Since my last post, I have had many emails and notes to express concern over my husband’s continued stay in the hospital, forcing the cancellation of our European trip. No doubt you have heard about the TWO approaching hurricanes to Hawaii, and while Carl remains in the hospital, we are happy to just stay put since we assume the hospital has a backup generator in case we lose power. It is preferable to being in the high rise condo with no electricity and no running water or flushing toilets! (P.S. Our building does have two backup generators so that the elevators still run and the hallways are lit.)
Carl has continued to gain strength following Friday’s successful surgery, and is trying to walk the halls four or five times a day. He is up to five double laps down the halls once he is outside his room! As of yesterday, he has graduated to a clear liquid diet and enjoyed chicken broth, cranberry juice and lime jello. No longer just ice chips! And today he just had a popsicle — pure pleasure!
Some of you may know that Carl was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late January, after undergoing many tests. He remained positive about his diagnosis, deciding to move ahead with travel plans and other musical projects. “I’m just going to charge ahead as usual,” was his approach. And, as you know, we did quite a bit of traveling, to the Northwest to visit relatives and to go back to his roots in Port Angeles, WA. We also had a good visit with our son in California. We went a second time to Seattle for Peter Hallock’s funeral and Carl stayed behind to take care of his executor responsibilities. We also were able to attend the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians conference in Portland, OR as well as the national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Boston, MA.
On Sunday Carl’s doctors spoke to us at length about hospice, and on Monday Carl signed the paperwork with St. Francis Hospice to initiate hospice care upon discharge from the hospital, the date of which is not known yet. Basically we have agreed to a palliative rather than a curative approach to his cancer, which has now metastasized to his liver and stomach. The goal will be to make him comfortable to elicit the highest quality of life possible under the circumstances.
As it says on one website I found: It’s important to know that hospice does not mean giving up. Hospice is a change of focus to a different set of goals—comfort and quality of life. Comfort care includes physical therapy, spiritual and emotional support, companionship and even the granting of life-long wishes. Hospice gives the patient and their family the opportunity to enjoy life and celebrate the bonds and memories they share. We will begin hospice at home and move to another facility if we feel we cannot keep Carl comfortable at home.
Carl’s sister, Carol, will be arriving on Sunday, and our son, Stephen will be here on Aug 14.
Thank you all for your prayers, love and support as we make this next step of our journey. We would be grateful for your tributes to Carl in the comments section below, and know that they will be read and much appreciated.