for a short while today for cocktail hour but we certainly didn’t have a party. She likes to have a cocktail every afternoon or early evening. Kelly makes her a scotch and water, mostly water. It seems to bring a sense of normalcy to her day.

     I am so very thankful I can be here. It is quite difficult to put it mildly, but, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  The only exception would be that this is just a very bad dream and I will wake up soon. We have had several really good and interesting heart to heart conversations. I’m going to miss her so much when she is gone.