mortality

Sam’s ok, but he didn’t look too good when I got there. Hooked up to an oxygen tank and his face looked drawn, tight, like he’d aged a lot in the past two weeks. I diddled around with replacing the battery in his Bose remote before sitting down and checking in. He just about lunged for his standard hazelnut black (we always have this issue about letting it cool down enough so he doesn’t burn himself), so I knew he was “ok” in general, but I worried something “big” had happened. I said,
“Looks like its been a rough couple of weeks since I’ve seen you?”
“Yeah.”
“Sonofabitch.”
“Sonofabitch.”


Then he told me he had bad hearing today. He didn’t look like I’d understood him right (his speech was tough to understand today), so I asked him if that was what he said. After a few trials I learned that actually, Pat Neary visited today. 🙂 Along with Phil and Lorraine. We laughed at the absurdity of my first grasp at “meaning”. Talk about an opportunity to work on telepathy!
He was pretty quiet. There were lots of silences. He moved slower than usual (which is pretty slow). He had some KFC that I brought, and told me he’d “get to” the root beer later, after he downed the coffee. 🙂 Anyway, I really wanted to know what the heck had happened, but he was really having a hard time with speech, so we started to play 20 questions. I probably never would have figured it out except one of the aides came in to check his vitals, and Sam gave him permission to tell me. “Flu.” Sam and I laughed pretty hard – there I was all worried one or more of his organs was checking out and he was just recovering from a bug! Sam seemed to enjoy that I was so worried; Kevin said of course! That’s how he gets his “sympathy chicken”!
I did take the opportunity to pester him about how people would find out if something serious happened and any of us actually wanted to be there asap. We never talked about that before. (His first year in the nursing home we talked a lot about death and dying and there was a pretty long spell – a few years – when suicide was on his mind quite often.) So, we didn’t talk about it anymore tonight either, just posed the question. Does he want people to come and be with him if there’s warning and time? Or would he prefer to be alone?
The only system now is that the staff would notify Paul Gustafson. And then Paul would have to let others know….I asked Sam if he wanted to add anyone else to the list of people that Eden Park should call right away. We’ll see what he says.
Meanwhile, he told me David Corey was in the hospital for cancer. 🙁
And he finally called Mangeca about three weeks ago, and found she went home to Brazil for a month. They’re not sure if she’s out of the woods yet or not. He compared me to her later in our conversation…said he wondered what it would have been like to have us as students. 🙂 He was responding to a story about my latest escapade in school. Ironically, I had brought with me the last two blogposts about him to hear what I’d written and the comments people had posted. As I read them tonight there he was talking about his own failed efforts to act as a spokesperson. 🙂 Funny how that conversation happened only a month ago…prescient, perhaps?
Anyway, he described himself as a “great reader of graffiti”, and one of his favorites is:
“Immanual Kant but he never could.”
I am gonna miss this guy.
A few messages: Nona, thanks for the info about Sam’s parents and also the picture of Cody. Sam said he can’t tell who Cody looks like…does he have a strong family resemblance to anyone? And he LOVED the story about Clarence, and why he went into the army! He grinned and nodded like crazy. 🙂
David, Sam said, “I didn’t know your wife’s name until tonight.”
Mangeca and Samir: you’ve been added to the list of folks who get notified when I (Steph) post about visiting Sam. I always read to him whatever comments people make, as well as share direct emails and jokes with him. So feel free to join in!

3 thoughts on “mortality”

  1. Hi all, Yes, Phil, Lorraine & Molly (the dog) & I visited Sam today and learned a lesson.. check on his health before we go. We know he will be there , but he was REALLY too tired and weak to enjoy a visit. He may have been ready for his nap right after lunch, which is when we arrived. The aide indicated that a “viral thing” is going around Eden. We too, fiddled with the Bose, as the speakers didn’t seem to cooperate. (It was unplugged when we arrived)? I told Phil & Lorraine that it probably needs someone with a higher I.Q. than I had. Phil said that the three of us TOGETHER must have at least 100, therefore we should have been able to figure it out! Upon arriving in Sam’s room we really thought he was in worse shape than he is because of the Oxygen machine and his less than usual color. I hope he recovers quickly! Pat

  2. Hi Steph….once again, thanks for all you are doing! Tell Sam when Cody was a baby several of us thought he resembled my dad. Now I think he looks more like his father, Larry. He really is a good looking young man (grandma speaking). We received some more pictures but they take forever to download so I will not forward…he looks very tired and in one you can see blood spattered on his vest…ah the war. There is a possibility he will be home in May. I, being the pessimist, can only think how he will have to return. Janine is actually retiring from teaching this year! I hope she makes it…gets so very frustrated with the students and parents. She has been teaching 6th grade math. Peggy travels quite a lot for the Mirage…U.S., Mexico and Canada. She, as well, is tired of working. Kelly, Larry and Cory are pretty uptight re Cody. Cory is working on well rigs much to his mother’s dismay, but he purchased a red Dodge Durango that has to be paid for! Kelly is really doing well in school…works very hard for her straight A’s. I have not been working at the wineries as much lately, business is slow right now. Janine and I have a trip planned to Europe in September. This will be a first for me. Best quit chattering..
    love, Nona.

  3. Hi Sammy, et.al.’
    Sounds like you gave everybody a big scare, then took the perverse joy of doing so!!! Glad to hear you are better.
    Remember when Mom & I were visiting last Valentine’s? We had a specific talk w/ nurses at the nurses’ station, and the social worker, about having Mom & I added to the list of people to inform &/or share info about your physical/medical welfare. Since Steph has said that the only person they have on file is Paul, I’ll try to find out where the slip-up is. (We were assured that the proper documents would be drawn up and you gave your verbal assent for staff to utilize your signature stamp.)
    Steph has brought up some very good points. You and I haven’t talked in a very long time about what your wants and needs might be when you leave us (temporarily in my view). Death is the only way out for any of us, but you know I believe in a higher “Plain,” and I’ll meet you there.
    It’s your call of course, but it would really help those of us who love you to know what your wishes are, as Steph said, if there is time. If you have someone w/ whom you would like to share your departure, it’s important to let them know. I know it’s a decision only you can make. But you also know I have a bias for living life consciously, not just letting life happen to you. I believe we all want the most peaceful and supportive environment possible for you. That said, I love you and will support whatever path you choose.
    I do hope you rec’d the letter I faxed last Sunday, along w/ the jokes. I also sent some jokes for you to share w/ Steph and the staff. Have been battling roof leaks and techno-gremlins for the last few weeks. Hope to get everything sorted out when it finally stops raining and snowing!! I think we’re almost out of our drought. Calif. seems to really be getting hit w/ rain.
    I miss you so Sam, wish I could visit on a regular basis. You’re in my thoughts and prayers, much love, Jennifer

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