Hubby is on oxygen. Packing a pump. Wicked thrush on his tongue. Only one neph tube draining. Leg weeping from edema, soaking everything. Clothing changes and dressing changes and flushing of tubes. Around the clock.

Being hooked up to oxygen involves a bulky machine with miles of tubing. But it also puts out a soothing background noise – like a stream, water burbling over rocks. We now have a water feature in our living room.


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Milk, he says weakly. Talking is an effort. I’m learning to decipher one- and two-word sentences.

The milk isn’t cold enough. Ice, he says.

He wants his neph bag drained even though I drained it twenty minutes ago.

Devices plugged in.

The walker where he can reach it.

Adjust pillows. The angle of the bed.

I sink onto the sofa after he’s finally tucked in. It’s like putting a two-year-old to bed. This from the man who was never demanding, who always got up and quietly did what needed to be done without bothering anyone.

We’re settling into our at-home-again routine. And oh—as lovely as Hospice House is—it’s so good to be home. I’m worn out, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Personal Chef Summer steamed a chicken and made cream of chicken soup from scratch. She doesn’t approve of paparazzi hovering while she’s cooking (note raised-eyebrow look).


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Hubby’s weeping leg soaks pads and sheets and PJs. Frequently. After multiple laundry washings of pajama bottoms, Personal Chef (aka Personal Pajama Shopper) was sent on a mission.

Send a Duck girl shopping, and this is what you get.


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I’m kissing Hubby frequently. Rubbing his back. Petting his hair that grew in puppy-soft after chemo. Smiling directly into his eyes that have no smile left. Telling him I love him. Thanking him for all the good years and memories he’s given me. Leaving nothing unsaid.

Because I’ll never pass this way with him again.

Side note: Daughter Summer has become a huge fan of the Porch Fairy. It may be because there’s been an Americano setting on our front porch—next to my Chai tea—the past couple of mornings. Wearing red.


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