Saturday, January 1, 2011
A New Years Day
Had the last tough day. It is the beginning of the new year and Don has drifted into a coma. Around 2 in the afternoon of New Years Eve the hallucinations got the better of him and he could not catch his breath. He began with agonal breathing and became more and more agitated. For a little over an hour he was leaning over my shoulder with the oxygen on 8 while he gasped for air. Heavy doses of liquid morphine and Thorazine eventually calmed his fears but left him expended. That hour of terror drove what was left of the essential Donness out of him. We saw in the new year with the arrival of lorazepam from the on call nurse. Would have been nice if we had it earlier as it was prescribed but never delivered. The outcome was not going to be altered perceptibly but it left us all with a devastating memory of suffering. He still had some core strength, I could feel it with the last transfer, weak and thready but still present.
That core ebbed away as the sun passed to the west and when the end came we were alone. The others were off resting or smoking and one last deep gasp ended my friends ordeal. I will think of Don often in the future but I will try to forget these last few days.