Today Amy didn't drink much and only ate two bites of food. She just couldn't seem to coax her throat to swallow today. At 9 pm tonight, she is breathing at 42 respirations per minute and her heart rate is about 130. She's agitated and not speaking, though she was jabbering a lot earlier today, even just 2 hours ago. The worst is, she seems like she wants something but can't communicate what it is.
Today Amy ate a bit more today and drank nearly a liter of water and tea. She was a bit more understandable and lucid tonight, but then suddenly has become verbally unresponsive and is snoring comfortably in bed. She requested a lot of different foods today: grapes, potatoes, corn chips, granola, icecream, raisin bread, cheese, etc. However, granola is the only thing that she'll eat more than 2 bites. She's hard to feed, since she can't swallow well. I think these birds (rufous-collared sparrows) that I found in our blackberry bush in our front yard this morning would be easier to get food into!
Today Amy woke up a bit more conversant than usual, but still quite confused most of the time and her speech is so slurred she is hard to understand. She even commented on her own speech. "I sound like a frog!"
The Reuters, former hospice nurses-turned missionaries, came and sat with her for a couple of hours around midday and also got her a sippy cup from their stash as grandparents to help her drink without spilling on herself. She ate two bites of waffle at breakfast and a small portion of Aunt Edith's Apple Cobbler (we don't know who Aunt Edith is either) for lunch. She doesn't seem to be in much pain, except she complains of her neck being sore whenever we move her. During lunch another missionary, Sue Querfeld, came and sat with her so the rest of us could eat together as a family. Thanks to all three of you for your help!
Today, my devotional time was on Deuteronomy 4. (I'm going through Numbers and Deuteronomy right now) Verses 9 and 10 say, "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." I think one of the most encouraging things that people have written me that they are praying for is for our kids to not lose their faith through this time. This isn't an easy thing to explain to the kids. Yes, I know God has a reason, but I don't know what it is yet, and can't tell my kids with confidence what it is. Sure, someone might become a Christian because of this, or someone else might avoid some future suffering that they don't even know looms ahead, but I don't know what it is. So please keep praying that my kids and I don't let the things we've seen God do before this trial 'slip from our hearts as long as we live.'
Amy's had a rough day. She is getting dehydrated and not eating well. She's losing her ability to swallow and can no longer see, which makes eating that much more difficult. When we try to sit her up she often seizes or passes out. 'Why don't you put in an IV?' some of you might be asking. Before Amy was delirious she clearly stated she'd want an IV if she was nauseated and couldn't keep from vomiting, but not if she was no longer lucid or comatose. Just because we can prolong her life doesn't mean that we should. What good would putting in an IV bring? But when we ask questions like that, we have to ask ourselves, 'What good does hovering over her throughout the day encouraging water, mangos, cereal, bread with honey, and apple pie bring?' Somehow that seems right, so we continue to encourage nibbles of those things, though we recognize that we are really doing those things for ourselves not for her.
It is getting hard for Amy to stand at all, even for just a few seconds at a time, which is complicating taking care of her. You can imagine the difficulties that causes. She's not eating much and her lucid moments are pretty uncommon. Sarah came to the conclusion that she doesn't want to be a hospice nurse and announced it publicly. On the positive side of things, I had the best night's sleep in a week, on a mattress on the floor next to our bed. I realized that I need to put an extra blanket or at least socks on her at night as her feet were pretty cool by morning without her warm husband next to her.
Amy hasn't been able to eat at the dinner table for a couple of days, but since she was doing a bit better yesterday afternoon, we decided to have her try sitting at the table with the family again. It didn't work: She kept reaching for things (she can't see hardly anything), dragging her hands through her food and would have knocked many things on the floor if it were not for Mia's cat-like reflexes. So it looks like were done with sitting at the table unless she rebounds markedly.
Last night she was hallucinating and yelling and hitting me again. When I say 'hitting me', she's not clenching a fist and punching me, but her arms flail a lot during the night and she smacks me in the face over and over. At 1 am I finally gave up on hoping that she was almost asleep and would stop soon and I moved to a camping mattress on the floor. She continued to talk and yell, but I could sleep a bit better through her yelling than getting smacked in the head.
I'm glad to report that last night was markedly better than the previous. Amy slept, or at least was quiet, for most of the night. She woke up at 3 am and said, "I want granola with yogurt!" Yes, my home-made granola is that good. You want to get up at 3 am to eat the stuff! I trundled downstairs and prepared a bowl and brought it upstairs half expecting her to say, "I don't want granola now," but she ate the whole bowl full and then went back to sleep!
The kids are home from school because their school is a voting location for Sunday's first round of the presidential election here in Peru. They are in our bedroom playing a game on the floor next to their mom.
Last night Amy hallucinated and talked loudly almost the entire night. She also kicked and pinched and hit me several times. I only got an hour's sleep. Several times I pled with her to be quiet, hoping that a rational part of her brain would be able to take over, but that never happened. The good news is that she didn't seem to be in much pain and seems to not be in much pain today.
The Good News first:
Amy's maintained her weight for about a week now.
She's been laughing again. She has rarely laughed and never cried over the last 2 months. She still will say funny things (I mean on purpose, not the hallucinations, which are funny too). She's been laughing frequently over the last day or two. I think it's always nicer to be around people who laugh.
The Bad News:
She's having more difficulty swallowing and is getting hard to feed during meal times because she reaches for random things (including the food on Mia's plate) and drags her hands through her food. She'll sometimes chew a mouthful 30 times. Or 100.
She was verbally unresponsive for much of the last two days. She couldn't come to supper last night or breakfast this morning because she was too 'out of it'.
The last two times we've weighed Amy she's actually gone up in weight. I think it is helping that we keep feeding her even after she loses interest. She's not been vomiting for several days too. Plus, I've been making lots of icecream and sourdough bread with butter and honey, which she can't resist!