Constance Ore is a retired Teacher, Choir Director, and Organist. And a formidable cook.

July 27, 2010

Filed under: — Constance at 2:27 pm on Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pneumonia. Here is an illness that brought more misery than I could have imagined. My last week was spent coughing constantly, using an inhaler, breathing in oxygen from a large oxygen machine brought in by the hospice, ingesting several powerful antibiotics, and losing more weight. Sunday the coughing decreased quite a bit, though now I am too weak to walk very far. Tomorrow my hospice nurse will come and we will review the situation. I give thanks to everyone who remembered me with prayers, cards, well wishes and flowers.

Stick Bug In Seward County, Nebraska
John-paul has come to be with us during this trying time. He takes a camera with him as he walks Alphie and brings back amazing photos of the life that teems below our level of noticing. I had never seen the tiny red mushrooms that he discovered on the path, nor the stick bug that is an amazing looking creature.

As most rural dog owners know, the moment when the dog meets a skunk is inevitable. Last night, right over the bridge to the meadow, John-paul heard a rustling, located it with his flashlight, and behold, very near and ready to spray was the skunk. Alphie, in his great wisdom, pounced, and John-paul said that the spray was so intense he moved away quickly, then he had to convince Alphie to come back. Alphie finally came, but had to stay outside because now he smelled awful. Charles and John-paul found the recipe and ingredients which I had gotten some time ago in anticipation of this happening, so they mixed up the hydrogen peroxide, soda, soap, etc., and brought Alphie into the greenhouse where they hosed him down, washed him thoroughly, and got rid of most of the stink. Charles said that Alphie was utterly confounded by their behavior, and possibly thinking that his humans were losing it. Today our dear dog has beautiful blonde highlights and some small remainder of the scent of his encounter. Charles said that perhaps Alphie learned a lesson – we are skeptical.

I’m not sure how this is going to continue. Hopefully, I will have enough energy to write several more blogs. I pray mightily, cry sometimes, and hope for the best always.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Soon bears us all away;
We fly forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the op’ning day.

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Still be our guard while troubles last
And our eternal home!

July 20, 2010

Filed under: — Constance at 7:43 pm on Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This morning, the social worker and the RN in charge of my Hospice care came to visit, and we began to acquaint ourselves with each other. My cough is huge and deep and makes my ribs hurt. After a bit, my throat feels slashed. So, conversing through that, we commenced. The most difficult part of the Hospice is the matter-of-fact approach – the seeming inevitability of how one’s end will be. They have trod this path many times, I am newly begun. We talk, and I think, “This is my person that is under discussion; I don’t want to be turned, lifted, medicated with suppositories or under the tongue as needed and so forth. . .I don’t want to be anywhere near where this is to be going on”. (It is likely that one day I will be filled with proper gratitude for all the help available) The emphasis is on controlling pain, and that is a good and noble thing, but the mental picture of myself in the future, shuffling from bed to bath, hanging on to the walls so I don’t fall over, coughing and honking onward to the end that completely undoes me.

Both Janna and John-paul are here and Heidi is taking time from work to come, too. When we gather, a distinct family trait is that cooking and baking the family recipes seems to calm everyone. There is always some lovely creation beginning or ending in the kitchen. Other calming and lovely things in this difficult year are the incredibly grand flowers that have sprung up in the gardens. One looks at the intricacies of a sunflower and considers the Creator who thought of it for the first time. That act, multiplied more times than can be imagined, presents a picture of what has been woven together into our earthly home. I too, am a part of it all, and I accept being fearfully and wondrously made.

In the hymn “O God beyond All Praising” the poet speaks most eloquently:

The flow’r of earthly splendor
in time must surely die,
its fragile bloom surrender
to you, the Lord most high;
but hidden from all nature
the eternal seed is sown
-though small in mortal stature,
to heaven’s garden grown:
for Christ, your gift from heaven,
from death has set us free,
and we through him are given
the final victory.

July 15, 2010

Filed under: — Constance at 9:04 pm on Thursday, July 15, 2010

Now we are on a different path. John-paul came back home again, Heidi’s been here a lot, and Janna comes on Sunday. It is not that I am going to die immediately, but it is a shock to hear that now I am in hospice as there is no more blood transfusing, nor any other sort of “life extender” that some people are tempted to try. The pneumonia is a dreadful thing, reminding one just how large a lung is. I have two things to do…one is to push out air from the lung until the pain is unbearable, thus getting the infection to release from the tissue and the other is taking the antibiotic. The hope is that the infection can be coughed out.

An especially memorable moment in the course of life occurred today. I stood watching the Hospice truck come down the lane so that it could deliver a walker, a wheel-chair, a commode, oxygen, and I don’t know what else – all just for me. I stepped around the the corner of the house and walked myself into the blooming flowers there. Alphie was outside with me, and after a moment, he came around the house too, and for the first time, growled several times, than began to bark his big outside bark. In order for him to be calmed, I had to come back and perform the introductions. This was a new reaction from him so I assume my negative ions must have been doing a radical sort of dance in there.

In a way, there will not be great changes in our lives – I have the hope that I will write letters and notes to people for thinking on me and for praying so eloquently on my behalf. What a fine, ongoing blessing is friendship. God wraps us round in layers of love and care so we can go onward and upward, ever hopeful and filled with thanksgiving for so many of the good days!

July 13, 2010

Filed under: — Constance at 9:48 am on Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Who knew that pneumonia could be so painful? I have just returned from the hospital with fistfuls of instructions and sacks of medications. One of the challenges is getting the right antibiotics to be effective without bringing on the dreaded C-Diff. I have an infected left lung and since my hemoglobin was as low as it has ever been, I got a blood transfusion as well. As always, we approach this with hopes that the medications will be effective. I will write more as the week advances.

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