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Kieron

The club no one wants to join

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They want me to go for a colonoscopy but I have no one to drive me and that is a requirement.  Mammograms aren't fun but at least i can drive myself there.  It's hard growing old with no one by your side.

Yesterday I got at least six yellowjacket stings and I'm allergic, had to use my epipen.  Didn't sleep worth beans last night, hurting, itching.  One yellowjacket is still in the house taunting me, can't get him.  I'm wondering how long we can coexist before he stings me.  They are aggressive!  Am thinking of going to the doctor to get these checked out, 105 mile round trip, not what I had planned for today!

I got the shingrix 2 part shots, glad it's over with.  It's a miserable shot with side effects but I don't want shingles, my cousin gets that.  

I felt I could survive anything when I had George by my side...now I'm not so sure.

Here's my new walking partner, Joe...it's not the same, of course, it never will be, but he's sweet and at least it brightens my day to see him.

Joe1.jpg

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And I'll bet it brightens Joe's day each time he sees you, too, Kay! I hope that pesky bee finds its way outside before it finds its way to you! 

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16 hours ago, KarenK said:

Ron has been gone over 6 years now, and Debbie  for 5. In a way, it still seems like yesterday. The hole in my heart and the emptiness in my soul will never heal.

Being that most of us are older, in addition to the black cloud of sadness that we live under,  I guess it is logical that the black cloud of physical difficulties we face would be right there beside it. I have never before felt so tired or in so much pain from various maladies. Right now I am fighting another UTI and another blasted gum infection.

I feel like a walking pharmacy. Can't sleep for more than a couple of hours without having to go to the bathroom. Went for my physical in July and doctor wants me to go to a cardiologist because something on my heart didn't look right. Told him I wasn't going and NO, I don't want a mammogram, colonoscopy, shingles shot, etc.

I did fill a script for an antidepressant, but after reading the side effects, decided I don't want that either. I am not a good patient.

Peace, everyone. It's one thing we can all hope for.

Karen:  Sorry you are having to deal with infections.  I so understand your not wanting to go to the doctor and go through all of those tests that we used to complete with no problem cause either we had the energy or our sweet hubbies would drive us and wait with us.  Now we're on our own and have to find our own way there, sit by ourselves and hope and pray they don't find anything else to diagnose.

Unfortunately most if not all medications have a side effect.  I recently asked my new primary care doctor if it was okay to take over the counter pain relievers.  But, being a very young physician she quoted there are studies showing over the counter pain relievers may cause dementia.  Some nights one of those little pills is all I need to calm down my tossin and turning.  Long about 3 am, I sometimes get up and take one anyway.  I'm not a very good patient either.

Hoping you get to feeling better real soon.  Dee 

 

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8 minutes ago, widow'15 said:

Unfortunately most if not all medications have a side effect.

I worked for staff doctors at a teaching hospital and one job was to deal with pharmacy dealers.  They would give the free clinics so much of these new medications.  They may have done a lot of good.  The problem was, when the samples ran out the indigent people could in no way in this world afford the new medication.  If they lived long enough it would become a generic and cost a lot less, but time waits on no one.  I am not doubting a study that says some OTC medication causes dementia.  But, the ones that are not OTC, no one can afford them.  I begged to not be on an antidepressant.  New doctor.  She did not listen to me and dumba$$ me took the very mild dose and woke up in the wee morning hours with symptoms I later learned should have been taken to the ER.  One small dose pill.  The elderly sometimes cannot take what others can and believe it or not, talk to a pharmacist after you talk to doctor.  "First Do No Harm" is an oath they used to take.  Not sure they do it in the same way anymore.  

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Marg, I think it's "First Do No Harm"(unless I get a kickback from the meds I prescribe  or the specialist I send my patient to). Just my humble opinion.

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I tend to agree with you, Marg and Karen.  I have worked in mental health for many years and I was told by someone in the know that medications are mainly tested on volunteer subjects who are white/European-descended, and many of the subjects are male.  Many medications have different effects on different ethnic groups, and women's bodies often handle medication differently than men's bodies do.  Everyone is different and what works for one, won't work or may even harm another.  It's scary.  I'm exceedingly cautious about what medications I will take after what this person told me.

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Having just seen my new shrink again today, and his wanting to up my antidepressant because I was so in despair last week, I got the chance to tell him he didn’t let me tell him WHY I felt that way.  I didn’t expect counseling, but wanted him to know that there are times when people feel worse and a pill isn’t always the answer.  I made him listen to the events that sent me into a tailspin as they would anyone, depressed or not.  It’s interesting your describing the test group.  He acted like he didn’t believe the times I tried to quit the antidepressants and had severe withdrawal.  He never had to do it.  He also saying they aren’t that hard to get adjusted to.  Again, been there, done that and they can be and were for me.  Anyone can tolerate (for example) a little nausea.  But when it makes you feel like your going bonkers that is not a minor side effect.  Arg.  We may not be doctors, but we aren’t stupid either.  Why would I make something up?  I want the meds to work.  It would be great if they did for everyone no matter who with simplicity and true effectiveness with ease getting there.  But these are chemicals that alter our bodies and brains.  Guess I’m still a little wound up from our session and what felt like we were challenging each other instead of being a team.  I did tell him what I will and won’t do.  It’s a start.  Oh, and forget that we are trying to handle grief.  They see that as another reason to add meds we may not need.  I didn’t even want to get into the antidepressant when I started with him, just manage my anxiety and panic disorders.  At least he will prescribe those meds without drama.

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9 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

He also saying they aren’t that hard to get adjusted to.

Medications *are* hard to adjust to-- you're right, maybe he should try taking something, and get back to you!  Some people can't handle the side effects.  Some side effects are socially embarrassing like excessive salivating/drooling, or else sleeping too much, severe weight gain, excessive appetite, dry mouth, blurred vision etc etc.  Sheesh!  If they work for someone, great.  If not, that someone might try something else.

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I tried 6 different antidepressants, even though I don’t like the idea of taking pills. They all made me horribly ill. I will not try/take any more. Period. 

Seems to me doctors just want to shove pills at you for everything, and I think that’s horse crap.

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Well I got put on Prednisone yesterday, ugh, and it was challenging to get ointment on my back w/o a husband to do it for me...I ended up taping a cottonball to a long pair of scissors and putting it on with that, it worked!

I took antidepressants when I was married to my kids' dad, it was all that helped me withstand it, but when I married George I went off them.  I didn't notice any adjustment, really, but he said he did.  ;)  It was short term and minimal though.  I haven't been on them since, even though I get down too, the loneliness is hard.  And concerns about growing old alone, those are real concerns.  I think it'd help if I had more of a support system.  My son is so far away and busy that I have to save counting on him for the hardest of hard things...he usually only comes here once a year, this year he had to twice already.

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I forgot to mention this shrink wants me to have the rifle we own out of the house.  I didn’t  even think about that thing til he asked if there was a gun in the house.  Now I have to find someone to take it for awhile and I know so few people and they are all pacifists.  If I had ever thought of that, I wouldn’t use a rifle!  Too risky and awkward.  My therapist said that was standard practice to do so we talked over options so I don’t have to lie.  I’m going to ask the musician that comes by to put it somewhere in the garage where I won’t know or see it.  That way I can say Tom had it and I don’t know where it is.  Another annoying thing he talked about was if I got to feeling less depressed, I could resume a 'normal' schedule.  Meaning becoming a more 9 to 5 person. I’ve lived a night owl life for decades and fail to see why I would do that.  This guy really stresses me out, good thing he prescribes the meds I need for such things.  I’m standing up to him which I think annoys him, but I’m sick of being shoved around by people that act superior and I’ve never been a sheep.  He’s supposed to be helping my anxiety, not redefining what I want my life to be.  He’s going to have to come to understand I will always be depressed to some degree without Steve.  That will never leave me and no pill or sleep/rise time is going to fix it.  I’m fact, that became our schedule when he retired.  It feels 'normal' to me.  Just lacking him.

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12 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

I’m standing up to him which I think annoys him, but I’m sick of being shoved around by people that act superior and I’ve never been a sheep.

Good for you!  Doctors of any sort don't seem to like us standing up to them, but I do too.
 

 

12 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

I will always be depressed to some degree without Steve.

I get that, I struggle with it.  It's an ongoing battle.

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Working in the medical field 43 years, being a patient of many specialties off and on all my life, I have not felt safe with any one of them since our old GP's of many years ago.  Many life's have been saved because of the specialized medicine/surgical directions.  Somehow though, I hear and see "not my problem" more than real help.  That is just me.  

I have written out not to give me pain killers.  I cannot take opiates.  First thing they do is write me a prescription for opiates.  I am too old for some antidepressants, first thing they do is write me a prescription and give me samples for this new wonder drug antidepressant.  I take it to my old clinician for so many years, tell her what it did to me, and she just shakes her head and says "I don't know how they think you  could afford this anyhow."  Then my working for the staff physicians and the pharmacist reps that came to the office and left a load of samples of the new drug.  It was a state hospital.  Give the expensive sample to  the indigent patient who gets great results.  No more samples.  So we go back to a generic that suffices, maybe not as good as the new expensive one, but it is what it is.  

I have become cynical and jaded.  Unless you are unresponsive, help your physician out by knowing what you can take, what you do not want to take, and be ready for some reactions you might not expect.  Either respect for your opinion, or they fire you as a patient.  

In looking back (which I seldom do), I find this is almost the same thing I wrote above this post.  Hmmmm.........guess I have been taking that OTC medication too long, the one that causes dementia.  Has to be Tylenol, all I can take.  

 

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From my experience, Doctors do not seem adept in prescribing for the  feeling of utter pain and sadness from devastating loss.

I went to a urgent care just to talk to a Doctor about my unshakable sadness and he said it was normal given I had only been grieving for five months. He prescribed an anti-depressant. I tried the anti-depressant, but it gave me headaches and made me unsteady on my feet which is dangerous for me at work so I stopped taking it after two weeks.

When I went to see my family on Easter day for Easter dinner, I told them I honestly knew I was sad all the time and that I thought I should see if I could find some help. They thought it was a good idea and supported me in my decision, so I went to the ER as I have no regular Doctor.

When I arrived at the ER with my Mother and my Sister accompanying me, the nurse asked me a few questions and told me that they would have me talk to a Doctor, I did not know what I expected for him to do I only knew I had to do something. After talking to him at length about the loss of my dear wife Rene'e, and telling him all of the feelings I've had since I lost her, he had only two questions for me.

One question was, "What is it that you love now?" to which I answered very quickly "I love my dogs and my work". The second question was, "Do you own a gun?" to which I answered very quickly "No, I have never owned a gun".

He seemed satisfied and informed me that I suffered from Major Clinical Depression, so I thought "Oh great, wonderful times ahead".

On all, I would say I spoke to him for about 30 minutes, at most, and he was done. He referred me to some outpatient Doctor and Counseling I could not afford and I have not been back to see another Doctor since. I think I felt worse for having tried.

Thank goodness I can talk here, and sleep 😴

 

 

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Johnny, both of my kids are bipolar.  And, if you think we have not had some fun with that...........ha.  But, I knew my dad had to be also.  After the cancer I started having spells they called disassociation.  What scared me was when I would disassociate, my biggest problem was I did not want to lose this phenomenon.  I did go to a psychiatrist for 15 years.  Went through Prozac mainly and it would make me where I really did not have unhappiness or happiness, I could not cry.  I finally quit them after years. (coasted off them with help of shrink).  Before my main psychiatrist (now remember, this was in the 1980's, early,) and we had a new doctor come to town with a rag wrapped around his head.  Indian or something.  It cost me $125 over what my insurance paid to talk to this man for 15 minutes.  His message was "you've got to learn to love yourself."  Well, I damn well loved my money more than I did him.  I have suffered from sometimes deep depression since childhood and I wanted expert advice and a diagnosis I could live with.  Well, I have chronic depression, and I did not get anything exotic like schizophrenia or bipolar.  I did have those wonderful scary disassociation spells, but that is a whole "nuther" story.  I do believe now though, along with my chronic depression, I certainly have situational depression, that I will have till I leave this world.  No pill will cure grief.  (Now, this is only my opinion.)

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23 minutes ago, Marg M said:

No pill will cure grief. 

No, there is nothing for it.  It can only be lived.  How ironic... life, after death.

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Mark would be 63 years old today.  Soon it will be three years since he's even been at home, because he was hospitalized in late November 2016 and never came back.  I got through this day with wistful thoughts and only a few tears at times, and other times with disgust and resentment at all the idiots in the world today, running around full of life, creating pain, harm, destruction and mayhem everywhere they go.  Why do they get to be alive while others don't?

This morning I looked through some of his clothing that I have saved for various reasons.  One button-down collar short-sleeve shirt, sort of a sage-green plaid pattern, still smells like sunblock lotion, and it made me smile a little because he was applying it on a pontoon boat ride one summer day a decade ago.  The bottle went "splooch" and squirted a *lot* of sunblock all over his shirt.  The shirt was pretty well protected from the sun that day!  😄

Yesterday I stumbled across a local nonprofit that collects used clothing for persons homeless, indigent or otherwise disadvantaged, who are hospitalized for whatever reason.  Often these folks are discharged again afterward with poorly fitting castoffs, because sometimes what they wore on admission had to be cut off to perform procedures etc.  Plus-size clothing is needed the most.  So it seemed fitting (heh) to donate all his XXL clothing that has sat folded for 2.5 years, to this worthy cause, and also apropos since he himself once experienced homelessness or at least instability, and would give you the shirt off his back.  Doing this was a no-brainer.  :) The nonprofit came to take the donations today, again with rather interesting timing. 

May these nice shirts and pants cover and dignify those who would otherwise go without!   ❤️

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What a wonderful thing you did by donating Mark's clothes.  Especially on a hard anniversary, but I’m glad to hear you got a smile.  I donated almost all of Steve’s at some point, think it was about 3 years too.  Had to keep a few things.  He was very large in his last few years so there was a variety.  I know he would be happy someone was using them, he was a very sharing man as your Mark. That was motivation enough, but I also didn’t like seeing them every day.  Never needing to be washed, no smell of him, not seeing them on him anymore.  It was so easy at the time, I don’t know if I could do it now.  I remember a feeling of almost happiness when the shelter saw an SUV Packed with clothes and they were sooooo appreciative.  I drove home with a sense of peace that it was the right thing to do.  For others, they may need to keep them.  And  that’s fine too.  Since we can’t talk to them anymore, all we can do is listen to our hearts and love of them.  You spread that love today.  💖

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I, too, took years to finally find the courage to take my husband's clothes off the hangars in his closet.  Many times I would open the closet and say, "No, not today. Another Day."  Close the closet doors.  On one of my daughter's visits this past year she took the remaining clothing with her to a homeless shelter supporting veterans in Oregon.  My husband was a VN Veteran.  Being retired, he owned quite a few T shirts usually with funny sayings responding to his love of fishing.  Those shirts were shared with all of us.  My son was close to his shirt size and my daughter likes her shirts oversized.   I find sleeping in his shirts or wearing his oversized sweatshirts around the house give me a sense of comfort.  The empty closet can bring tears to my eyes some days, but it was time.   Dee

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12 hours ago, Kieron said:

So it seemed fitting (heh) to donate all his XXL clothing that has sat folded for 2.5 years, to this worthy cause, and also apropos since he himself once experienced homelessness or at least instability, and would give you the shirt off his back. 

 

8 hours ago, widow'15 said:

On one of my daughter's visits this past year she took the remaining clothing with her to a homeless shelter supporting veterans in Oregon.

That is perfect and no doubt what he would have done with it.  I donated George's to Sponsors, a place where people who have been incarcerated make their adjustment to the outside, also without anything but the shirts on their backs.  George had a heart for down and out-ers and I just knew that was what he would want done.

It's neat how we "know" and the timing is right when we do it.

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The kids gave Billy a new jacket nearly every winter.  He would only wear the one or two that fit for the cool or cold.  We gave them all to the thrift shop that helps keep the nursing home and assisted living open.  I kept the navy blue one that is a wind breaker and still have maybe one or two packed away.  He would only wear a couple of pair of pants anyhow, so gave the rest to the thrift store.  They were closing when I got there, and older women volunteer at the store.  I had the back of the truck so full they reopened the store.  They are gripey, gossiping old women and they never bend the rules, not getting paid.  It was fun to shop there because they would banter back and forth over some community person having another baby, running around, and the only aggravation I felt was I didn't know anyone they were talking about, but was glad I never got to know them personally.  I figured they held the doors open of all the churches around.  (Now, I'm being cynical again).  Gossiping had gone out of my life.  Kinda like it like that.  They all stayed and helped me get them out  of the truck.  

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Well, here I am again.  Another death to contend with and it's predictably bringing up some of the old crud from 2.5 years ago that I haven't yet shared here.  In July, my favorite uncle began experiencing severe back pain that was unexplained, and eventually his wife made him go to the doctor in late September.  It appeared he had some kind of myeloma, but tests were inconclusive and so they got another opinion in this state, with a doctor who ordered other tests, including chemo once it was determined this was needed.  I visited twice.  He seemed to be doing well, and a few days later was eventually sent home with instructions for follow-up care, and I urged them to get a hospital social worker involved before leaving for home, to set up home care services, ramp into the house, shower chair, etc etc. etc.  Since they live in another state I can't be sure how successful my advice was, but they seemed to be coping fairly well with help from caregivers and family/friends, until recently, when he had to go to ICU for apparent sepsis (this is really bad stuff) and the cancer appeared to be spreading aggressively despite the treatments.  Long story short, they decided on hospice, which was the right call, and the hospice setting kept him comfortable and pain-free, although groggy, and hospice staff supported her throughout.

He passed away this morning, and it's not completely surprising, I guess... 😞  Where *I* am getting hung up is the return of resentment and anger that Mark was not given the option of hospice.  Not one freaking person, not even the rehab center "social worker" (sneer quotes because she was negligent in the extreme, here), said "You know, it seems like we need to explore hospice."  I was getting daily phone reports that he was sleeping a lot, not doing his rehab exercises (which were voluntary in this facility), not eating much, etc.  Despite my daily visits, he seemed to be withdrawing, to the point where I wondered if he was depressed, certainly withdrawing from me.  In retrospect, all the signs were there, that he was preparing to let go, but he didn't say anything about how he was really feeling or what he was thinking.  The day before he died, he was breathing very shallowly, was very spacey and uncoordinated when out of bed, and despite my request that he be checked for CO2 in his bloodstream (not the oximeter reading, this is something different, it;'s like CO2 poisoning when you can't excrete the carbon dioxide in your body by breathing it out the way a healthy person can), the facility charge nurse basically dismissed my concerns, saying "You need to calm down."  As if I was screaming or something.  Had I been his wife, I bet you he'd have listened to me.  All day long, Mark just existed in limbo.  They eventually did call the on-call doctor for advice, only after I badgered them.  Not much was really done that I recall.  He was sent to the emergency room overnight (they left an unintelligible notification message on the  wrong telephone number) and when I went in the morning to see him, his room was empty of most of his belongings.  I only then found out he'd been sent to the hospital for unresponsiveness.  You don't say!  And THEN I screamed at the same charge nurse, "I TOLD you something was wrong!" and he started to look a little guilty.

By the time I got to the hospital, Mark had been admitted but was breathing badly, gasping for air, and it turned out he had a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs).  He was barely conscious, and refused offers of food.  They were preparing to move him to ICU, I believe... it's all a blur by now... and so around 3 hours later, I told the hospital nurse (who actually listened to me) I would go home for 15 minutes to get something to eat.  15 minutes later she called me and said "You may want to get back here, he's going downhill fast."  It's a short distance away so I was there in half an hour after parking, but as I got to the floor, I heard them call "Code Blue" with his room number.  All kinds of people rushed past me before I got there, and someone must have realized who I was, and they asked me to wait in a nearby room.  A housekeeper who had been mopping his room earlier in the day kindly sat with me, even though her shift was over.  Eventually they moved him to ICU and he was put on a ventilator, the whole nine yards.  After stabilization, I had a few very close friends of his come to visit to say goodbye just in case, and got his sister to fly in, and I'm glad I did.  The next morning, we had a care conference with the intensivist (the doctor who presides over the ICU) who  determined that he had absolutely no quality of life, and he would not survive a trip home.

THEN... hospice was started.  Only then!   (mind you, I don't fault the hospital.  They felt he should have been sent in much sooner.  No kidding.)

So at most, we had maybe 3-4 hours of hospice when he was started on palliatives and comfort meds, and taken off the vent.  Everyone who was able to be, was present as he was made comfortable. And even then he waited until he heard his sister say, "It's okay, Mark, you can go."  And then it was my turn to tell him, "Yeah, It's okay.  I'll be fine.  I have people watching over me."  And then he was gone, just a moment later.  Just wanted to be sure, I guess... 😥

So.... I don't begrudge or resent my uncle getting to have hospice, not in the least, but it's so very hard not to look back and think, "Why the hell did it take all this effort to bring about hospice for Mark?"

I'm going to try very hard not to even mention it when the funeral takes place next week, but it will be on my mind constantly.

 

 

 

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Kieron,

Of course it brings it up to you, how could it not?  I'm glad you won't bring it up at the funeral.  I kind of had the opposite feeling in my sister's case, I couldn't understand why they jumped to hospice but would not hospitalize her.  She got pneumonia more times than I could count but always pulled through it.  Why this time they would not admit and treat her?!  I can't help but feel it was because she was indigent.  If the president or someone important had pneumonia they wouldn't give up on them!  She didn't have a fatal disease/condition, she had pneumonia, it was treatable for gosh sake!  I fought for her, in the end what good did it do?  But I'm glad I did, to me she was my sister, she was inspirational and she deserved so much more than she ever got.

I don't know why they do what they do.  Their criteria seems to change depending on the person that's for sure.  Sometimes they're negligent.  That doesn't help us, the ones who love them that are left grappling with their loss.

I am sorry you lost your uncle...never it's a good time for loss, it's hard.  I'm sorry for your aunt especially, to be left without your partner is the hardest thing.  Hell, I can't even adjust to loss of my dog, but then to me he wasn't just a dog, he was my everything.  I couldn't keep my husband, couldn't keep my animals, I've had so many losses, it feels that's what life is about at this age.  I don't know why some get hit and others are allowed to enjoy their lives.  I don't know why hospice is provided for some and not others, I don't know why some are admitted to the hospital while others are left to die.  I don't know anything.  But I send you hugs.

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Thanks, Kay.  I hadn't considered that perspective of rushing to put her in hospice versus hospitalize her...  I too am sorry for all the seemingly endless series of losses you have described.  Wow.

Yes, I have a pretty good idea of how my aunt feels now.  It's barely been 24 hours since he died.  The shock, the hollow feeling, automatically thinking "I need to tell him... oh yeah."  I think they were married longer than I have been alive, and it sounds like the memorial/funeral will be on my birthday next week.  😑

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