On Sunday morning we made the decision to let a few close friends know that Kevin was failing and fast. We contacted the doctor, and I also called the pharmacy to ensure we had adequate anti-anxiety medication on hand. It had been a trying night and all of us were quite spent.
Fortunately both our GP and the visiting nurse arrived at the same time. After a quick assessment and some discussion with the visiting nurse, our GP wanted to speak with me upstairs and alone. She wanted to confirm what I already knew – that my husband was going downhill far faster than anyone could have anticipated. The GP asked me what was more important to me and the family, to have Kevin around a bit longer or to aggressively manage his pain with medication which could shorten his remaining time. She asked although she knew the answer was a no brainer – his pain was significant and it was being transferred onto everyone in the room. We were all in agony with him.
The decision was made to increase the morphine being administered through his pain pump as well as to allow him to self dose or bolus every 15 minutes versus every half hour. The visiting nurse also provided me with a port to use to administer the anti-anxiety medication rather than injecting him. We had been giving him anti-anxiety medication sublingually however, the lymph nodes had swollen so significantly in his neck that he couldn’t swallow and was quite fearful of choking. The doctor and the nurse stayed for almost an hour getting him comfortable. The nurse sent out my son to purchase some mouth care products to ensure that Kevin’s tongue, lips, roof of his mouth and inside his cheeks remained moist. I can still see his beautiful blue eyes staring hopelessly at the ceiling while I swabbed his mouth.
The doctor left around 2 pm or so advising me that we were likely looking at 24 to 36 hours at best, if things were merciful. Family had arrived and were able to spend a few minutes in his company even though he was now non-communicative; it was evident that he could still hear what was being said. We filled that room with so much love and I hope he felt it and still does.