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Updated on July 24, 2011

It is not the young lovers who stroll, arms around each others waists that I envy. It is the old couple helping each other walk down the street, hand in fragile hand, slowly making their way home to spend their evening together over a cup of hot tea as they watch a cold rain pouring from a blackened heaven.

It is barely morning and already my energy is spent, having been awakened, once again, by Charlie horse spasms in the calves of my legs. Even in your last stages of life, I scream out in pain and you are at my side, rubbing the cramped muscles and telling me it will be all right. We have coffee, you have your pain pills and drift back to sleep perched on the edge of your lift chair and I watch, fearful you will fall and hit your head on the table any second. You finally agree to sit back but without oxygen and without your legs elevated to prevent you feet from turning the horrid dark purple they do now.

In the night, your own spasms that started in your wrist and have now consumed both arms, send your glass of water flying all over you and your blankets and I am so exhausted from the day that I don’t know a thing about it until you sadly tell me about it this morning.

I was so livid yesterday that I used up way too much energy striking out at shadows – shadows of your symptoms, shadows of what we used to have and are being robbed of, shadows of this death that is headed straight for you like a speeding train now and knowing that even if I throw myself in front of it, death will win. I know that in Eternity we will be reunited but I want all of the years in between too. I saw so many elderly couples yesterday when I went to my cardiologist and the grocery store. They were helping each other and making appointments six months out and I had to pause and think what will we be doing six months from now? Will there even be a we … six months from now. You told your friend this week that you don’t think now that you have as much time left as you had thought before. A person knows their own body and I have no doubt that what you verbalize is this insidious disease speaking through you.

The Hospice doctor remains silent after my call telling his nurse we will not blindly follow his instructions to taper you off from the Valium and onto Flexeril, a muscle relaxant, until I know why he is treating symptoms without checking for the cause. He chooses to take away your only anti-anxiety medication and put you on one that is contraindicated because of the narcotic pain medication you take and by another prescription you must take. And, the scariest of all reasons,

“Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of Flexeril can be fatal. Overdose symptoms may include drowsiness, fast heartbeat, tremors or shaking, slurred speech, confusion, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations (seeing things), chest pain, or seizure (convulsions).”

You have already mixed up your pills three times now, taking more than you should, even though they are in the compartments labeled with day and time. Add to this the fact that the side effects of confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, lack of coordination … and the list goes on … have already manifested with the medications you’re on presently. I told our Nurse Practitioner this and she said she oversees your health care but she has to follow the Hospice doctor’s recommendations, to speak with the Hospice nurse. I can’t reach your regular two nurses and speak with another who questions my audacity at questioning the great doctor who is not God or even the Wizard of Oz, as far as I know. He does not live with you. He does not watch your already shallow breath move your chest so slightly that he has to pause and watch for what seems like minutes before he can see a slight rise and fall of your chest. And he has not spent twenty-four years with you, learning to know you and your medical history and reactions to a plethora of medications … I have!

Am I a control freak with access to the internet? Probably. Am I so bold as to presume I know more than a man with a medical degree? Possibly. Do I have more of a vested interest in his choice of treatments – most definitely! Are we going to follow his instructions? Not until or unless he gives me a viable diagnosis of what is causing the spasms in the first place. Blindly treating symptoms, without knowing the cause, is not an accepted practice if you were an otherwise healthy patient who had no intent on slipping quietly and peacefully away instead of trying to treat your COPD. Just because you are already dying does not mean we will hasten your death or increase the likelihood that it will come sooner. These people can either work with us or take their lift chair and kiss my big fat rosy behind!

And that’s all I have to say about that.


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  • stars439 profile image

    stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

    This is one of my favorite hubs . You're intelligence , and strength , and ability to see past the errors of those who should have performed their duties better, did not stand in you're way of seeing what was important . You remind me so much of my mother who always made my brother, and I, and my dad feel so secure because of her abilities to possess the lion's heart of courage like you'res. GBY Always .

  • baygirl33 profile image

    victoria 6 years ago from Hamilton On.

    Yes Pooh,I,too,look at older couples and feel bitter.My man was so good and kind.I look at abusers and drinkers,and womanizers and wonder if you have to be bad to live on.

    He still had work to do and there are those who are fairly healthy and just do nothing.

    sorry.I guess I miss him and it makes me bitter.

    I'll get over myself one of these days.

    Great hub.Keep on writing.It helps.

  • Poohgranma profile image

    Poohgranma 6 years ago from On the edge

    I don't know about beautiful, Micky, but stubborn and protective I would agree with 100%, ha ha ha.

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 6 years ago

    You continue to be so beautiful Pooh. God bless you dear heart.

  • Poohgranma profile image

    Poohgranma 6 years ago from On the edge

    Praise GOD, indeed DeBorrah K. Wait until I have time to tell everyone how He orchestrated the whole thing - no coincidence here that's for sure - too many people and things had to fall into place for this to happen any other way then by His hand!

  • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

    DeBorrah K Ogans 6 years ago

    Poohgranma, Praise GOD! May the continued presence of the LORD be with you through your journey... GOD BLESS YOU BOTH!

  • Poohgranma profile image

    Poohgranma 6 years ago from On the edge

    We got our answer and answered prayer. I'll write about it, but the spasms are GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sharyn's Slant profile image

    Sharon Smith 6 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

    Ha ha, you are a strong woman Pooh. I commend you and your strength. Take care,


  • SomewayOuttaHere profile image

    SomewayOuttaHere 6 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

    hey....i hope they give you that explanation you are looking a time like this the human touch is so important...many people would just follow along and not think further...

  • Poohgranma profile image

    Poohgranma 6 years ago from On the edge

    No apology necessary. I have felt the very same way, many times. I haven't met this doctor so I can't judge him but I do judge his way of practicing medicine.

    The Hospice nurse came yesterday and I repeated the same thing to her and told her that muscle relaxer is not coming into this house. There has to be a reason for the spasms and no one seems to think it is related to my husband's COPD directly so it must be a complication of the medications. I will not allow a dangerous drug to be added to his already heavy hitting list of narcotic pain medications unless I have a very clear explanation of what the cause is, not just treat symptoms! She said she would pass word along and that we could refuse any suggestions or medications we want to. I told her I know that and I will be monitoring his care closely. I don't care if they like me and my bull headed nature or not, this is my husband and his life we are talking about!

  • Steph Harris profile image

    Steph Harris 6 years ago from Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

    Sorry about my little tirade, I have had some bad experiences with doctors, not as bad as yours I'll admit but in England we do have doctors who think they know it all and will not listen to their patients.

    Still, as I say, I am sorry:-{

  • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

    DeBorrah K Ogans 6 years ago

    Poohgranma, You are really on top of this... The Lord really does make all the difference in the world in a Great Marriage! I pray that He continues to guide, strengthen, watch over and keep both of you in HIS LOVE & CARE! May each day of your journey be filled with LOVE! God Bless both of YOU!!

  • stars439 profile image

    stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

    Dear Phoenix : Do whatever you think is right. God Bless You Precious Heart.

  • Poohgranma profile image

    Poohgranma 6 years ago from On the edge

    He may not be pompous at all, just busy but we are not budging on this one!

    Thank you so for your support!

  • Steph Harris profile image

    Steph Harris 6 years ago from Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

    Hooray for Poohgranma, these arrogant, far too full of themselves doctors really do make my blood boil, and half the time they seem to forget that they are dealing with human beings, with lives and loves.

    I very often think that we are nothing more than yet another number, to be given whatever drug they are being told to prescribe by the drug companies, the ones that the doctor is getting the biggest back hander from of course.

    Sweet heart, we are all dying, from day one, your other half just needs a little more care in his later years. Try not to think too far ahead, enjoy each day and each minute you have together now, care for each other as you are doing, and if you do get this pompous, fat headed, idiot of a doctor to kiss your rosy behind, take a picture for us all to see.


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