Tuesday, January 09, 2007

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Staying Alive

These have been difficult weeks. First my cousin who is very much my brother, almost died. He had what doctors call The Trifecta--pneumonia, heart attack, and internal bleeding. The doctors said most people do not survive the Trifecta; but Jerry came through it. He has been diagnosed with Heart Failure and Emphysema so far. He may have Lymphoma too, but test results are not in yet. Today, our daughter took Jerry home and anguished over Jerry's weakness and his ability to sustain himself alone in his house. I may have to go back to Philly and bring him down to our house in Delaware. He will make that decision.
Through these weeks, it has been an emotional roller coaster for all of us. Jefferson was just about to send Jerry home more than a week ago, then he began to run a fever. Suddenly, his lungs were seen to have an opaque white surface. So more tests were run and Jerry stayed at Jeff. His house was broken into; the back door was smashed, but nothing was taken. The family divided trips to Jerry's house to water his plants. Jerry has a very green thumb with beautiful huge trees to little baby plants in every window. Our son kept track of Jerry's bills and kept everything running smoothly.
But serious illness puts a strain on the whole family. I had my first formidable lupus flare in more than a year. Our son and daughter have run themselves ragged trying to work, attend classes, run a household, and look out for Jerry. Jerry himself is very frightened and still ill. This situation is not just happening to our family--it is occurring across the nation, sometimes much worse. I am most grateful we still have Jerry, and that we, and he, had the wherewithal to get to this point.

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