January 7, 2005
Summary for the Year 2004
1) Bob's health continues in the hospice care program, with perceptible downs from week to week. He developed a urinary infection and was on antibiotics for a week, has a new bed sore on his heel, and eats a more limited diet of juices and soft foods. His buttocks sore is controlled for now. Recently in a conversation when we talked about dying he said he thought he and I would probably die soon, but he didn’t want to die and leave Peter, Paul, and me.
2) Through the early winter months I cleaned closets, a satisfying occupation for me, and continued working with Antionette on the living room redecoration. I also began lunch meetings with Diann Glicklick, a satisfactory pairing that has endured well through the year. Another luncheon companion added was Jeannie, a woman from Saint Monica’s parish. We have parked near each other at Sunday Mass, and chatted off and on. She and I discovered connections with Marquette and UWM, and we seem to have many other interests as well.
3) In March Rey quit to go back to Chicago, and I scrambled for awhile trying to find a new caregiver for Bob. I finally settled on Mark from the Hospice program, and he was o.k. so far as Bob's care was concerned, but didn't do all the extra tasks Rey had. Bob's general health and dementia continue to decline, and I try to keep things going though it takes all my determination sometimes. It is so touching to see him trying hard to be a good patient, though mostly he just wants to lie there alone half asleep without anyone bothering him. So often I just want to hug him and love him.
4) Jeanne went to the hospital when she developed Septicemia, then came home with an outgoing program for keeping her antibiotic going. In her usual fashion her hospital visits developed into a regular party atmosphere, and she even missed it when the agenda had finished.
5) Bob's health is very poor, and it was very poignant to try to help him dye some Easter eggs, one of his always-favorite activities. He has almost completely lost control of his hands, so we worked on it together. He has been in the hospice about six months now, and I was reassured that he would definitely stay here considering the state of his health now. There seems to be a definite feel from the nurses that things are approaching the end now. How I love him!
6) Bob slept away his life about 11:00 in the night on May 8. My dealing with that is told in earlier pages here, including his funeral on May 12. It was at once a searing time for me, which became bearable because of the beautiful people and the satisfying ceremony that helped me through it. I still relive those days over and over, and will remember them always!
7) For the next two months there were hard days at times, but visits with friends, work in the flower beds, and finishing up my living room were distractions that helped. I discovered that the thing I missed most was having Bob to talk to, even though in the last few months that was minimal. But his being there for me to talk to was still there.
8) In the late summer I began the search for a new car, finally settling on a 2005 Toyota Camry in a dark blue. I left my green Chrysler with a few regrets, but rather quickly learned to drive and enjoy my new car. What a delight!
9) Being alone without having to care for Bob, I made three trips around the country to family members. First there was the reunion in Denver in June, where I stayed at Janice and Clyde's home for three days, and· had a wonderful time getting to see her family again as well as Sam and his wife. In early October I went to Paul's “new” house, after many months and even years of depending on photographs. It was even prettier than I had imagined, ending in a trip to LL. Bean. On Thanksgiving there was a trip to Philadelphia for a visit with Peter and his family, staying for five days up in my little pink tower at the top of their house. Those memories from all three visits did much to make up for the years of not being able to travel, and most of all to really know my family again.
10) In late August I had cataract surgery on my left eye, at the urging of Dr. Shafrin and Paul as well. At first the recovery was a long drawn out hassle, but when finally I was well my living room quickly became full of books by every chair. I could read easily again!
11) The year culminated in a happy traditional Christmas with Paul here for nine days, and much time spent in working on the tombstones for the graves. Paul’s enthusiasm and expertise made that a satisfying time, rather than a sorrowful one. There's no one more dear to me as he is. In summary, the first half of the year was full of hard times and one of the major sorrows of my life with Bob’s death. As the year went along I developed many things that had meaning for my changed life, a way to keep going and enjoy the new beginnings.