The Peachfuzz Chronicles

August 14, 2011

So Nice To Be Loved

Filed under: Doris Update — by thepluckygastronome @ 12:33 pm

Today is my son’s 25th birthday. I am baking up a batch of his favorite blueberry muffins.

He doesn’t ask for much. But I know how happy it makes him. Even though I make these throughout the year, it is always special to have them piping hot out of the oven on his birthday and Christmas morning.

We’ll celebrate his birthday later today.  And I’ll put on a good face… and try not to cry.

Yesterday was a particularly rough day.  Not because of my cancer or chemo treatments.  I’ve been preoccupied with thoughts of my mother. It’s been a particularly trying week.

Marv and Doris on their honeymoon.

Mother’s first two sessions with the “Zamboni” went pretty well. Considering everything that is wrong with her, she went through the first dialysis pretty well.  Her third session did not go so well.  It seemed as though everything went wrong. She began coughing and could not catch her breath. Her blood pressure was like a roller coster. The battle went on into the night and Mother credits a nurse named Peter with bringing her back from the brink. The medical team began the full court press. Conrad, Dina and Chandra all cleared their schedules and ran to the hospital. Jim came home to be with me.  It was one of those “Boo-Hoo” kind of days where Twinkie stuck to me like glue.

After they stabilized Mother, we did the SKYPE thing. It did me a world of good to see her. I passed along the latest greetings that I’ve received via this blog and the messages of love I’ve gotten from her friends via email. “It’s so nice to be loved,” she replied.

Later that week, the three of us sibs had a SKYPE session over at Conrad’s. After running through the list of to-do’s that Mother had given us, we got to the subject of how much we were struggling. Just like we did with Daddy, we still didn’t think Mom was at that place where it was time to “let nature take its course.”  Mother was still telling us she was not ready to die.  We felt that each day, Mother was developing new medical complications that acted as a Catch-22 to treat her existing ones. How much punishment could she endure?  What was the tipping point?

It is though we are living the same story line that we did with our father’s death. Infection, renal failure, pulmonary edema…  We’ve seen this all before.  We know how the story ends.

One of the things that we had agreed on with Daddy was that when the end came, it would be what we called, the “DUH Moment.”  That would be the time when everything would fall into place and the decision to “let nature take its course” would make perfect sense.  There would be no doubts.  As long as we had doubts, we would take all medical measures.

Yesterday, Mother had her “DUH moment.”

She had gotten the results from a chest x-ray which showed bilateral pleural effusions. Conrad was with her when the news came during a post-midnight visit from her doctor. The recommendation came to move her to the ICU and have another surgery to insert a monitor of some sort or other.

“Wait,” asked Mother. “What exactly does this new procedure get me?”

The answer was to “prolong her life.”

And that was it.  Doris had just gotten to the proverbial “line in the sand” of her Advanced Directive. The “DUH Moment” had come.

I got a text from my brother at 8 in the morning. He said Mother was awake and I should call. My first thought was “Uh-Oh,” what was he doing at the hospital with Mother at 6 am? This was not going to be my regular 90-minute Saturday phone call where we talked about books, politics, gossip and life in general.

Mother told me about her decision. We talked an hour about her business affairs. I asked her what she wanted me to write about on this blog.  “Oh, just tell them that science failed me–just like it did for Daddy.” She seemed relieved with her decision.

We had a SKYPE session later in the afternoon with Dr. Peter Yarbrough (who was also one of Daddy’s doctors), to go over the expectations for palliative care. I remember Dr. Y had a great way of dealing with the difficult when we consulted with him on Daddy’s case.  He was just as professional, yet compassionate again yesterday. When asked how much time she felt she had left, Mother replied that she would like enough time left on earth to be able to say her goodbyes. Dr. Y said he couldn’t promise that all the family could get to Utah in time…  which was my cue to tell him that my health did not permit me to come to Utah–for several months.”

We do not know how much longer we have. It is estimated that it may take from days to weeks, depending on the way “nature takes its course.” Every effort will be taken to make sure Mother is comfortable. She asked to be taken off antibiotics, telemetry, and will be given pain and anxiety medications.  She’d like to stay the remainder of her life at the U. Hosp, but she may be moved to a hospice in Provo. We’ll know more tomorrow.

Those of you who know Mother wouldn’t be surprised that she’s already planning her funeral and has sent Dina over to make arrangements. The lady is nothing but organized.

So…  in the time we have left, I guess Mother wants to say her goodbyes. You can reach out in several ways. Post a comment and I’ll read it to her over the phone.

Same with email.  Or you can stop by the hospital if you’re in the neighborhood. I’ll keep you posted as best I can here.  Caveat: I have another chemo treatment on Wednesday and will be back in the rabbit hole by the weekend.

As Doris said, “It’s nice to be loved.”  We have felt your prayers on behalf of our family. We can’t begin to thank everyone for their kindness. We beg your continued prayers at this difficult time.



  1. We love you,Doris.You are some special human being.

    Thanks for all the years of love you gave to Marv.

    God be with you.

    Roz and Paul

    Comment by Paul Slovic — August 14, 2011 @ 7:30 pm |Reply

  2. Doris, Barbara phoned me up in Canada yesterday to tell me about your health. With tears in my eyes, I’m writing to tell you that I love you, and have loved that you’ve included me in your friendship circle. Shopping will never be the same again. My love to you.

    Bev Johansen

    Comment by Beverly Johansen — August 14, 2011 @ 10:43 pm |Reply

  3. Doris–the Judd gang are here to let you know how much we love you. We are so happy that we got to visit you a few weeks ago, to give you an “air hug” and to express to you our love and concern.

    We know that it is a difficult time for you and the family and our prayers are going out to you all. Is it strange that I find it a bit comforting knowing that a long visit with Marv is in your future? Or that you will be chatting with your sister, Joan? Hopefully it is not too self-indulgent to ask you to give her a big hug for me.

    We love you and thank you for being a rich part of our lives.

    Heather and Marty and kids

    Comment by Heather — August 15, 2011 @ 1:51 am |Reply

  4. Dear Doris and family,
    May all the good and funy memories that you have shared together keep you going through this time. May you laugh as well as grieve as you spend time with each other, through skype as well as in person.
    I know that there will be many prayers for you.
    Thank you for allowing me to get to know a little of you as a family!
    peace to you all

    Comment by Megan Lord — August 15, 2011 @ 3:37 am |Reply

  5. Echo, please let your mom know how very much Mike and I care for her. My prayers are with her that things go easy. May you all get to spend time together via skype and laugh together as you reminice.

    I know your heart aches that you can not physically be with your mom right now but Echo there is no doubt how very much you love your mom. Your mom knows you are holding each other in your hearts. My prayers are with you always along with my love

    Comment by Judy — August 15, 2011 @ 9:41 am |Reply

  6. Dear Echo and Aunt Doris,

    Dad has been keeping me posted and I have been following your blog. Both of you have enormous courage. I’m not sure I could get through all you both have gone through with such grace. Both of you are in my prayers and I wish you the best. Please keep me posted.

    Cousin Dan

    Comment by Dan Gunning — August 16, 2011 @ 12:28 am |Reply

  7. Doris,
    Although we have never met, I have loved you through our correspondence about our family connections. As a nurse, I know the transition is easy when you trust in the Lord and have loving family around you. In case I don’t get to write again. I’ll see you up yonder and say Hi to all of our relatives up there.
    My love and kisses to you,

    Comment by France Stenberg — August 18, 2011 @ 12:25 pm |Reply

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