He will suffer no more.

April 13, 2009

At 8:18PM EST, Norman William Gose succumbed to the cancer he was diagnosed with exactly four months prior.

Once the death rattle calmed down, dad’s breathing began to decline heavily. It went from labored, quick breathing to very slow, exhausted gasps for air. The period just before his final breath, anywhere between four and six seconds would elapse between each inhale.

After about 15 minutes he breathed in two more times, and exhaled one last time.

He will suffer no more.
And he will be missed.


This might be it

April 12, 2009

Within the last hour, Bill’s breathing has deteriorated a considerable amount. His blood pressure no longer registers on our home vitals device. At last accurate measurement, it was about 110 over 60 with a heart rate of 119 beats per minute.

His breathing is raspy from the mucus buildup in his throat, very fast, and labored. He has been unresponsive for several hours with minimal movement in his left arm, which is the only thing that still moves freely.

Other websites have described a “death rattle” associated with the sounds deep from the patient’s chest which occur during the last few hours. Pat and Jimmy agree that this is probably what we’re hearing.

Time will tell.


Answering the call

April 8, 2009

For the past few days, dad has been convinced my brother and I have been in the other room, close by to him. With a great deal of disappointment mom has to break the news to dad that we are not home.

Today mom called the Red Cross to get Geoff and I home. The Red Cross notifies military members of deaths in the family or other equally substantial events. Within about two hours time of my mother calling, the Red Cross notified my ship. Right as I was walking on board after leaving a conference, the Command Master Chief had the message in her hands. After a few minutes of talking, I was on my way off the ship on emergency leave.

Shortly after I got home I poked around online to look for plane tickets. Then I called United to see what they could offer. After about 20 minutes of being on the phone, I had a round trip flight for $310 departing Wednesday morning for Orlando. I simply could not turn those down, given I was quoted tickets for over one thousand departing the same night.

We’re coming, dad. Hang in there just a little bit longer.


Close call

April 4, 2009

This morning Bill emerged from a nearly two-day sleep which alarmed a number of us as a minor coma. He didn’t drink any water or have anything to eat the entire time, only waking long enough to empty his bladder. He has been progressively sleeping more in the past couple of weeks, but this was a 47-hour record for him sleeping.

He has lost close to all control on the right side of his body. His right arm and hand are locked into a relatively useless position, his arm getting smaller from what I think is atrophy. Since the tumor is behind his left eye it makes sense that his right side has just about ceased to work. We’re pretty sure he is unable to effectively use his left eye, as well.

He is eating and drinking fluids again, though not eating as much as he should be.


Tired day in, day out

March 4, 2009

Bill has been exceptionally tired this past week, with dark circles continuing to form below his eyes. His voice also continues to crackle and falter with incomplete thoughts and sentences. He is starting to have a very hard time completing what he is trying to say.

Even despite the failing balance, Bill insists on going out to eat as often as possible. Sustaining quality of life is all anyone can do at this point.

He still has a few tricks up his sleeve, it seems. A few days prior Pat had checked to see if he was alright and the slippery rascal had gotten up and taken a shower, all without Pat’s knowledge while she was doing tax work at home. Pat was a little irked, but let it slide since nothing had happened.


Final visit to the oncologist

February 27, 2009

Today marked the final visit to the oncologist, short of a specific need coming up in the future. The swollen right leg and foot was addressed and the doctor thinks there could possibly be a clot in there, but can’t be certain. Bill more or less declined further action or investigation, a sign that he’s becoming less willing to fight through anything. The other bit of advice offered by the doctor was to set up hospice now rather than later when things became more complicated. Bill wasn’t very thrilled by the notion, but he was more receptive when told it would be just as much for Pat as it was for him.

Bill’s interest in food is diminishing at an alarming rate. Coupled with increasing desire for sleep, we’re fairly certain the cancer is progressing but none of us knows how quickly or how badly.

A Social Security visit is in the works for tomorrow so that disability can be set up appropriately. The office works a tad more swiftly when you inform them it’s in response to a terminal illness. Pat didn’t know there was a Social Security office in Kissimmee – neither did I.

Bill’s ability to walk on his own seems to be quickly fading. This evening Pat followed him to the bathroom, witnessing his legs getting shaky and his balance crumbling. She did her best to hold him steady and keep him upright. Shortly after it seemed to have subsided, Bill took a step forward and fell down. Pat was unable to stop it despite her attempts to do so. He sprained his wrist and scraped his knee mildly from the fall. He wasn’t able to get back up again, so Pat suggested he scoot along the floor until he reached the bed where he could lift himself into it. That was exceptionally tiring for him.

Pat’s new policy for Bill is in effect: if he’s tired and needs to go to the bathroom or to the bedroom, he’s going in the wheelchair.


A new development

February 22, 2009

Pat noticed that Bill’s right leg is starting to swell. From about the knee down to his foot, as best she can see. An upcoming doctor’s visit might yield more information about it but for right now it’s too new to tell for sure.