May 02, 2005

Monday Update

Donel in blogging mode with oxygen.


This morning my bathing aide, Michelle, came by so I am clean and Keri lotioned. The advantage of having Michelle Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is the simple savings of breath and energy. I get pretty winded when I do the bath/shower myself. It also gives us a rapport which will be useful when bed baths become necessary.

Later, Hospice nurse Nancy assessed my condition. My current medication seems to be working well and we won't change anything at the moment. My feet are gathering more fluid and I'll be wearing adjustable sandals when I go out in the future since shoes no longer fit. I had expected this so it is nothing surprising. I can help a little bit by cutting down on salt and keeping my feet elevated, which I already do most of the time in my recliner.

I am accumulating more abdominal fluid which further restricts lung capacity. This is a product of the tumors and probably won't be drained because it would be replaced fairly soon. Otherwise there isn't much change.

I am using oxygen for part of the day to make breathing a little easier. It becomes harder to climb the stairs at night for bed. Nancy suggests that 20 minutes before I go up the stairs I take oral morphine. This is to increase oxygen flow to the blood rather than pain relief, although it can be used for that as well.

Nancy seems surprised that my enlarged liver isn't painful. I take that as another blessing. Appetite remains good.

Nancy also suggested that we keep an emergency kit available at all times — oxygen and morphine. That is in case there is an episode of some sort which requires quick response. Having the appropriate medication will relieve anxiety. Nancy will be back Thursday to check on me.

All in all I am feeling well, but am aware of less energy because of decreased lung capacity. Life is good and friends abound. Thanks be to God.

Posted by Donel at May 2, 2005 06:26 PM

Dear Donel, You said you didn't plan to come back as an English or literature teacher . . . or even a fat and sassy hound dog. You said you thought you'd enjoy being Donel forevermore.

Well, I've been studying my Bible and I don't think you've always been Donel. I was reading the writer of Ecclesiastes and you sure talk alike . . .

"After looking at the way things are on this earth, here's what I've decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that's about it. That's the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what's given and delighting in the work. It's God's gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It's useless to brood over how long we might live." (Eccl 5:18-20 The Message)

Of course I have no way to prove this link between you and the old timey writer but it gives me comfort that you are embodying this sage advice . . . no matter how it got into your brain! Enjoy the recliner and be sure to get some of those elastic stockings - but have the g-kids decorate them with permament markers as they are so boring! Jennifer

Posted by: Jennifer at May 2, 2005 07:11 PM

I love Jennifer's comments. She seems to be able to combine the sacred and the secular in a manner that is uniquely understandable, touching and humorous. I have a wonderful memory in my mind's eye of Jennifer and Donel conducting worship together - neither one quite knew what to expect from the other, but it always came out just right. I feel that this relationship continues on the blog, and it is a beautiful thing to witness. After seeing you two together, it is perfectly clear that God does have a sense of humor. May The Spirit bless and support you both during this tender and poignant time.

Posted by: Etta at May 2, 2005 07:45 PM

Oh Donel,

Who might continue the blog
Ministry you have begun?

When we see no more pictures of your radiant peace, calming us with each step of your dance?

When your daily curiosity and amazing grace is no longer available to us, as Divine inspiration, a mouse click away?

Perhaps God chose you to channel His new book as blog, for easy access, and wide distribution. Now, an on line congregation of witnesses to your abiding faith, compassion, dignity, wisdom, humor, candor, and love... respond with creative hearts to your blog. and your next idea?

You may be Minister Emeritus for Bellingham Congregational, but you are Minister Activo for the Blog Congregation. Thank you, on behalf of unknown lost sheep you have gathered, struck by the message, and the messenger.

Yesterday on the ferry home to Orcas, I thought about your congregational life. I wrote something; it seemed not good enough to send you.

Then I read your tender Sunday church experience. I was thrilled you had a taste of what you've been giving out for years! So I rummaged around with new words, disturbing the poem in process, & put it awkwardly on your Sunday comments, with love. How perfect you are always a minister of God. He has sent His finest in you!

With great admiration,
One of your older Jennifer's

P.S. Your Old Testament lessons have stayed with me for decades.... Thank you, in case I never told you.

Posted by: jennifer johnson fralick at May 2, 2005 11:23 PM

To Jennifer of the first comment above:

Where does one find Ecclesiastes stockings?
Is that what you have after the grandkids write on them?

Posted by: Jennifer J.F. again at May 2, 2005 11:33 PM

Your serenity, as you sit there blogging, just blows me away. What lessons you teach!
So you are going to have your blog published as a book, are you not? Your words are far too important to not be available to those who are computerly challenged, and those of us who will want to savor them long after you are busy doing more blogging on the other side. Maybe Martin can figure out how to make that blog manifest when the time comes, what interesting reading that would be. I thought "Tuesday Afternoons With Morey" was good, you're better! He didn't have your spiritual take on things.
Thank you, thank you, and thanks also to Marilyn, Jeni, Dani, Martin and your many thoughtful, literate friends who write such wonderful commentary and poetry, I look forward everyday to the latest installment of your work.
What a gift.
Love, to you all, Ruth

Posted by: Ruth Abel at May 3, 2005 02:04 AM

Dear Don,
I do agree--it must be a book! Perhaps Martin will do it for us? All your wisdom must be kept. I know I will need to read it many more times in the future. Or doe the Bolg remain on the computer forever?

Posted by: Peggy W at May 3, 2005 05:34 AM

Dear Don,

Thank you so much for the wonderful picture. How can you look so handsome when all that "stuff" is going on in your body? It's a miracle.

I agree with our old friend, Ruth Abel, about publishing this blog. I read it every day and often refer to previous listings. Not only do I not want to let go of it but I don't want to let go of you and publishing a book is one way to have both.

I wish the Hospice system had been in place when my father was ill with cancer. It would have made it so much easier on my mother who cared for him every day.

My love to you and Marilyn, Dani, Jeni, & Martin.


Posted by: Anita Collins at May 3, 2005 09:42 AM

Any publication of the blog will be left to others. It is nice for me to be able to so neatly divide what concerns me and what does not.

Remember that Marilyn has published two books, Martin is graphic designer, and Dani is a book editor.

If there is gold among the floss, I am sure it will find its way into an appropriate form.

Posted by: Donel McClellan at May 3, 2005 11:43 AM

Yesterday I was telling the girls that our new neighbor's brother had died. Here's the conversation that followed:
Claire: "Was he sick? Is that why he died?"
Me: "No. Sometimes people die unexpectedly. You never know where life is going to take you."
Claire: "But, I thought only sick people like Amelia and old people like grandmas and grandpas die."
Amelia instantly slaps Claire on the arm, not liking the implication...
Claire: "Well, I guess it wouldn't be THAT bad to die. I mean, it's always fun to go someplace new, right? But, I'd miss the birthdays."

Posted by: Pam Murphy at May 3, 2005 12:09 PM


You are truly an inspiration.

I remember when you comforted me when my father went to the Lord a fews ago. It meant so much to me, especially as you spent time praying with me. It gave me strength and the ability to endure what must be endured.

And now, you are still ministering to those around you and across the nation as you must endure. I pray the Lord will lift you up and continue to offer his strength to you.

God Bless.


Posted by: Susie C. at May 4, 2005 12:37 PM
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