After the only working nephrostomy tube fell out Tuesday, we were told to expect renal failure. But yesterday morning, Hubby perked up. Perhaps because Son Jeremy and DIL Denise joined Daughter Summer here in sunny Bend.


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Nurse Melinda says Hubby has tenacity. (I think that’s a nice way of saying he’s stubborn.)

Hes broken all the rules, she said. Maybe theres still something he wants to teach us.

Good medicine, these children of ours. Poring over old photos, yearbooks, long-forgotten children’s artwork. Admiring chubby-cheeked kids, Hubby’s facial hair, styles straight out of the 80s.

Jeremy set up a game of Cribbage on the seat of Hubby’s snazzy red walker. Hubby, not remembering how to play, makes up the rules as he goes along. Jeremy graciously lets his dad cheat.


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Hubby is worried about me. I reassure him, yet again, that I’m going to be fine. But he can’t seem to process that. It’s because he was created with an extravagant sense of caring for his family. He has always placed me and the kids first. (Well, except for that one time when I wanted to homestead in Alaska back in the 70s and he voted no.)

This morning, I open the shades before dawn to the unnatural light from a wintry blanket spread in the night. Fireplace lit, Hubby and I sit and watch first snowfall together. He had hoped for snow to fall before he leaves us.


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As morning unfolds, he becomes disoriented. Changes in breathing. Paranoia and anxiety – what is referred to as Terminal Agitation. Nurse Melinda stops by again. Yes, she said, this is what you would expect of renal failure.

There is a bed open in Hospice House, which we gratefully accept because Hubby seems to be overly-concerned about having round-the-clock nursing care. (Although I am pleased to report that I have not hurt the patient intentionally or unintentionally in quite some time. Well, except for forgetting to hook him back up to oxygen. Once. Maybe twice.)

Hubby has defied the odds since time of diagnosis. Ten years ago, prostate cancer with mets to the lymph nodes. Now in the bladder. Bones. Liver. He shouldn’t have lived this long.

Maybe what Hubby wanted to teach us was this sitting still and acknowledging all that is precious around us. This slowing down. This drinking in peace. And as we watch and wait together, this counting of blessings. These grown children and children-in-law. The meal that will be delivered later this evening by friends. Snow falling.

Nurse Melinda said there’s no way of knowing how much longer Hubby has. “But he’s broken all the rules so far,” she says again. I love that I’m married to a tenacious rule breaker.