Sleep Talking

Pancreatitis was the beginning of the avalanche. Up until then, we had both believed that Jeff’s health would improve. A little weight loss, a bit of exercise, a healthier eating plan should have, could have, might have worked. But, we never got around to it.

And, I do mean ‘we.’ I nagged occasionally, but I enjoyed the wonderful meals Jeff created. I enjoyed going out to dinner, and breakfast and lunch on the weekends. We’d get on track, get off track, restart. All the while, my weight was going up, too.

After Pancreatitis, everything changed. Because, at that point, the trouble Jeff was in became permanent. I nagged a lot more, about everything. Medications, money, meals, sales and purchases for the store. But I didn’t take my own advice, either.  

Pancreatitis takes the body on a downward journey. Everything you do can help, and everything you do could just not matter, either. Jeff never gave up hope. He simply accepted his new reality and went on with his life. I didn’t fare so well in that department. I’d had hope, then was left with nothing to cling to.

The pain and balancing pain medications were a losing battle, as well. Some caused auditory hallucinations – not creepy voices, but the continual sound of a low playing radio just outside your reach. They occasionally caused situational hallucinations.

Following one particular subsequent pain-related hospital stay, the doctors added two more medications to his regime. Methadone and morphine were prescribed for continual long-term use. As I’ve mentioned earlier, Jeff could fall asleep anywhere. So, the added drugs only increased that possibility.

Even pre-opiates, though, Jeff and I had some interesting conversations, some serious confusion and one horribly harrowing incident which led me to always double check if I was speaking with an awake or sleeping-talking Jeff.

Quote for the Week:

2018 03 13 just because you can see through the snow jakorte 

My Dogs Are Barkin’

While Nannee was staying with us, Jeff was attempting to sort out his medical problems, as well.

In December 2003, his feet became too painful to walk on and moved from sometimes-pain to constant-pain. Original suggestions of taking time off for pain management and keeping his legs raised for two weeks straight had not helped.

By February 2004, Jeff was still off work and having to use his short-term then long-term disability benefit. The diagnosis of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy sparked a series of long trials attempting to ease the constant 7-8 pain rating on a scale of 1-10. On really bad days, when the pain jumped to a 10 or 11, Jeff used his sense of humor remained. He’d explain to me, his doctor, a nurse, anyone who really needed to know why he was moving so slow, “My dog’s are really barkin’!'”

In addition to his Type II Diabetes Mellitus and Venostasis (bursting blood vessels), the Neuropathy, Hypertension, pitting Edema, skin ulcers and possible Sleep Apnea were added to his diagnoses, as well. Jeff’s medication list began to grow: Percodan, Neurontin, Elavil, Lasix, Lipitor, Humalog Lantus insulin, Zestoretic, Lopid, Glucophage, Celexa and a multivitamin.

That was in 2004. By the time Jeff passed away 2.5 years later, the number of drugs he needed to take had grown to over 20 daily, with many taken multiple times a day. Those cute little regular daily pill containers were uselessly too small, and only had compartments for morning, noon and night. Jeff creatively converted two tackle trays into his medication monitor. He’d fill them up once a week and it would take him about an hour.

I do believe having Nannee with us was more of a blessing for us than for her. Up until then, Jeff had been spending his days mostly alone, trying to handle the pain. Weekdays, we spent about 4 awake hours a day together – one in the morning and three at night. Weekends, though, we were inseparable, much like our 24 hours a day for two days courtship.

On one of those weekends, Jeff casually suggested we stop by a local farm where a new litter of Jack Russell puppies had been born. I reminded him we had a cat. He said we were just going to look, because they weren’t ready to leave their mother, yet. The only reason I agreed was that I knew there was no possibility we’d be taking one home.

My only previous puppy litter experience was gained in Tennessee. A friend’s dog had gotten out in a storm and had a clandestine canine affair. The adorable yelping squirmers were contained in a makeshift arena for adoption. It was entirely up to you whether you wanted to lean in and pet them, or not. With no intention of adding a dog to my life, I simply leaned in to scratch a few ears… and came up with Cab.

Quote for the Week:

2017 07 17 Let_s Just Look jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Why Do We Love Puppies: Scientifcally? Oxytocin

Neuropathies: There’s More Than One

If You’re Diabetic: Pay Attention!