Living Longer

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Easter 2013

 

Sunday 8 Oct 2017

It has been a tough week for Julie.  She has been having a harder time getting out of bed, and her appetite is completely gone, and she is very tired.  She has been needing oxygen all the time, and occasionally she says it is hard to breath.  Nine days ago her chest X-ray showed some fluid accumulating in her chest outside the lungs, and possibly a mild pneumonia.  She was put on antibiotics and we stopped giving her IV fluids.  At her appointment last Monday, it was decided to give her a blood transfusion, which we did on Tuesday.  On Wednesday we starting giving her full time IV nutrition.  Thursday she had a CT scan that showed increasing fluid in her chest, so that was drained, about 2 liters total.  Her oxygen saturation showed a big improvement and no more complaints about breathing, at least for a day or two.  Still, she continued to feel more “sick” and “bad”.  She was off antibiotics Friday and yesterday.

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I would do anything for this look

Yesterday she stayed in bed until about 5 PM.  After a shower, some visitors, and a drive, we sat in the living room together with the children until bedtime.   We sent the kids off to bed, and then when I helped her get out of her chair I noticed she felt too warm, and she had a fever of 101.  Because of everything that is going on, and with her port accessed, she is at increased risk of infection.  So we went to the ER at about 11 PM.  After her tests and X-ray, we found that she had pneumonia.  She recieved antibiotics and we arrived home at about 3 AM.  Then she couldn’t sleep…

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Loving creme brûlée birthday

Julie is trying so hard to hang on.  Even through the pain and anguish she doesn’t want it to end.  She has said a few things that really got my attention.  Tuesday, as we were making our way to the car after her blood transfusion, she broke down and sobbed, “I just thought it would be easier, living longer.”

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Hiking Arches

Early this morning as we were coming home from the ER she said to me, “I am ruining your life.”  I told her to never say that.  I hope she never feels that.  I hope we can make her always feel precious and cherished, and not a bother in any way.  She is always extremely kind, never cross or annoyed.  Always so patient with us.  She tells me all the time, “Thank you” and “I love you” in tones that are so earnest and so real and kind that printed word can’t really describe.

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Mother and Daughter

Just a few hours ago we had spent some more time talking with the children about how Julie is doing, and trying to help them navigate this difficult time.  Then they left to go get ready for church.  Christopher always looks so brave and hopeful.  They are all very compassionate with there mother, but Christopher does not cry.  Julie said to me, “Watch out for Christopher.  He is so tender, and you won’t know it, because he won’t show when he is crying.”  I thought, “somethings only a mother knows, what am I going to do without her.”

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Goblin Valley

Sometime earlier this morning, around 4 or 5 AM, she was very anxious and concerned about dying.  She asked me if after she died if she would still be asleep, or if she would be awake in the spirit world.  We talked about the reasons we believed she would be awake, and happy.  I was worried about what I might do next if she continued to get worse and no longer able to communicate her wishes.  She does not want another hospital stay, and we have decided never to do anything “heroic” like CPR.  She has given me authority to make decisions for her in that situation, still I ask occasionally what her desires are.  Knowing that she suffers, and knowing that to alleviate suffering, more and more pain medication may be necessary, which will also hasten death, I asked her again, “What do you want me to do if you get worse?”  With a knowing and sorrowful expression, she looked at me and cried, “I just wanted to live, so bad!”

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Always a captivating out loud reader

4 thoughts on “Living Longer

  1. Brad and Julie,

    I am at a loss to tell you how much your words mean, even though I cry each time I read them. I wish I could convey to Julie how much I love her and how much she means to me, even though we don’t see each other often. God blessed me that our paths crossed when they did. One of the jobs I have now is as a clinical ethicist and so often when we began looking at conflicts surrounding such intimate decisions, it’s easy to get caught up in the medical side of the equation, even though I try to be neutral. Julie reminds me these are decisions about real people. I have such a strong testimony that Heavenly Father loves us, even if things don’t make sense at the moment. I love you dear friend and pray for you and all those you love.

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  2. Brad,

    Years ago, I was Julie’s visiting teacher. I remember driving and feeling a strong impression that I should go and buy her a dozen balloons. I had no idea why and thought I must be going crazy. But the feeling remained, so I went and bought her the balloons. When I came to the house to deliver them, she seemed very sad. She was surprised by the balloons and it seemed to make her happy. She said she had never received a dozen balloons – or probably in the middle of the day, out of the blue. I will never forget that. I don’t know if she remembers since it was probably twenty years ago or more. I would like to send her balloons again –

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  3. My heart is breaking for all of you. You are all in my prayers daily. Julie is an amazing woman who has blessed so many lives. She is continuing to bless us all with her wonderful example. So grateful for her sweet friendship. Please give her a gentle hug from me.

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  4. Brad,
    I just read this posting. Thank you for sharing some of the most intimate details of your life about you and my sweet sister. I feel your compassion, the aching in your heart, your reaching for solace, the sense of urgency in your words, and feel the love you have for her. I am grateful for a brother-in-law like you and for your undeviating devotion to your eternal companion and sweetheart. Julie is a “celestial woman”. She is, has, and always will be an inspiration to me, just like she has been to countless others in her life. Please whisper to her that “I love her”.

    Our Heavenly Father is mindful of you both and this tremendous trial you are valiantly facing together. I know that the atonement is real and that through Jesus Christ all pain and suffering will be alleviated. I know that you both know that too, because I have felt the spirit so many many times while around you. I am grateful for that this evening.

    It was wonderful to see the pictures of Julie and the kids when they were smaller. They look the same today, only in grown-up bodies. I love the fullness in Julies face and the twinkling in your eyes when she looks at you. The picture tells a story of love and happiness, which you both share, and when I look at that picture I can feel it too. It is wonderful. It is eternal. It will last. It will remain through endless time.

    I know you would give all that you have if she could just be pain free, even for a brief few minutes. The Plan of Happiness will allow it to be all like that again. Faith is the principle we cling to; It is my hope that we will see her dancing ,singing, laughing, and enjoying family again.

    Tell her I do know that life on the other side of the veil is happy and beautiful too. We feel and sometimes see evidence of that in the temple while serving here in Cebu. In the spirit world our families are there for us; they are happy, loving and caring. I love this part of the Gospel.

    I love you so much Brad. Thank you for being you. Thank you for the countless sleepness nights you have shared with Julie. I know that you will continue to bless her with the riches of life that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

    I am grateful for your undeviating love and companionship to my little sister.

    God Bless you, your family, and our family.

    -dan

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