On July 14, 2011 the oncologist and the team spoke with us to introduce the concept of palliation. It was a hard and difficult conversation to hear and with 20/20 hindsight it was the moment that Donna began to give up.
They recommended home hospice. So that weekend I pulled it together and ordered the bed, etc. I guess after the weekend and taking one look at how emotionally fucked I was they recommended Donna be moved to Karpus 4 the in unit hospice. For the next month the bed remained in the apartment reminding me of what was not happening. What was lost. What will be forever. She will not be back. Of course I can always go to her.
On July 10, 2011 Donna and I had dinner at the Odeon.
The previous week of was a rough one. For much of the year Donna was fighting with HPO (hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthopathy) a depilating condition of the joints especially in her knees. We spent months trying to resolve it but the bottom line was we had to achieve tumor regression again. So for June Donna was on her third line of chemo, Gemzar. We had a CT earlier in the week and were scheduled to see the oncologist on Friday July 8. He said the chemo wasn’t working and Donna has pleural effusion that should be treated. He scheduled a pleurodesis for Monday July 11. Told us the last place we wanted to be was in the hospital over the first weekend in July. (New residents, interns, and fellow. Think Homer Simpson with a degree)
Dinner on Sunday was low key. The walk home, only two blocks, was difficult. Each step Donna took was painful and slow. She walked like one of Jerry’s kids on a telethon with braces. Stilted halting steps. Each step counted out to avoid getting to where we were going. I wonder how she remained so dignified.
We finally made it home. I believe ‘True Blood’ was on. We watched it and went to sleep. The next day with Donna in even more pain we headed to Beth Isreal. I had to carry her to a wheel chair. Little did either of us realize Sunday July 10, 2011 dinner at the Odeon was our last meal together. The last time we slept together. The the last time she would be home.