Pedal Another Mile

Bicycling, death, life after death.

Not much to update, but I'll type away anyway

Well, when palliative (aka terminal) sedation is effective, there's not much to talk about when it comes to updates on Billy Jo's condition. She has been unconscious all day, only trying to get up once. One word was spoken - "water". She took two swabs and refused any more.

Her "kiss reflex" (puckering up and kissing me if I put my lips on hers while she was out of it) was working 90% of the time last week. It's down to 10-20% now, but I guess that is to be expected.

The migraine I had been expecting all week finally hit me today. I took my meds and slept so hard I didn't even hear the nurses administer the 1:00pm meds. I woke up to friends staring at me :) 

After the visitors left I decided to get some work done. Got quite a bit done and that helped clear my mind a bit. Not much, mind you, but a little bit. Then I walked around the halls and chatted with Billy Jo's nurse for some time. She's been helpful - telling me to try and rest for the next few days. She said that Billy Jo still isn't showing signs of mottling and has good color, so I shouldn't obsess like I did last night - waking up every hour or so and checking her for breathing. The nurse said that I should take Dr. Orenic at his "don't hold me to it" word he gave me last week, as he is fairly accurate at it. That would mean somewhere between Tuesday and Friday. She told me to rest up because I'm going to need it.

She also wanted to warn me that since I am here 24/7, I should be prepared for the possibility of her passing while I'm in the bathroom or roaming the halls. She said many dying people wait until a loved one leaves the room and I shouldn't let it affect me. I have read this in books already and am prepared for the possibility. In fact, I tell her I'm leaving every time I do. I think she senses me here (and going) anyway, so telling her is a moot point.

I'm beginning to worry about another thing (as if all this isn't enough)... The longer she holds on, the harder (read: more expensive) it will be for her Florida family to get up here for the wake and memorial service. Christmas is getting damn close.

Speaking of Christmas, there's a small tree in the room here. I unplugged it. I try not to even look at it. I am in no fucking mood for the holidays. Since Billy Jo made her career change to being a 911 dispatcher, she worked most holidays anyway, so they never were too big of a deal for us. 

As it stands right now, Billy Jo's last Christmas alive had her pulling a 12-hour shift at work. The only saving grace was that at 7am on the 26th we were on a plane for New Orleans and had a great time while there.

That's another thing that people who don't "know" us may not have figured out, as I'm not sure I've mentioned it in past posts. Billy Jo was a 911 dispatcher for eight years. Her last day of work was 9/7/12, five days before she ended up in the hospital. She worked through chemo, radiation, surgeries, you name it. She loved her job and was great at it. So great that she was Illinois APCO's 2011 Dispatcher of the Year.

To have the constant stress and turmoil of a relentless disease trying to kill you at every turn for 17 years and still have the will and determination to take a job with that level of stress, just because you love to help people is, well... Billy Jo.