I've been sitting here all day waiting for today's essay to pop into my head. Usually it presents itself the night before while I am falling asleep. But I fell asleep quickly last night depriving my inner author of adequate time for cogitation.
I slept so soundly last night. It was one of those lovely, peaceful sleeps that are more often a part of my fantasy life than my reality. What a pleasant change to wake up refreshed. Perhaps my sleep center is not wired properly. My mother says the nurses applauded when I left the nursery because I stayed up all night long every night during my newborn stay. And I have had sleep issues, off and on, ever since.
So far the symptom management is going well. I am on a continuous pump of fentanyl (yes, it doesn't make me sleep or treat pain but we are using it for the cough). It is on a patient controlled anesthesia pump so I get a baseline amount and if a coughing fit starts, I can give myself a bolus. I took a shower today without having a coughing fit, which is a hopeful sign. Tomorrow Bill and I will take a walk and see how it goes. So far we have been able to avoid the nausea and vomiting side effects, but the itching is pretty severe. So that's the next item on the list of puzzles to solve.
Now that the edema has been treated, we are starting to wonder if the skin on my legs is tightening from the scleroderma. When I first developed the disease that skin was virtually unaffected. But suddenly, my thighs feel like they have turned to stone. What a greedy little disease.
The staff here is amazing. They spring into action at the first sign of a coughing fit and help me in every way possible. This is truly the most "caring" healthcare institution I have ever experienced. Surely hospice attracts a special type of person but I also think the shift in purpose from cure to care is essential in creating an environment where the patient's comfort is truly the central and unifying focal point. Perhaps it sounds like hyperbole but I feel like a child in the lap of a loving parent. I feel so completely and utterly at peace.