By Lois A. Troutman
Other setbacks included blood clots in his
legs, long use of Prednisone eventually made his legs
useless and he eventually had to use a walker. In
time, he lost the use of his legs. His blood counts
often were too low to endure the treatments. He,
also, had to have blood transfusions to boost his immune
system. His blood P-time constantly had to be checked for
the clotting factor.
It became necessary to have a medi-port implanted into
his chest so it would be easier for the nurses to take his
blood for testing and to infuse the intravenous therapies.
Caring for him became a full-time job for me and I put my
life on hold to do it. Yes, the word “caregiver” had
now entered my job description. There were days I
struggled just to hold on to my own sanity, let alone trying
to be the anchor for Ken that I needed to be. I kept
reminding myself of my motto, though, and kept running the
race. My faith in God certainly helped me to go
through all of the rough times that I had to face.
I acquired strength through the prayers of others, and
support of family and friends helped tremendously, too.
Try as I might, I sunk into another period of depression
after I had a hysterectomy in January of 2000. I
battled back from that with sheer will and determination.
I knew Ken was depending on me for the care that he needed
and I still managed to do it even though this was a very
difficult time for him and for me.
As the year 2001 began, Ken was having much more pain
than usual and he had bladder surgery. Through the
surgery it was determined that the cancer had spread to the
bladder. This surgery did not go well and many
complications ensued, including the need to have nephrostomy
tubes put into his back for the purpose of voiding his
urine. He eventually, also had to be catheterized.
Some physical therapy to strengthen his legs was
attempted, but that proved futile. Ken spent the
better part of two months in the hospital and on May 8,
2001, we brought him home with hospice care for what would
be the last two weeks of his life. This period
of time was so difficult, but I had been witnessing a slow
death over a period of about three years, and seeing what I
had to see and participate in as far as his care was
concerned was almost more than I could bear. But,
again I remembered my motto and continued the race.
The hospice team assigned to us for those two weeks was
like a team of angels sent by God to me. Their help
proved to be invaluable and I could not have coped without
them. My resolve at this time started to weaken
and I had to give up and put all of this in God’s hands and
accept the help that I needed because we now had to allow
Ken to give his life over to God.
On May 22, 2001, the hospice nurse had instructed me to
give him a “morphine cocktail” every hour that day. I
had to give it with an eye-dropper because he had lost his
ability to swallow and to take pills. All during this
day his bodily functions were ceasing and the “death rattle”
had begun. The time of his death was now imminent.
Family and friends kept a vigil at his bedside.
On May 23, 2001, at 4:15 am, my husband lost his valiant
struggle from this most devastating illness. I
actually got down by my bed and thanked God for ending his
suffering. Yes, the ordeal that left me
physically and emotionally drained was now over.