Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dancing with Irregularity

Dear Family and Friends,

Because I let Francis sleep until he naturally awakens, we're dancing with irregularity. After a 10 minute post-breakfast walk outside in the sun this morning, he slept for 2 1/2 hours. He slept that long again this afternoon after losing his lunch. But I did awaken him this evening when it got almost too late for supper. Food matters too.

The irregularity affects me too since, e.g. a mid-evening nap just a while ago, when Francis napped too, means I'm wider awake when I should be winding down. But no matter! His healing sleep is the important thing.

Now here's one advantage of taking rehab at HOME: he can sleep all he wants whenever he wants! As our good friend Lucy wrote last week: "Everything everyone has said about rehab is true, on both sides! Which makes decisions so difficult to make. I'm remembering Jill Bolte Taylor's comment in her book My Stroke of Insight, that she may have never recovered if she had been in rehab because of the fixed/rigid schedule, and that when she needed to sleep, she really needed to sleep."

Francis is STILL dealing with the side effects of his two narcotics (the pain patch and the PCA - subcutaneous infusion.) So, eager to utilize the non-drug approach to pain control which Dr. Blazier ordered, when Francis' TENS Unit arrived in the mail yesterday, I called VNA to see if their PT could come set it up for him. (TENS is an acronym for "Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation...defined by the American Physical Therapy Association as application of electrical current through the skin for pain control.")

He likes it. The electrodes sit in four movable pads velcroed to a wide waistband circling his lower waist, and holding them snugly against his skin. He likes their warmth and the tingling which distracts the brain from pain. If this works well enough, and as the benefits of radiation "kick in" more and more, we hope he'll need to press the "DOSE" button less and less. By the way, you should have seen the ease with which he rose from his chair so Amy, the PT, could put the TENS on his back!

If what three knowledgeable people told us is true, -- that about a week and a half after radiation ends, patients begin to feel much better, Francis may be able to join me in dropping by briefly at Portland Yoga Studio next Saturday for the 1 - 5 pm "Community and Healing" afternoon benefit. He wants to! With all the deep deep sleep he needs right now, it's hard to believe he'll rally that quickly. But, he reveled in going out for acupuncture yesterday! "Fern" said his color was better and his pulse was good!! Thin or not, looking like a star dressed with his Greek hat and London fog raincoat, his PCA slung in a case over his shoulder, he exclaimed, -- "It's good to do normal things!"


PS Thank you all again and again dear friends for your continued loving support of all kinds! It's difficult for me to be forced to express gratitude in this general way, or just with an email, when I would like to send individual cards of gratitude!

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