Quiet Days

Ellen is having quiet days generally.

One nice change we’ve seen since a week ago is Ellen being more active and alert and doing a bit (a bit) less sleeping and resting with eyes closed.  Perhaps this is because it’s now been a month since she’s had a chemo treatment.  She’s also doing a bit more talking but the sentences are rarely complete and the meaning not clear most of the time.  We’ve tried offering Ellen pen and paper to try writing to complete sentences but found she had the exact same difficulty as with speaking.  So instead we’re all getting better at asking yes/no questions when Ellen’s wanting something, e.g., “Is it something to eat or drink you want?  No.  Is it something like clothing or bed clothes?  No.  Is it something in the bathroom? Yes!”  All those years of 20 questions put to good use.  But its also clearly very frustrating for Ellen, so we try to keep the questions to a minimum.

Ellen needs someone close by at nearly all times, either in the room with her or maybe in Eric’s office next door.  When she makes a move to get up out of bed, it’s good for someone to spot her.  The last 4 or 5 times she’s been unable to get to her destination (unknown to us) and sinks down onto the floor, then manages slowly to get back in bed, asking for no help but usually accepting some eventually.  You won’t be surprised at the determination she’s showing.

Ellen continues eating and drinking in very small amounts.  This morning she enjoyed more bites than usual (4 instead of 1) of a melon from our own garden.  She’s chosen to take reduced amounts of her prescribed medications, maybe because of difficulty with getting them down and keeping them down.  When she doesn’t get the later meds, night-time sleep is interrupted, but usually she gets a long, good night’s sleep.

With hospice care came additional equipment and medications, mostly to have on hand for possible need later. Elizabeth, Ellen’s fabulous nurse, continues to come (as she has for months already under the palliative care program), but now is coming twice a week.  No home health aides are needed at this point, which I’m sure makes Ellen happy, as she much prefers care by her family and a few close friends, mostly midwives.

There’s a kind of peace and quiet that’s blessing this house in these days.  Lots of sitting and being.  Less doing and solving.

Here are some pictures of Ellen from years past, just for fun.

Ellen and Natalie many years ago...
Niece Natalie with Ellen many years ago…
Jesse, Ellen and Will at the bottom of the grand canyon.
Jesse, Ellen and Will at the bottom of the Grand Canyon (2014).
On a hike in Vermont
On a hike in Vermont (2012)

4 thoughts on “Quiet Days

  1. Debra Hunter

    Thank you for this Eric! I am so happy to hear about the (relative) alertness. And I love the pictures. Big hugs to you on your birthday; I hope that you were celebrated today. xoxoxoxo

  2. Dorian

    Yes, thank you, Eric, for the updates and the photos! I’m sure many of us who aren’t there think of all of you many times as we move through our days. It feels good to know what’s happening. And I love seeing the photos, too!

  3. Shelly

    Thank you for keeping us posted. I know it must be hard. Love the photos: I remember those bangs! 🙂

  4. Sean Hecht

    Eric,we’re thinking of you and Ellen and your family. Glad you both are surrounded by love. I think of her often from the days we were close neighbors in the late ’80s in Brooklyn. Please send her love from me and Rebecca (who never would have met if not for Ellen!).
    Sean and Rebecca

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