Within a few weeks of entering hospice care at our local VA hospital, Ronnie became increasingly difficult for him. He began to rely on his wheelchair more and more. When I came to visit, we went outside so he could smoke, and I pushed him part of the way. As he gained more weight from the lymphedema, pushing him became more difficult.
I’m not sure who made the arrangements, whether it was his social worker, a doctor, or a nurse, but before long Ronnie had a motorized wheelchair. It was such a blessing.
Yes. There were many good things that were part of Ronnie’s last months.
Life gradually gets more difficult for Ronnie. The lymphedema gradually gets worse, and MERSA sets in. The treatments for the infection are painful and gross. I can no longer take him on outings because his swollen bandaged feel no longer fit into shoes.
I found myself buying cigarettes for Uncle Ronnie, which was something I never thought I would do. However, since he had a short time to live, I felt it was important for him to be as happy as possible.
Through all of this Ronnie maintained his sense of humor, and his positive attitude. No matter how bad his day was physically, I never saw him have a bad day emotionally. What a man.
It began in his feet. Ronnie could no longer wear his cowboy boots. Then soon he needed larger shirts and jeans. I erroneously thought that he was probably just enjoying the food served to the veterans.
However, one day the doctor informed me that the increase in Ronnie’s size was due to lymphedema which is swelling due to damage to the lymph node system. News to me. I had never heard of lymphedema and had to to some research to learn how this was going to effect Ronnie. Before he passed away I was ordering shirts and pants for him in size 4X. Being this size was one of the things that made him miserable.