Hi everyone. Hope everyone had a great week but I have to admit, mine was not and I really did not think I was going to get this one in. Hospice continues to increase my pain level meds in the medicine pouch. They are doing a great job of trying to keep the pain levels at a manageable level. I am trying to do a better job of pushing the pain button every ten minutes. It being Christmas has increased the number of visitors we have seen.
I have become weaker and weaker as the time goes by. Recent simple tasks have became undoable. For example, I can not stand up by myself. I actually have to roll over on my side (another difficult task) let my legs flop off the side of the bed (not a painless proposition. It actually hurts just to let my legs flop to the side. Then I push up with my left arm onto a sitting position and with assistance stand up. But I need to have someone hold me or I will fall down again. I need support while standing, otherwise I'm back on the bed again. Yesterday I was struck with the fact that after finally standing, I had to use physical exertion just to keep my head up. What an amazing revelation, I had heard the phrase my whole life, keep your head up buddy, you can do it. Yesterday I had to use physical strength to accomplish this mighty feat. That was a very sobering thought.
I have taken a break while writing this post for the last half hour or so, and I think that I have told you before that the pain gets worse when I am sitting up. Well, it does get much worse and I can attest to that today.
Today my pain level is at the highest that I have ever felt it. It's a shooting pain starting at my lower back radiating around each side, and pulsating up my spine, to my ribs, and to just underneath my armpits. I've been very diligent in pressing the pain button every ten minutes, but still the pain persists and increases.
I had an increase in dosage yesterday, and just a few minutes ago we spoke with Hospice, and they are sending a nurse over today to increase the dose again. So you can see, Hospice is extremely interested in controlling pain. But they're having to battle back with more and more tools.
My concern right now is that I am laying down completely prone in a position that historically has relieved pain the most efficiently. If laying prone is unable to reduce this pain, then quite frankly, I'm scared. Because it hurts.
I've received several phone calls today, and I am very happy with them. Most are Christ followers, and some are on the edge, but not completely sure. This again has given me a wonderful opportunity to share Christ because I know where I am going. And even though the pain hurts, I know that in the end, I won't have any pain. I also know that the worst pain that I am feeling is nothing compared to what Christ felt as he trudged through the street bearing the cross on his back while being spit upon and shouted and struck at with a crown of thorns smashed on his head - a torture beyond anyone's belief.
Writer's note: From this point forward, the writer is Jim's third son, Chris, writing from his own perspective. Dad asked me to finish the post because it is too painful for him to finish.
As I've spent these past few days with my father, I'm reminded of his own father's funeral - the funeral of my grandfather. My dad's sister read from Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes, where it is written there is an appointed time for every event under heaven - a time to give birth and a time to die...a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance...my aunt invoked these verses in part because at the same time her own father was passing away, her new grandchild was coming into the world.
Similarly, I have reflected on this final season for my father, who you all know as Jim. My own son is expected to arrive next June. Apart from myself and my wife, only my father knows his name. My son will never meet my father on this plane, but he will know of him. I have taken to writing notes to my son while this experience is fresh in my mind. Perhaps he will find harmony with these notes in the future if he finds himself at an appointed time under heaven to care for me or my wife in similar fashion.
It has been difficult and painful to listen to my father tell others goodbye - probably for the last time - but at the same time I recognize how fortunate he is to have the opportunity to do so. I've read dad's posts on this website with pained pride. Even as he expresses fear of becoming a burden - which he obviously is not - he has managed to become useful to others in need whom he's never met. Your responses have been wonderful and uplifting. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the prayers and the well wishes. Thank you for the opportunity to share the perspective of a loved one, and may God continue to bless you all.