Caretaking: Sleeping Issues

Many times the bedtime and sleeping challenges for the seriously ill develop slowly.  After my mother’s cancer was diagnosed and she  began chemo, she and Daddy continued to sleep in the same bed.  Everything was fine….for a while.

After the second month of chemo, Mother’s strength quickly began to give way.  She was finding it harder and harder to walk down the hall to their bedroom.  One day she walked down that hall for the last time, collapsing like a wet rag unable to get up.  Daddy called a family friend, a big man who picked her up like she was a baby and put her on the bed.  She was too weak to go any further.

After her hospital stay, she was somewhat stronger and could walk short distances.  However, because their bed was too low and too far away for her walking endurance, we (her daughters) decided that the ‘front bedroom’ was the best place for her to sleep at night.  Medicare provided a hospital bed, as well as a bedside toilet.  We did our best to make her new bedroom comfortable for her.  We bought an infant monitor and set it up so that Daddy could hear her if she needed something at night.

It made me sad that Mother and Daddy could no longer sleep together, but they didn’t protest.  I think they knew that life was no longer under their control.

The hospital bed was somewhat of a disappointment to me.  I guess I was expecting all the ‘bells and whistles’ with which the beds in the hospitals were equipped.  The noisy mattress was not comfortable at all and the head and foot was raised and lowered with a hand crank. ugh.  However, it did fit her needs because it needed to be high enough off the ground that she could get in and out easily.

This was how we handled the sleeping and bedtime issues.  If you, dear readers, have any suggestions that worked well in your family, please feel free to comment.

One of Life’s Hardest Moments-Burying a Son

As the age of 43 he was way too young to die, but he did.  We had his funeral in our church this morning.  The room was filled to capacity.  The service was officiated by his stepbrother who said, “I always figured that as a minister i would be presiding over the funerals of my brothers, but I never expected, never imagined that I would be doing it so soon.

The father of the man who passed away is a member of our church.  Seeing his broken heart broke my heart. He is walking down a very difficult path, one of life’s hardest, I believe.  There is nothing that can be said or done that will ease the pain. Nothing that can bring back his child. Nothing.

I know that this father’s faith in God is real and strong, and I learned during the funeral that the man who passed away had trusted Christ and is therefore, in heaven.  Time will pass and though the father will not ever get ‘over it, he will get through it’.

Father, as this father grieves for his Son, I am reminded of the grief you must have felt when your Son died.  Because you understand the depth of his sadness, give comfort to this father and the rest of the family.

Let’s Get Practical

Most of the writing I have done in this blog and what I will do has been emotional.  The reason being that terminal illness is very emotional.  Every emotion in the dictionary at some point comes to the surface ‘when the family has cancer’.  We can not get around it, or change it.  We must accept it and do our best to work through the sea of emotions that we struggle to control, lest we be controlled by them.

However, this morning it occurred to me that ‘when the family has cancer’ or some other terminal or serious illness, there are practical issues that must be addressed.  Sometimes these issues are small and minor. Sometimes they are significant.  Sleeping issues. Bathing issues.  Feeding issues. Appetite issues. Clothing issues. Toileting issues. Mobility issues.

My plan is to discuss one category of issues at a time.  Please feel free to offer suggestions.  Perhaps your family has faced the same challenges and you have answers that worked for your situation.  We would like to know about it.  I know there are families who are facing serious situations even as I write this.  If you have questions, feel free to ask.  Let’s make this time free and open and practical.

Father, I pray for families who even right now whose world has been turned upside down by cancer or other illness.  I pray that You will give them comfort, peace and grace equal to the moment.  I pray that You will grant them support through friends and family, that you will meet their physical needs and their emotional needs.  Father, be the Healer, Counselor, and Comfortor for those families.  In Jesus’ name. Amen

Rayford: A True Servant of Our King

He seems to be one of those ‘ageless’ people.  You know.  He never seems to get older.  He looks and acts exactly the same as he did when I first met him almost 15 years ago, full of life, energy, and optimism  There are many things that can be shared about Rayford, but I choose to sum up this man and his life as being one of service to God.

A few days ago I found out that Rayford has lung cancer.  During a conversation with his wife i learned more details about his illness.  His cancer, named lung adenocarcinoma is in his right lung. There are many tests still to be run and much information they still do not have. At this point no decisions have yet been made regarding treatment.

I have been very impressed with how quickly these tests are being done.  When I commented on that observation to Rayford’s wife, she responded with, “Well, it’s because we’ve been ‘needling’ them.”  Their daughter has come home for a few days and has also done her share of ‘needling’.

When it comes to this type of health care, a few comments like, “Is there any reason why we can’t get that test done this week?” is always a good thing.  Most of the time when cancer is involved, being slow is not helpful for the patient.  That’s my opinion, anyway.  It pays to be proactive, not passive in these situations.

Please pray for Rayford, his wife, and their only daughter.  Their only granddaughter is getting married soon.  Pray that they will be able to attend.  Pray for God’s wisdom, strength, grace and healing.

Dubbie Rests In The Father’s Arms

This gentle giant’s spirit peacefully left his body yesterday and went to begin eternity with the Father. Thank you, readers, for your prayers for him and his family.  Please continue to pray for his family through weekend and on into next week as they bury and have the memorial service for their precious Dubbie.

Foster Outdoor Products Commercial

We have just put online a new website for outdoor products my husband is making. As a former boyscout, he has always had an interest in camping and survival gear. He developed a compact backpacking stove which uses alcohol for fuel and a hobo/tin can stove. We have sold several of these on ebay and decided to go ‘big time’ and market them on the web.

The backpacking stove is very small and easy to use. It would make a great gift for someone who loves to go hiking and camping, or for a soldier who is deployed.

He has also made routed redwood signs for years and we decided to add signs to our list of products. Please log on to his website and take a look around. It is definitely a work in progress, and there will be more products to come later, but I think you will find what we have to be interesting. Then if you are so inclined, please share his web address with friends and family!

Precious Lord, Take His Hand

I have written about Dubbie in previous posts. He is part of my family by marriage and by love. His only daughter is married to my husband’s cousin, and he is one of the kindest gentlest people I have ever known. Just after the wedding of one of his granddaughters last July, he became ill and has never recovered. He has been in a nursing home since then.

On May 31, Dubbie went to sleep and has not awakened. His lungs have been filling with fluid and his temperature has risen. He has had nothing to eat or drink since then and is gradually losing his grip on this life so that he can walk victoriously into the next.

His daughter, Joyce has written beautifully about this season in their lives and in the life of her father, Dubbie in her blog,

Because I feel in my heart that some of you, my readers, may also be facing the loss of a dearly loved family member, I want to copy into this post something that she has written. It is a prayer that in some form many of us have prayed as we have stood by the bed of someone we love, opening our hands and releasing them to go join our Heavenly Father.

Precious Lord, take his hand. Lead him on. Let him stand.
He is tired. He is weak. He is worn.
Through the storm, through the night, lead him on to the light.
Precious Lord, take his hand, lead him home.

When his way grows drear, precious Lord linger near.
When his life is almost gone, Hear his cry, hear his call, Hold his hand lest he fall:
Precious Lord, take his hand, lead him home.
When the darkness appears
And the night draws near,
And the day is past and gone,
At the river he stands,
Guide his feet, hold his hand, precious Lord, take his hand, lead him home