Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gary Update

It has been a week since Gary was admitted into the hospital. His condition plummeted each day. He had a seizure and they added dilantin to his morphine. Every day they raise his morphine dosage. I visit him every morning and evening and if I have no work I sit with him in the afternoons. He is in and out of conciousness and picks up on conversations from hours or days before. He isn't lucid long enough to get through the living will in one sitting. He's concerned about his homeless and rehab ministry being carried on and he has ordained me to take it over in the event of his death. It is an honor that he has given me that charge.

Bishop Benjamin went with me and Fr. Damian (our priest whom Gary loves) and Bill Gould to visit Gary on Saturday during our heirarchical parish picnic. We took Gary a cheeseburger and some brisket.

Of course, as soon as something like this happens I pick up a lot of work, so I'm juggling visiting Gary and keeping three projects going. Yesterday Fr. Damian spent most of the day with him. We've joked with Gary for a couple years about baptizing him and getting him into a "black dress". He hand wrote a sign for his hospital room: "No men in black dresses carrying water will be allowed in this room." He told me he wished he could live longer to talk to me more about Orthodoxy since we both came from the same protestant tradition. Fr. Damian called me and told me that Gary wishes to be chrismated. If he dies, we will bury him at St. Paisius Monastery where my father in law is buried (and I will be buried, but after I'm dead...)

The medical update is a mixed bag. The lump in his lung is pre-cancerous. They don't know if he has cancer anywhere else, or what is causing the excruciating pain. He has an anuerism at the base of his brain. His kidneys have ceased functioning. They don't know the condition of his heart yet because his health is so bad he can't do a stress test, and he is allergic to the nuclear iodine dye and is too big to fit into a full body MRI machine.

He wanted me to be the person to make his "end of life decisions" on his living will, but because he wants to will his ministry and its assets to me I cannot do that (no one who stands to "financially benefit" from someone's death can make end of life decisions...makes sense.) We've found another friend of his that is willing to do that for him.

The hospital doctor said they are pretty much at the end of their resources. He might be discharged in a few days and will have to go to a nursing home and be treated on an outpatient basis for each individual issue, heart, kidney, cancer, brain and unknown pain. The hospital he is in is an abomination. I won't even try to tell all the neglect and carelessness I've seen in the last week. Unfortunately the only way to get moved is for Gary to request it, but he is too drugged up. We will be trying to get him moved to a better hospital tomorrow one way or another.

If you pray, please do so for us all.

11 comments:

margaret said...

I have been praying for Gary and for you and I will keep on.

elizabeth said...

Lord have mercy on Gary. My small prayers

Fr. Christian Mathis said...

Prayers for Gary, and for you!

Abe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abe said...

I have a friend who has been in the ICU at UofM for a week now. He hasn't had kidneys for over 4 years. His mom's kidney, the perfect match, worked for less than a week before his body rejected it(4-5 years ago). He lost his heart beat for 15 minutes a week ago and is now on a resporator. and we just found out from the MRI that he has severe brain damage. He's currently unconscious, being heavily sedated.
May God have mercy on our friends.

Ali said...

I will be praying for you all. And I saw your comment in response to what I said. I maintain that you absolutely did the right thing. Gary is very blessed and fortunate to have you in his life.

thegeekywife said...

kyrie eleison.

Grace said...

Words fail me. He's blessed to have friends like all of you. I'll add my little prayers.

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

My prayers too. Kyrie eleison......

Fr. James Early said...

Gary is in my prayers.

Dn. Marty said...

I have offered my unworthy prayers for the beloved of God, Gary.