Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Little Zombie Jazz From The Not So Grimm Reaper

There is an art to helping a person to die well. I think it is one of my few actual skills. I liken it to composing jazz. One takes the underlying structures,
instruments and the tones they create with the music, medicines for the person and
then blend an escape. Today I am weaving a tapestry of morphine and Ondansetron with Gabapentin and Oxycodone to enable Don to be pain free yet still converse with his visitors.
Trying to find the right smells and textures for a person to eat when they have no appetite or when the yeasts and fungi have clouded the palette is another challenge. Tonight I am going to make a roast with potatoes and English peas but I suspect that Don will probably go for another cup’o noodles. Lots of sodium and msg but it is something he can taste and still swallow comfortably.
The texture of food is another aspect of the composition that matters more as taste buds fail and the sense of smell fades. The other measure, the minor counter balance is to know when not to force food. You are not going to build up their strength that way and you may do more harm both by guilt and by too much gas.
We are fighting the swelling of ankles today striking a balance between elevating feet and sitting up to be alert. Trying to walk a bit each day to keep the joints supple and knowing when that walk causes more distress than relief.
It is an arrangement I have rewritten many times but it never seems to get any easier to hear the tune played or to pay the piper.

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