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Crushed Ice and Mouth Swabs

on September 19th, 2017 by Rebeccca

What’s on the menu? A few weeks ago, when Galen could still talk, he would fantasize on what he wanted to eat. A big steak, a baked potato with lots of sour cream, a perfect corn on the cob. Now he can barely whisper so I can’t quite figure out what he might want. And it is difficult for him to swallow, so he can’t even sip on liquids any more. Even the crushed ice melting in his mouth can cause him to cough.

It’s a brutal way to die. Slowly shutting down. Painful to watch and, I’m sure, painful for him, even with the cocktail of drugs that go into his system. It’s a guessing game of what he needs: swab his mouth? raise his head? massage his feet?

Occasionally he will smile a bit in response to something we say. But mostly he lays there, mouth open, waiting.

And we are waiting. I am so thankful for my family who have come to sit with Galen. The nursing home has given us a roll-away cot that I pull out at night so I can be beside him. Then during the day, when I have business to take care of or sleep to catch up on, someone is there to make sure Galen is comfortable.

And all of the staff at the nursing home have been so helpful. This place felt like my second home for the past three and a half years, coming to see my mother almost daily. And now they have provided such a wonderful space for us to be together with Galen.

I have a picture in my mind of floating on a cloud, with the hands of all of our friends reaching up and supporting us as we float through this confusing time. Thanks so much for being there for us.

| Posted in Galen

10 Responses to “Crushed Ice and Mouth Swabs”

  1. Steven K
    September 19th, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Rebecca, hello,and regards to both you and Galen.
    I know that the hardest thing can simply be the act of being present.
    Thank you so very much for taking the time, in these times, to keep us all informed.
    With love, Steven

  2. Mavis
    September 19th, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Rebecca, Galen is truly blessed to have you at his side. Our hope and prayer now is that his passing is as peaceful as possible. Know we think of you often.
    Alan and Mavis

  3. Shirley Caswell
    September 19th, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Read all your posts Rebecca and my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.You are amazing and Gaylan is so blessed to have you by his side through all this.

  4. John Kennel
    September 19th, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Rebecca you such a good wife. Thank you for keeping us posted. Galen and you are in our prayers.

  5. Kathy S
    September 19th, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Rebecca, what great compassion you have shown to Galen, and the posts have shared the agony that we are all feeling as you and Galen say goodbye, for a little while. My prayers are for Galen to be able to be free from the misery that is so distressing to him, and who love him. Peace

  6. Paulette
    September 19th, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    I am so amazed at how you are dealing with Galen ‘s situation. You are giving all of us strength when we should be giving you that. And we are by thinking /praying for you both. So glad your family is able to be with you and Galen. We only recently got to know you but it seems like we’ve been friends forever. You’ve both been so easy to like. And we’ll always have Galen ‘s poker to remember him. Hugs to both.

  7. Claire Botkin
    September 19th, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    We saw firsthand how caring you were with your Mom when she was first in the Nokomis care centre, and we know from our own experience what you are going through. Galen could not have a better support team. Blessings to you, Galen and your wonderful family.

  8. Denise
    September 19th, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    More hugs from Audrey Kampen. We met her at the airport today as we were picking up IVEPers. She sends her love.
    You two have touched so many lives and we all wish we could do more.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us all.

  9. Julie M
    September 19th, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    As you shared your thoughts and feelings, I was reminded of how I watched my own mother suffer from the sickness of cancer. One feels so helpless when one wants to help them feel just a little better.
    You are blessed to be so caring and kind.

  10. John and Pat
    September 19th, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Here you two are and here we two are, another day has passed and we are still here with you guys. That bald eagle watches too with a kind eye and an enveloping wing. Good night dear friends xxx

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