Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Every Day a Day to Celebrate.

November 30, 2006

Got a good nights sleep last night. Have been up for about 2 hours and am starting already to look forward to my morning nap. I am always feeling tired it seems. With zero energy it seems I have lost interest in doing almost everything. Trying to read or meditate is almost pointless as I know I will fall asleep quickly. When company comes over, I am always happy to see who ever it is, but I still often fall asleep in my chair while visiting. I am not sure if this is true, but I once read somewhere, that you body keeps track of your sleep requirements. Almost like a bank account, if you don’t have enough you have to make up for it at some time. Maybe I am now making up for sleep I miss in my younger, wilder days.

It must be close to 2 weeks since I have had a break in the nausea. I used to have what I called my bad days. I had one or even two days feeling like this and then back to normal. Never have I had 2 weeks none stop. Patience with this is starting to wear a little thin. Gravol ( motion sickness pills) help but then they make me sleepier than I already am. It does start to get you down, but then all I have to do is Pray, read other blogs and I can regain my perspective and appreciate how lucky I am and really how good I have it compared to so many.

It seems all to easy, when in the middle of my own little issue, to become mired in my own thoughts and start to develop a bit of a poor me attitude. At times it almost feels like being stuck all alone in the middle of a big field of “woe” and in every direction you look there is nothing but more of the same. If I allow the feeling can become over welming.

The first thing I must always do, is remind myself I am never “stuck” anywhere alone. Naturally, I have the love and support of my family and friends, but that is not what I am refering to. Jesus is in my heart and at my side ready to lead me out of this field. I just have to turn to him any allow him to do so. This I know, so why is it I still seem to forget it. Thankfully for me, He is so patient and waits at my side for that few hours or days until I give my head a shake and regain my focus on what is important and can see past the current moment.

A couple of days ago I received one of those emails that contain an inpritational or encouraging message. I really do like getting those or really any messages. It always seems the right message, just what I need to hear at the time will be in one of those messages.

This message spoke of an elderly genleman. He was a widower and in his 90’s. His health was beginning to fail and it had reached the point where he had to go into a nursing home. He was still a quite spry and independant man. Always up, showered, shaved and nicely dressed by 8:00am. However the appointed day arrived for him to go to the nursing home. With having no family he arrived by himself at the set time. As fate would have it, when he arrived it was an extremely busy time, with unexpected events having happened and he was force to sit alone in a waiting room for 3-4 hours. Each of the staff members as they rushed past him, though out that time, couldn’t help but notice his friendly smile, he so readily shared with all. When things had finally calmed down and the nurse was able to go to get him and get him settled in his room. She was a little worried. I mean here was an elderly gentleman that had been kept waiting for almost 4 hours. She was relieved as she appoached him to see him smiling. She apologized for the wait. To which he replied there was no need to worry, he had put the time to good use, enjoying the situation, watching all the people rush by.

She asked him to follow her so she could show him, his room. She also said she hoped he would like his room. To which he immediately replied “I love it”. Curiously, she asked how can you love a room before you have even seen it. His reply,” I have already made up my mind I will love it so I will. I know it has a bed, a chair and a TV. How that furniture is actually arranged in the room doesn’t really matter, so I know I will love it.” He carried on, “every morning when I wake up I can make a conscious choice. I can choose whether to have a good day or a bad day. I choose to have good days. The day will present me with issues or happenings beyond my control. As they are beyond my control, I can let them upset me and deprive me of a good day. Or, I can just sit back and make the best use of the time and enjoy it. I can know I will love my room or can reserve judgement, but what would that accomplish. It is to be my room, there is nothing I can do to change that, so I chose to love it.

What an example. I am choosing to have a good day every day.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – What I Believe

November 29, 2006

I often speak of my strong Christian beliefs. I was recently asked what exactly are my beliefs as I have never mentioned any particular Church. It seems at times as if my beliefs are my own as I have never found a particular Church that exactly reflects them. I am sure there is one out there, I have just never found it. I believe all Churches, all Religions and all of the Faiths are good. We were given free will to chose our path in life, so would that not also carry over to our manner of worship. God is always with us supporting and helping us through every step of life. As long as in our hearts we are worshiping , glorifying God and striving to become better people how could any particular format we choose be wrong or bad. My particular beliefs didn’t seem to come from any one source at any one time. But instead slowly developed in my being. All coming from teachings of my mother, reading the Bible and the teachings of many different ministers or pastors etc..

I believe in a loving supportive God. A God that wants all of his children to return to Heaven. We were put on this earth to help us grow spiritually and emotionally. Helping to prepare us for our ultimate return home, to Heaven. I believe we are provided with Guardian Angels and Spirit Guides to help us on our way. Through their innocence small childred are more easily able to see and communicate with these Spiritual Beings. As we grow we loose that pure innocence, all becoming somewhat “jaded” or “tainted” by the world around us. As we loose more and more of the pure innocence we become less and less able to see them. Finally, they are lost to our mind and memory altogether. But that doesn’t mean they are gone, they are just on a different level we are no longer able to see.

They will often speak to us through what we have come to consider, intuition or even gut instinct. If we were able to regain that pure innocence of the young child, we too could talk to them. But so sadly it seems innocence lost, is lost. By putting our hearts and love to God, we can be moving back towards that.

I believe in reincarnation. We go through a series of physical lives, each specifically designed to provide situations where we are presented with opportunities to grow spiritually. Learning something even like patience could be an example. If it is something we need to learn, we could be put in a life setting were we must accept and learn it.

A very rough comparison could be that of a child going throught the school system. Using just grades 1 to 12. Each year the child enters school with a predesigned set of lessons to learn. Each year an evaluation of the childs progress is made and the child either graduates or must repeat the year and the lessons, until they have been learned.

I believe this to be similar to our successive lives. Our spiritual essence is place in a physical body. That physical body is place in an earthly environment that will provide us with the opportunities to grow that each of us individually need. On death, we leave that physical body to face an evaluation day. This evaluation before God, the Heavenly Angels together with you own Guardian Angels and Spirit Guides is a very loving review of your progress. If it is felt you have learned the lessons needed you will move to the next level “grade” and begin again this time with a new set of lessons to be learned. If you have not learned the required lessons you will “fail the grade” and have to repeat it.

Either way you return to this earth in a new physical form. The difference being, either in a much different setting to learn the new more advanced lessons or back to much the same situation you were in previously to learn what we missed the last time around.

I do not know how many different levels of lessons we must past through until we “graduate” to Heaven. I just know God and his appointed Angels are there to help us every step of the way.

This belief possible explains why I do not fear death. I wish I could say I feel I have learned all the lessons. I know I have learned some but not all, I am sure.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Heavenly Guardians

November 28, 2006

This may sound strange but I hope I have the flu or something. For the past 4 or 5 days I have felt almost constantly on the verge of throwing up. I suppose it is natural, that when you have a serious health condition, you are more aware of changes to you body, or of how you are feeling. The thought just seems to come, is this just the flu or is it a worsening of my condition. Who is to know? So, I hope I have the flu.

I received an email from my niece Sara. Sara is my brother Eric’s daughter and is a wonderful young lady. My brother was blessed with 2 wonderful children, Eric (jr) and Sara. If through some miracle I had been able to hand pick a niece and nephew, I couldn’t have done any better than the two of them.

In the email, Sara said, that for as long as she can remember. When ever she is feeling down, sad, even at times even crying. Seemly, out of no where thoughts of Munga would pop into her head and she felt comforted.

Now you will wonder who is Munga. Munga is my much loved, very missed mother who passed over in 1992. At the time of her passing she had 4 grandchildren all of whom she loved dearly. Her love was so strong she even took on “a new name”given to her by my daughter Billie. When Billie was very small and just learning to talk she had trouble pronouncing some words. Some how grandma came out Munga. My mother thought that was so special, a special name given to her by her first grand child. As all proud grand parents do she bragged about her new grand daughter and her special name. It wasn’t long and everyone, even those at her work, called her Munga. A name she took great pleasure at hearing and “adopted” it with pride.

With a love as strong and obvious as hers, do I find it hard to believe she is watching out for her precious grand children from beyond? Not at all. I am sure in what ever way available to her, she is with us all and providing comfort and support. Love is a very strong feeling an emotion within our very souls. Our souls, our spiritĀ  may leave this earthly body but why should we think our soul would leave behind the feelings held within. I know I don’t. I believe our new spiritual form will retain the love and watch from above, still being as helpfull as is possible. I am happy and relieved to know Munga is still with us in that way.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Speechless

November 27, 2006

In my family between my 2 brothers and I. I am known as the talker, the one with the gift of gab. I suppose to some extent that is true in that I am almost never caught with nothing to say. It may not always be the right thing or the best thing, but, I always it seems have something to say.

That is until today. I received an email from a lady named Patricia. Upon receiving it I visited her blog and really was left speechless by her story. I have set her up as a link and ask all to visit and leave word of encouragement. I am sure on reading her story everyone will be as touched as I have been. The pain and grieve suffered by her and her family is beyond my imagination.

Patricia is dying from the very crippling painful disease ALS. Every day she is faced with more and more pain and discomfort. The nerves and muscles in her body have been virtually destroyed even to the extent she requires a neck brace just to hold up her head. How tragic for her and her family.

But that is only part of the story. Her husband of over 30 years Gordon, was her primary care giver. Gordon was recently diagnosed with a form of brain cancer and quite quickly passed away in Sept/06.

Here, you have a lady dealing with the knowledge she is dying and dying of a very painful terrible disease. She is dealing with the grief of the passing of her husband. Her physical limitations are such she can only use the computer with a head mouse and she took the time and effort to send me an email.

Her courage in the face of such adversity is humbling and inspiring. Patricia, you and your family are in my heart, thoughts and prayers.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Breathing CPAP

November 26, 2006

I really haven’t felt well the past couple of days. I have been retaining a lot of fluid. Ankles get all swollen and gradually even breathing becomes more difficult. By difficult I just mean short of breath. I sit and pant after even the slightest exertion. It is amazing how my thinking has changed. Now taking a shower is major exertion. I passed almost 9 pounds of fluid yesterday so the next few days will be better. I still chuckle when I see the unbelieving looks on some peoples faces when I tell of how I can loose up to 12 pounds in one day. I think 12 pounds is my “record”. I suppose it is understandable that anyone would doubt this. Even my own doctor did at first. That is until I was hopitalized for 10 days and during that time I had an 8 pound day.

When the fluid builds up, I suppose it is just gravity that causes it to build up first in the feet and ankles. That law of gravity must still apply when I am lying down as it seems the fluid must spread more evenly though the body or something. At least that is what I think is happening as breathing becomes much more labored after laying down for a short while. I don’t know this to be a medical fact but I think my cpap machine helps me at night with this shortness of breath. My sleep apnea causes me to stop breathing at times while sleeping. The mask is hooked to a machine that is really nothing more than a powerful fan. The fan blows air through hoses into the mask and directly on to my face. The mask is very securely attached to my face and looks like the face masks worn by pilots for oxygen. The idea is, when a person stops breathing you give them artificial resuscitation. This machine does it continually all night long. I am not sure of the exact strength, but it feels like about a 40 mile per hour wind, constantly blowing directly on to my nose and mouth. It sounds uncomfortable but it is amazing how quickly you get used to it. That part of my face must have become used to it or desenitized or something. Now, I don’t even feel the air blowing. It has to be very securely attached to your face or any air escaping out gaps on the sides can make some really loud annoying whistling sounds. Poor Vi.

The adaptablility of the human body is an amazing thing. This shortness of breath didn’t just happen over night. It has been a slow process in developing. Bit by bit it developed without me even really noticing. Even now I will at times be sitting at the table or where ever and Vi will ask, what has got you so out of breath? Here I am panting away, seemly trying to catch my breath and thankfully, not even realizing I am doing it. The adaptability of our bodies is an amazing thing.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – To Know You are Dying

November 25, 2006

Yesterday, was not a good day felt sick most of the day and today is starting off the same. I keep thinking maybe, instead of fighting the nausea, I should just throw up when the feeling comes. May be it is nature or something, I don’t know, but I fight the urge until the end. When, I am feeling that way, controlling the nausea is the only thought in my head. Maybe, it is just I hate throwing up even more than I do the sick feeling. Ah,well when a day starts off like this you know all it can do is get better, always have that to look forward to.

My administrators site, here on the blog, allows me to see the wording people put into their search engines to find my journal. Most often are inquiries into how to talk to the dying or on what it feels like to know you are dying.

How does it feel to know you are dying? That is a difficult question, because the answer can be different from day to day or even from hour to hour. The feeling, range from denial, to fear, to guilt, to anger, to sadness and to acceptance. It is the same, I suppose, as any greiving process. You can’t work your way through one set of feelings and neatly move on to the next.

It is almost like being at the beach, standing in the water on a windy day. A wave comes at you and almost knocks you off your feet. You struggle and regain your balance, just in time for the next wave to hit. Over time, the strength of the waves subside and you think your footing is a little more secure. Suddenly, out of seemingly no where another large wave hits and you almost loose your balance again.

I suppose that pretty much describes the grieving process for anything. You can be hit by wave after wave of denial or anger, what ever, each wave trying to knock you down. The emotional waves don’t hit in any particular order or strength. Gradually, these waves do lessen in strength or intensity and you come to the peacefulness of acceptance. You are still not out of the water, and at anytime a wave can suddenly come back and hit.

Over time these emotional waves become less frequent and less severe. For me acceptance came almost as a relief. Knowing, I would not have to deal with the roller coaster ride of emotions, the ups and downs. Am I totally free of these feelings, no. I don’t really know, if I ever will be totally free. As long as you are alive, how can you be totally free of your feelings? Accepting them is one, thing being free of them is another. The waves have just been downsized and more easily manageable.

Maybe, I am still in an element of denial. I know what the doctors have said and I accept that. I just don’t think it is going to happen any time soon. Is that denial or just the human spirit pushing us on? I don’t know. With acceptance does that mean I have given up? No. Does that mean I have lost the will to live? NO. All it means is I am ready to go when God calls me, but not one minute before that. I do not fear death, I just want to delay it as long as possible.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal –

November 24, 2006

Really, slept in today, it was after 9:00 when I got up. I can’t remember when was the last time I did that. Yesterday was a pretty good day, felt good for most of the day and even got in my 5 hours of nap time, that is combined between morning and afternoon naps. Considering the amount of sleep I get, I always still feel tired. Zero energy and very lethargic. Doctor tells me that is just a normal symtom of the heart failure.
Today, have already thrown up once and am continually on the verge of doing it again. Today is one of my zombie days, very heavy thick head. I think it is this sensation in my head that gets to my stomach. I have a constant ringing in my ears, it is actually more electronic buzzing sound. Some days louder than others, usually I can just ignor it and it doesn’t really bother me.

Vi’s good friend Tiina came over for the evening. Vi put her to work. They did an amazing job at painting flowers on to the glass of an old mirror we have. It is a big circular mirror, that over time has somehow develped a few blemishes. These small blemishes seem to be behind the glass. Remedy, use the mirror similiar to a painters canvas. In a very organized pattern paint flowers covering the blemishes. Really, looks good. It is the final decorative touch to the bedroom Vi has been redoing.

I started a second blog yesterday. Very frustrating, but I think I got it done. Frustrating for me but I am sure quite simple. I seem to be having more and more difficulty in grasping or understanding instructions. Oh, well.

I called it, a place to grieve. I realized while typing a couple of my last postings, how individual and personalized grieve is. I have found journalling to be a great comfort, a real benefit. Journalling, is not something everyone has the time to do or even wants to do on a regular basis. My thought is to provide a safe place in which in which anyone can tell their story. Let out or express their personal grief. This can certainly be done now, by leaving comments on the blogs of others. Leaving these comments so valued and treasured by the blogger, we are to some extent addressing the individual issues of the original writer. All of which are of so much benefit and appreciated by the blogger and please continue to leave them. However, is it really a forum for most commenters to address their own feelings or more to provide much needed support for the writer?

I don’t know, it is just an idea I had. Give everyone the chance to tell their own personal story of even just vent. I encourage all to give it a try, you may be surprised how much better you can feel by just writing down and getting out the feelings and emotions.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – A Place to Grieve

November 23, 2006

I have set up a separate blog. A place to Grieve. I am still trying to figure out the mechanics of how the 2 sites work.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Grief is Individual

November 22, 2006

Have been feeling well the past couple of days. Today isn’t starting off so good. I have the light headed almost dizzy feelings going on, which I know will shortly lead to nausea and likely the throwing up. On these days I typically spend a lot of time fighting the urge to throw up. Today, I am going to try it a little differently, I am not going to fight that urge and just go with it. Maybe by doing that it will clear my system a little sooner and things can get back to normal. Will see how this works.

I watched a cop show on TV last night. Three people standing side by side witnessed a crime. They were standing side by side so had to have seen exactly the same thing. Their statements to the police were essentially the same but not exactly the same. They were good honest people and were not trying in anyway to mislead the police. They just saw or remembered it slightly differently. This was most obvious in their descriptions of the bad guy. They were not physically in harms way so it wasn’t fear that affected their memory. Maybe it was shock or something, I don’t know.

Now, I know this was just a TV show and the whole thing was created in the minds of the writers of the show. But still, it made me realize a little more clearly, that each of us is an individual. Each of us sees the world slightly differently, from our own individual perspective. None of us see things or feel things in exactly the same way. How could we, we are each an unique individual with our own set of values, morals and feelings. What any two people share can be very very close but never exactly the same. It is like, each individual views life though a pair of eye glasses, with the glasses being tinted slightly differently based on our past life experiences. We are individuals unique from all others in at least some small way. No one else can see things or feel things EXACTLY the same way that we do.

Our feelings are our own and our reaction to those feeling is our own. This uniqueness of feelings must therefore extend over into our feelings of grief. Others can empathize, maybe having gone though or are even going through the same painful situation. Our feelings are personal and individualize so no one on this earth can ever really know EXACTLY how we are feeling.

Does this explain why people seemly react differently to a tragedy and grief? Maybe, don’t know. Does this explain why some are able to seemly move on more quickly? Maybe, don’t know. Does it mean if I am unable to deal with or seemly get over my grief as quickly as others, that I am not as strong or not as good a person. NO, that one I do know. As individuals we can internally process things at a different speed or level. Is one way better than the other? I don’t think so, it is just our individual way.

I do know from personal experience, that we can become bogged down and wallow in the grief. I believe this is the closest thing you will ever find to hell on earth. We are stuck in a place where there seems to be no end in sight for the pain. How do we ever get past that, again an individual thing. But we must work to get past it. I once heard the quote that seems to make so much sense to me. “One definition of insanity could be doing exactly the same thing, over and over again day after day and still being disappointed when the results are the same.”

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Strength of the Spouse

November 21, 2006

I can not imagine a worse position to be in than to be the spouse or family member of a dying person.

I marvel at Vi. She is a tower of strength, well being she is 5′ 2″ she doesn’t qualify as a tower but her strength is amazing. How she does all that she does is beyond me. The emotional load she carries every day, I think would cripple most people. But not Vi, she just keeps that pretty smile on her face and carries on.

OK, what is it Vi has to deal with even besides me. Both of her parents are sadly, in what are likely, the end stages of life. Her mother, Nellie, is either 81 or 82. Nellie has had a very hard life and suffered a heart attack about 2 years ago. It seems she has never quite recovered from that, or its lingering effects. Nellie also suffers a lot of back pain, is very unsteady on her feet and is pretty much bed ridden. She has expressed the same feelings of uselessness I have felt and understand. Nellie has lost almost all of her eye sight and is considered legally blind. She seems to have reached the point where, life, as she has it just isn’t worth the effort, the pain.

Vi’s father is in the very advanced stages of alzheihimer’s disease. His mind has been completely destroyed. He recognizes no one and lives in his own little world. His health is rapidly declining and it is accepted his time is very limited.

Pending death seems to be all around Vi. She is also a volunteer with hospice and palliative care. She meets with and tries to help or comfort those at the end stages of life. Out side, independant comments I have heard about her in this area are that she is a blessing to all she meets. But that came as no surprise to me.

Wow, her mother, her father, the people with palliative care and then there is me, a dying spouse. She has literally saved my life, dragging me to the hospital on times when I know I wouldn’t have gone. She is forced to sit by unable to do anything but comfort on my bad days. Watching my, seemly endless rounds of throwing up or sitting gasping for breath. She patiently waits while I sometimes struggle to find a word or to remember something. She faithfully reminds me to take the pills I would have forgotten. She steadies me, the times I am uncertain of my balance and may fall.

I can’t really imagine the pain and feeling of helplessness she must deal with daily, coming at her from seemly every direction.

When I moved to Thompson, I was just getting over a painful divorce. I was not looking for a new relationship and not even sure if I wanted one. I even said a little prayer, with wording something to the effect, that I felt I did not need a woman in my life and really wasn’t sure if at that point I even wanted one. But that if it was intended to be, may I be please guided to the “right” one. It was the very next day I met Vi.

I consider her to be a special gift from God, a little Angel sent to be with me. To have Vi in my life I am a lucky man and I know it. I tell her this often and call her my little Angel.

Vi, thank you for being you, thank you for being in my life. The world is a better place because you are here.