Sunday, June 9, 2013

update (from my bed)

I have written before about the failures of language in attempts to articulate my love for James. It is also seems impossible to describe these intense emotional experiences of living on the edge of life and death. I have written about the endlessness of this waiting process, and the daunting uncertainties about the future. I have written about the overwhelming feelings of sadness and fear; a strange grieving process and a letting go, I suppose. I aim for catharsis in my writings, but I often feel short of words. It is not enough. It doesn't change the circumstance. There is always that sense of helplessness. I know that I need to focus on that which is within my control, but it doesn't come easily to me. I still feel lost in the unknowns. 

We no longer have an ebb and flow to our days. The days are structured by numbers that determine movement and change. It is as though James has become an object in a world of medicalization. I find some comforts in knowing the details of his medical status, but it can also be very painful. I am keenly aware of the extent of his illness. This will not be an easy or simple path to recovery and health. 

James' medical status is largely the same. There remain some serious concerns. We hope for improvement in the coming days, but James' complications are complex and on-going. The team can offer supportive care in all regards, but treatment options are limited to some extent. James has developed a very high tolerance to a lot of the analgesic and sedative medications. This creates a barrier to treatment and an additional layer of complication in finding the right balance and combination of medications for James' comfort and pain. There are also a lot of contradictions to consider, and James' kidney and liver status create another challenge in preventing further deterioration and decline.

The most recent development is possible sepsis. James developed a high fever overnight along with a spike in his white blood cell count. We are still waiting for blood and urine cultures to confirm this possible infection. He also had another bronchoscopy this afternoon to collect further cultures from his lungs (in the event that there is another source of infection). 

Unfortunately, I have been in bed for most of the afternoon in escape from light and sound. I suspect this migraine is a response to the stress of the morning at the hospital (and an accumulation of the last week of distress). James was awake for the first time in days (despite very high levels of sedation), but his presentation was of pain and discomfort. It is difficult to differentiate between moments of delirium, and moments of definite lucidity. He pleads with me, wide-eyed, in desperation and pain, and then disappears into an unresponsive state of being, eyes glazed-over, and grasping aimlessly into space.

I am fortunate that there are also endearing gestures of sweetness. James recognizes the sound of my voice, and a beautiful smile will make an appearance. My heart aches as James reaches out for me, squeezes my hand, and asks for kisses. I find a lot of reassurance in these moments. I miss these moments in his days of deep sedation. I need these daily reminders that James is still present. James is still here. James will continue to be here.


  1. Huge hugs for you and James.This is your day for rest.James needs you healthy.Thoughts and prayers xoxoDonna

  2. Adena, you and James are in our prayers and many of our friends who dont know you, but are following your blog. You have a huge support group out there, bigger than you know. We will continue to pray that God may bring healing to James, and strength for you. Brian & Ann Martin

  3. Adena , I have been following your blog for moths now and have never commented trying to find words that might give you some form of COMFORT and still words don't come easily . You and James have a special thing going on that few ever find; please celebrate every day , as I know that you have we send our Prayers and our Love for a wonderful recovery for James and Many Many happy years in the future , today is hard I know and it is very hard Give it to GOD he will in his wisdom take care of you both . my grammie used to tell me the good lord never gives us more than we can handle at any one time , he see's you as very strong for he puts a lot on your plate Take very good care of yourself Adena so James can get extra strength from you Take care Sweet one hugs to you both ; Surrounded in the arms of Jesus ! Barbara Beers NB Canada

  4. for you my Sweet, because I know how you long for your garden - your place of peace, of rest, of warmth and memories to wrap you in comfort. A place where you can work a spade, pull a weed and sip a tea, but most of all - a place where you can (as the Psalmist says) "be still, and know..."

  5. Oh Adena,I wish I knew the right words to help and comfort you!You and James are always in my prayers and my thoughts daily.I wish only the best for you,I wish I was there to try to comfort you and to give you a hug and to tell you that you are a very strong person and God will help.Sometimes we don't know why but trust in Him and he will lead you through these trying times.Love June