Thursday, May 27, 2010


Thanks for checking this these posts the past three of weeks. A bunch of people wanted me to post me and my brother's eulogy, so here they are.. (DREWS IS UNDER MINE)

In the few minutes that I’m given to speak, I cannot sum up the love that I have and always will have for my dad. As you all could probably imagine, my train of thought is moving in a thousand different directions, so bear with me as I put together some words that hopefully will summarize the amazing person that my dad was and always will be to me. First of all, I can say that I have never met such an outgoing, fun, funny, and overall wonderful person in my entire life. He was the perfect dad. Everyone loved being with him- even my friends. My dad and I shared the exact same personality and spirit, especially in the past few years as I’ve grown older. He died in a 55 year old’s body with a 25 year old’s spirit. Nothing could ever take the youth out of him. Whether we were playing obnoxious music on the jukebox at the towson diner to irritate all the other people eating, launching fireworks out of the sunroof, relaxing at the beach, or just going out to get dinner or ice cream every couple of nights, I can’t say that there has been a negative time that I spent with my dad. We would fish together, go to the beach, go to concerts, music stores, and overall just always enjoy each other in whatever we would be doing. He taught me countless things: how to swim, bodysurf, skimboard, skateboard, fish, but most importantly how to love and have a good time. He built me, drew, and the rest of the neighborhood kids a skate ramp that fulfilled half of my childhood. He built a longboard from scratch for us. He was willing to do anything to see a smile on me or my brother’s face. He has brought so much happiness into my life, and it’s so incredibly sad that it all had to end here. My dad would call drew and I every night- I don’t think he would ever miss one day. He always had something to say to cheer me up if I was depressed, and always had a funny story to tell me, or usually a story to back up my story. He had my back on everything, no matter what I was dealing with. My dad loved my brother and I more than anything in the world. He has taught me many things, but most importantly he has modeled the person that I want to be for the rest of my life. In these past three weeks, I have seen how special my dad really is through love from all of his family and friends, the endless stories and continuous support. This is the hardest thing that I have ever had to go through, and I know somehow he will help me get through this. I will never spend one day where im not thinking about him all the time. There is no number for the amount of money I would spend to see my dad again. I know that he will always be with me, and that one day I will be with him again.
Dad, as I said to you seconds before you left us, I love you more than anything in the world and I always will. I will miss you to a level that can’t be explained, and I know that your spirit will stay with me always. You fought an incredible battle that nobody can compare to. Rest in peace dad. There’s no more pain where you are now. You mean the world to me, and I will never forget the priceless moments we spent and will always spend together. I could not have asked for a better father. I love you dad, and I can’t wait to see you again.

These are some of the great memories my dad and I shared:

Going to Rehoboth Beach every year, where we body surfed and laid in the sun; I remember watching him swim out so far so we could hardly see him, and he would swim up to an hour before returning to our section of the beach. Swimming was definitely a passion of his. My brother and I are lucky to have learned from the best. We named some of the waves like Brother Bill and Slappy which we would say as they came our way; he taught me how to fish which was definitely a highlight of going to the beach, whether we fished in the pond at Spring Lake or went to fish at the beach; occasionally, we would catch a lot of fish that he cooked up for dinner. After playing all day, we would eat Grottos, usually followed by mini golf or Funland, and then go to Royal Treat for dessert
Going to various places to eat like Bel Loc Diner, Soursis, San Sushi, Kent Lounge, the Rec Room, and especially downtown in Fellspoint to eat out by the water;
We especially loved going to the Several Species concert (a pink floyd cover band) at Pier Six as we did share the same interests in music
Riding up to Gunpowder for a swim when it was really hot out; he would close the windows and blast the heat to make us really hot before we dove in
Driving up to mom mom’s house to swim in the pool and lay in the sun, followed by a nice home cooked meal from mom mom
I am so lucky to have had such a great dad, I love him so much, and I know he will always be with me in spirit. He will always watch down on us and show us signs that he is here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Viewing and Memorial Service

A viewing will be held Wednesday, May 26 from 3-5 at 7-9 pm at Ruck Funeral Home. The service will take place the following day at 11:00 am at Ascension Lutheran Church. Thank you all for the support.

Hours: 3:00-5:00 pm and 7:00-9:00 pm
Ruck Towson Funeral Home
1050 York Road
Towson, MD, 21204
Telephone 410-823-1700

Ascension Lutheran Church
7601 York Road
Towson, MD, 21204

Sunday 1:30 am

I went back over at 12. I was told that he would probably go during the night, so i told him howmuch i loved him and left the room to call my family. When I came back, he had already gone. My dad passed away at 12:30 am, Monday, May 24.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday 10:30 pm

Just got done visiting him. He's in a deep sleep/coma and is showing no signs of reaction. His breathing is good and there is no congestion that we can hear, but he is taking shallower breaths and the pattern is more irregular. His feet, hands, and joints are starting to lose their warmth; His body is sending the blood to only his brain, heart, and lungs so that he can breathe. This is an indicator that the end is approaching. The nurse told us that it's probably he wont be with us much longer, probably within a day.

Sunday 2:15 pm

Not much to really add, except his feet and hands are starting to get cold as the blood leaves to go to his lungs and heart. His breathing is still pretty comfortable, but he is getting weaker and weaker and his color is starting to fade even more. He hasn't been awake for a few days, and hasn't showed any reaction to us. We're told to expect him to go sometime early this week.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday 5:00 pm

All is pretty much the same, except there's a noticeable change in his color fading. He seems pretty comfortable.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday 11:00 pm

He's been asleep all day, and we're not expecting him to wake up for the rest of the time that he has left. His color is still good and his organs are functioning properly, but it's only a matter of time before things start to shut down. Visitors can still come by. It doesn't look like it will be within the next day or two.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday 9:45 pm

He's been asleep all day-he hasn't really opened his eyes and hasn't been responding to us. From what it looks like, we should expect him to only get deeper and deeper into this. His kidneys are still functioning and his color is still good, but he's getting progressively weaker and eventually things will begin to shut down on their own. Visitors are still welcome to come; He can still hear you and acknowledge your presence.

Visitors today: Tod and Beverly, Drew (Pappy), Lyle, Tom Graf, Chris Brown, Diane Angelo

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday 10:30 pm

We just got done visiting with him for the night. Surprisingly, he's been awake a lot- not really responsive, but his eyes are open and he's been moving around. We put him on the phone with Pappy and his mom, and for both calls he tried to say something (he said bye to both). His breathing is good and comfortable, but he's pretty congested. When we were all huddling over him at one point, he opened his eyes, smiled, and said "how are you". Last night, I said that he was in a coma, as was stated by the doctor. He once again proved her wrong, although he is in some sort of one. He can hear, see, and feel, but cannot talk. He tries though- you can hear a faint voice and watch his mouth move as he tries to respond. He's once again surprising everyone...we don't know for how long though. He will eventually go into a full coma. He definitely looks better than he did last night though. This was day 19.

Tuesday 4:30 pm

He's about the same today, except he's been opening his eyes and moving around a little bit. I know he can hear us, he just can't respond. Keep coming to visit.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday 10:30 pm

He's in a coma right now and will most likely not wake up this time. His breathing is better and more comfortable, but there is still a gap in between breaths. His chest isn't retracting anymore, and he seems calm and easy when he's breathing. No one knows how long it will be- a coma can last anywhere from hours to weeks. Tonight when we went to say goodnight, he half-opened his eyes and tried to say something to me when i moved his pillow. Keep coming to visit because he can still hear you and knows that you're there even if he can't respond.

Monday 2:15 pm

He's been the same since last night- his breathing is a little more shallow though. We got a call at 4am from the nurse that things were changing and that the family should come in, but he's still with us. No one knows when it's going to be, but his color is fading and he isn't responsive. We're told to expect probably a day at most.

Monday 2:00 am

(Read the 12:30 post before this).
I couldn't relax so I just went back over to visit him again. His breathing is still about the same. His heart is working ridiculously hard to power his lungs to give him air (150 bpm). His lung capacity at this time is very small (probably somewhere around 8-12%), so one of his full breaths is equal to about 1/10 of ours. From my view, it looks horrible and uncomfortable, but hopefully it's hurting me more than it is him. We can only use his expressions as signs that he is comfortable, because we aren't promised another conversation with him. His eyebrows were relaxed which is a good sign that he's not in any pain. If his eyebrows look strained in any way, it makes it evident to us that he's in some sort of discomfort. The nurse said that she can't promise anything, whether we will see him awake again or not, but from how it's looking right now, we probably won't be able to "be" with him anymore. The reason is because if he does wake up, the chances are that he will realize how short his breath is and panic, which starts a downward cycle for him. The more comfortable he is, the better. I gave his night nurse my phone number and she will call me if she sees any signs of life from him, even if he just opens his eyes for a second.

Monday 12:30am

Me, Drew, my grandmother and my mom just went to visit him to say goodnight. When we walked into the room, we noticed how big of a challenge it was for him to breathe. His chest would dramatically sink every time he took a breath. His heart rate is 150 bpm. I counted out 11 shallow and unsteady breaths in a minute, meaning that his heart beats 15 times for every breath he takes (there are gaps between each breath). The nurse says that there's nothing else we can do to ease his breathing. The morphine is as high as we can get it right now, so if that's not working than his nervous system may be controlling his breathing, which means the cancer may have spread to his brain. It was very hard for us to see him like this; This is the worse i have seen him yet. We're told this could last hours to days, and that we should next expect for him to go into a coma where he will not respond to us at all. I squeezed his hand as hard as i could, and i didn't get anything in return. We're praying for a response.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday 7:15 pm

Early this morning, his pain medication was increased because his left arm was really bothering him (this has been for about two weeks now). This could be a sign of the cancer spreading to the bone, or it could potentially be irritated from a previous operation, but there isn't a need to further investigate it. He's on another drug now(phenobarb) to help him stay comfortable. According to his visitors earlier, he's been sound asleep all day with the exception of opening his eyes every now and then- no conversation and very slight recognition of his visitors. We're told to keep visiting because apparently "he can hear us even if he doesn't look like it". As of now, he's sleeping and it looks like he's really working hard to breathe- his chest sinks in when he takes a breath. He hasn't had anything to eat or drink all day. From what it looks like now, he will probably be like this for the rest of the night.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday 11:30 am

He had a really good night- he didn't need any breakthrough doses. This morning they gave him less meds, and he's been having some moments where he's completely clear when he talks. He is very comfortable and his breathing is smooth. Although we are supposed to obey the doctor's orders (more medicine), we're modifying them to what we think is best. He's most lucid when his medicine is wearing off, and he can't eat or drink when he's so drugged up, so hopefully we'll find a balance for him... sorry that every day contradicts the next.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday 3:15 pm

He's been awake all day, but hasn't really been too coherent. We held a family meeting to discuss everything with his doctors, and we learned that all of these questions and experiences we're having are normal. Everything that we've been seeing is a "part of the dying process". He is not making sense when he talks mainly due to the fact that not enough oxygen is being sent to his brain. We learned that the morphine doesn't even sedate him- it's main purpose is to control his breathing. The other medications (ativan and haldol) actually work with his brain to produce rational thoughts, which took us all by surprise- we thought they were the reason for his incoherency. We will not be trying to lower his medications anymore, because there's a reason that they're increasing them- it's better for him to be comfortable and asleep than awake and agitated. Everything that we have been seeing is described as normal, and apparently every patient in this facility goes through the same symptoms that he has. As of now, he's awake and pretty anxious, hallucinating frequently. We are going to try to relax him so that he can get some sleep.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday 10:45 pm

He's been mostly asleep the whole day, except for a period of about thirty minutes where he was just mumbling and staring off into space. We consulted my dad's lung cancer specialist and she cleared up most of the confusion i had mentioned earlier. We were concerned about his mental state and why he doesn't make sense when he talks to us, and she believes that it could be due to him not receiving his previous anxiety medicine since his admittance to Gilchrist. To clear up the biopsy story, it has been clarified that even if they had examined the correct lung at the proper time, it still wouldn't have made a difference in his prognosis. We did not make a mistake in putting him in hospice, and it is necessary that he receives this care. We did however discover that his left lung, the one that had been operated on, is basically shut down and not functioning at all due to all of the trauma it had encountered in the past year. On the other hand, 2/3 of the right lung has been taken over by cancer, meaning that only 1/6 of his lungs are currently functioning. We are still working on finding him his balance- he may not need as much morphine. There is a chance that we will be able to even things out so that he can sleep at night and talk and enjoy visitors during the day.

Right now, my mom, George, Tom Graf and I are with him in his room. Suprising everyone once again, he's having somewhat lucid conversations and is making a decent amount of sense. For example, I told him about the sound system i bought for my car which set him on a rant about rap music. He even called his mom to say goodnight and tell her that he loves her. He's still in his other world, but hopefully we will get him back on our side of the planet pretty soon. We're all going to leave in a few minutes- hopefully he will be able to sleep throughout the night.

Thursday 11:00 am

He didn't have any trouble sleeping last night- we both just woke up. His eyes are opened now, and he said even said hi to me, but not much else. He's looking away into space, so it looks like he'll be awake for a little while. This is probably because we lowered his meds- he's not completely knocked out. We're still working on finding a balanced dosage for him. He just got his meds, and they gave him 15mg of morphine, and cut the ativan and haldol in half. His congestion is a lot worse than I've seen it in the past, but his breathing seems fine. He's dozing back off to sleep now. He looks comfortable and doesn't seem agitated.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday 11:30 pm

He was under 15mg of morphine all day, so we didn't spend too much time in his room because he would be asleep the whole time. Joe T came in around 5:00, and my dad seemed to be agitated and was trying to get out of bed, so the nurse increased him up to 20mg of morphine. I'm a little confused with everything that's been going on- here I will try to provide some background info. Keep in mind that I'm not trying to turn anything around- I just have some questions.

If some of you don't know this already, he was diagnosed with the cancer last April with a tumor on his left lung. They removed the tumor without any issues, and he went through full chemo and radiation treatments to get rid of any extra cancer (the treatments ended in february). A month or two ago, I was swimming with my dad and he told me that they found a small mass on his right lung which would require a biopsy. When he went in for the biopsy (for the right lung) six weeks ago, they accidentally examined the left one instead. The results came back anyways, and it showed that the left side was completely clear of anything. He was then supposed to go back to get the right side examined, the one that they were supposed to biopsy in the first place. He missed his appointment due to a case of pneumonia which required him to be hospitalized. A week after this, Drew and I took him into the hospital thursday night because of his shortness of breath, which was the start to all of this. Moving forward, we stayed with him until about midnight as he was getting a catscan. Everything seemed fine- we thought he'd be out in the morning. However, the following morning, we were told that he would have a few hours to two a few days to live. The oncologist told us that 75% of his lungs were filled with cancer, and there was no hope in any treatment working.

Since there was no cancer in his left lung six weeks ago, as shown in the biospy, and that the right side contained only a small amount, it's confusing how 75% of his lungs were taken over by cancer in such a small amount of time. We admitted him to Gilchrist the following day because we were told that he didn't have much longer to live. Here it is two weeks later and he's still here. We will be in contact with his doctor tomorrow in hope to clear some of this up (maybe even look at a copy of the catscan). I'm not speaking for my family in this post, so you can only hold this against me. I'm not saying that this is a misdiagnosis or that he doesn't belong here- i'm not trying to turn things around. I just have a few questions. I will be staying with him tonight. We lowered his morphine and haldol once again in hope to find a good balance for him.

Wednesday 2:30 pm

Last night, he woke up once. Because of his restlessness, the nurse gave him a breakthrough dose, meaning they gave him extra meds outside of his four hour routine. He's back on three drugs now, and it looks like it will stay that way for the rest of the time he has. He's up to 16mg of morphine, 5mg of ativan, and 3mg of haldol (coming from 5mg of morphine and 2mg of ativan). Although we don't like medicating him like this, its for the greater good that he's comfortable. We took off his oxygen because he can apparently breathe fine without it, and plus it was making him uncomfortable. There's not much else to write about- he's been asleep for the past 12 hours. Every now and then, he will open his eyes for a second when someone's talking to him, but he's extremely sedated so he falls right back to sleep. The nurse said that he will be like this for atleast the next 24 hours, but most likely he'll be like this for the rest of his time here- it doesn't look like we're going to be able to lower any of his meds anymore. So, if you're planning on visiting, try not to come with any expectations of him being awake.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday 9:00 pm

I went to school today so my grandmother, Barb, Tom Hammer, and Rob stayed with him all afternoon. Apparently he has been very agitated and stressed all day, really fighting to get out of bed. As a result, we had to increase his meds because his comfort is more important than ours. Although we don't like sedating him, the nurse explained that he is most comfortable when asleep, so more medicine is needed to keep him calm and easy going. The nurse also told us that everything was probably going to begin gradually declining after today, mainly because his organs are slowly beginning to shut down and malfunction. He's asleep now, and looks pretty comfortable. Nothing too exciting for his birthday on his part.. he had a bunch of visitors though.

Visitors today: Tom Graf, George, Marisa, Spike, Mark, Drew and Pam, Joe Hart

Tuesday 10:00 am

Last night, he woke up in the middle of the night trying to make the great escape. Luckily, the alarm on his bed went off, preventing him from getting out of bed. Other than that, he slept throughout the night with no problems. This morning, he's been a little restless and anxious, but he's back asleep now (probably due to the fact that it's his birthday and he wants to get out of here). He drank some coffee, tea, milk, and juice, but he doesn't have an appetite for food. He's got some visitors coming today, so we're going try to make him rest up until they get here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday 9:30 pm

Another exciting day...I wasn't here from three to seven so I got my grandmother to fill me in on everything. Brian and Lyle came to visit while I was gone, and apparently he was awake the whole time, talking and telling stories. He ate some sorbet, vanilla ice cream, and drank a big diet pepsi while they were here. When I got back here around 7:30, he was pretty worn out from his visitors. Spike came back over along with Tom and Penny Graf, and they're still here now. He has been in and out of rationality all night, but mostly out. We cut back on his morphine to 5mg like I said we would. As a result, he's been "with us" more instead of being sleeping all day. Since I wasn't here to experience the full effect, I'm trusting my grandmother in that he was pretty lively and active.

He's pretty confused at the moment- mixing names and faces, and his short-term memory seems to be fading. (For instance, he would say hello to someone and then five minutes later wake up and act like he was seeing him for the first time.) We're all about to go to sleep pretty soon, and it looks as if he's done for the night. I may be going to school a few days this week, so I apologize if the updates are a little more spread out. By the way, my dad's birthday is tomorrow, so be sure to say happy birthday if you come to visit.

Monday 12:30 pm

Last night at six and ten o'clock, we cut his meds in half to see if it would make a difference. He was having more rational thoughts and conversations, and even called his mom to wish her a happy mothers day. He slept throughout the night after receiving a full dose, not waking up once. Although he didn't wake up, we (and the nurse) could hear a lot of congestion in his lungs so she gave him an in-between dose to clear it up a little (he usually gets his meds every four hours). The congestion seems to accumulate in his chest at night rather than during the day. This morning, we asked the nurse to lower his morphine to see if he really needs so much, but she had already given him his normal amount by then. When he's due next, we will experiment by giving him less morphine; maybe he will be more alive and awake. Not much has changed up until now, except we moved him out of bed into a chair. He's not very responsive or coherent because of the drugs, but he can at least recognize his visitors for a few seconds. I'll put another update up later today with the outcome of the smaller dose.

Visitors this morning: Tom Graf, Joe T, Mary Ellen Taylor, Jack Taylor, Ed Taylor, Reggie

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday 7:30 pm

He's been pretty sleepy the whole day, but woke up a few times for visitors. Earlier this morning, Drew, Spike, Tom, and Mark came over to see him (I wasn't here so i'm not sure how coherent he was. When I got here, he was already asleep). Anyways, throughout the day, he's had some mashed potatoes, vanilla ice cream, and drank some water and a little bit of milk. His appetite has been pretty consistent which is good. His breathing still seems comfortable, and they gave him something to drain some of the fluid in his lungs. He's remained stable today; he hasn't tried to get out of bed at all. It doesn't look like he's going anywhere anytime soon. I guess we'll play it by ear...

Visitors today: Drew (pappy), Mark, Spike (thank you for traveling all the way from Washington my dad is blown away that you came), Tom Graf, Chris Brown and his father, Matt, Max and Bob Kantz

Sunday 12:00 pm

He slept the whole night, not waking up once. They gave him the third medication around 10:00pm to make sure he would sleep well (haldol). Ever since then, he's pretty much been out. Every now and then, he will open his eyes for a minute, but then fall right back asleep. As far as breathing goes, he looks pretty comfortable, but the congestion in his lungs is getting worse. A friend of mine, Michael Gallagher, gave me holy water to give to him that his mom brought back from Lourdes, France, so we'll see if that helps with anything. A few visitors are coming today (one coming from Washington state), but there's nothing too exciting planned. Keep the pictures and stories coming. Thanks.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saturday 6:30 pm

He's had a pretty big day today. We put an extension on his oxygen so we could roll him outside in a chair for the afternoon. A bunch of family and friends came to visit, and we all sat around him and ate lunch. He was awake most of the time, but got worn out by the sun about halfway through. He ate a brownie and finished about half of a mango gelati from Ritas. He's still on the same medications and seems pretty content (10mg of morphine and 4mg of ativan). After most of the people cleared out, more came to visit. At that point, he was sound asleep in his chair. He then out of the blue woke up with a stream of consciousness. He was pronouncing his words, and held up a good amount conversations with us for about an hour (he was actually making sense). The sun wore him out, so I'm sure he will be sleeping the rest of the night. I wont be around for some of the night so I'll probably put up another update around midnight or so. Keep the stories and pictures coming ( A bunch of new ones have been added to the album.

Visitors today: Kathy and Steve Weidner, Marisa and Randy Depaulis, Drew and Pam Brancati, George and Patty, Mike and Carrie, Tom Graf, Joe T, and most of my family.

Saturday 11:00 am

He slept from six to eleven, occasionally opening his eyes. Before he went to sleep, he ate a brownie and drank a carton of milk, which is good considering he still has an appetite. Around midnight, he became a little agitated and confused, so they started him back on his third medicine (haldol). Finally, around two in the morning, he went to sleep and slept throughout the night. This morning, he woke up in a more comfortable mood, and surprisingly was still responsive. He responds mostly to music- he can still name titles of songs. His breathing is easy, and his congestion is still about the same. His conversations are pretty irrational; it's pretty evident that he's in another world. He can still recognize visitors and greet them, but after those few seconds, he drifts back into his dream world. The nurses say that this is common, and that he's "reliving his life" in what's called his "life review", which apparently happens to everyone as part of the dying process. We're going to move him out of his bed in a few minutes into a chair so that we can wheel him around outside. So far today, he's had a pancake, a frappuccino, and a carton of milk.We expect a lot of visitors today (there's already 7 now). Keep sending pictures and stories if you have them. Thanks.

Visitors yesterday: Cindy and Leslie, Tom and Penny Graf
Visitors so far today: Family, Drew and Pam, Joe T, Tom Graf

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday 6:00 pm

He's pretty much the same as described earlier- comfortable and fairly social. He took a nap for a couple of hours and woke up a little more refreshed. He's been talking to everyone, and even kept up conversations with most of his visitors. He ate some chicken salad a few minutes ago along with chocolate ice cream and jello. We're still going with 10mg of morphine, but we increased his anxiety medicine to 4mg instead of two due to some emotional distress. I've been receiving emails from some of his friends with pictures and stories, and if you haven't seen already, I've created a photo album which is placed on the top-right hand side of the page. I'm working on adding a link where people can post stories without emailing them to me, but in the meantime, just send them to me along with pictures if you have them ( We don't have much planned for this evening, so feel free to come visit.

Some pictures from college...

On the right hand side, there's a link to a photo album of all of the pictures I've received so far of my dad, so check it out if you get a chance. Keep sending me stories and pictures if you have any (

Friday 11:00 am

Last night, we decided to experiment by lowering his morphine from 15mg to 10mg to see if he would still be comfortable, because with 15mg he was completely out of it. As a result of that, he was awake from 1:00am to 3:30, talking and cracking jokes once again. He was talking to us about making phone calls, working, making sales, reptiles, Pontiac GTOs, weasels, tattoos, dog races and more (most of the stuff he was talking about made no sense). Before he would say something, he'd say, "I'll tell you what". Drew explained to him that he and my mom had been sleeping there with him all night, and he replied, "I might have to leave town". You don't know what you're going to get with him; he's very unpredictable. We're going to keep his morphine dosage at 10mg because he's not in any pain and seems very happy. He's been having conversations with us all throughout the day so far, but frequently hallucinating and reaching out into space. He drank some water, and is hungry for breakfast. He's singing again. Things are turning around for him once again. Feel free to come visit. If you have any good/funny pictures of my dad, feel free to email them to me ( If they're not digital, either bring them in or take a digital photo of the picture/pictures. Also, any stories you'd like to share about him you can send to my email or post as a comment. Thanks.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday Night 12:00 am

Again, there hasn't been too much going on since last updated. He continued sleeping for the majority of the evening, and would sometimes but rarely pipe in on a conversation every once in a while. The good nurse is off for the next four days, so we're hoping for another good one tomorrow. The bad nurse mentioned in earlier posts is now restricted from taking care of my dad, after evidently giving him more medication than he needed, wasting a full day of his remaining life. In lowering the medications today, we have received a little more life out of him, though nothing remarkable; We got a few responses, and some body gestures showing that he heard us.

If some of you reading this haven't visited Gilchrist already and want a mental image, I can briefly describe it. It's luxurious, and surprisingly free, run off of donations and charity fundraisers. His room has a flat-screen tv, a pullout chair that I've been sleeping on for the past 6 nights, two doors with a courtyard outside, and most importantly, it's covered with pictures of him, his friends, and family, ranging from when he was 17 to 54, bringing out happy memories. It's probably the best place where somebody could end their life, especially with the weather we've been given in the past week. Everyone's been coming by to share they're stories about my dad, from childhood friends to college roommates to coworkers. The immediate family has mostly been here the whole time and we've received a lot of support and appreciate it. He has already fought out seven days, which was originally supposed to be less than that, but we don't know how much longer he could have. That' s all there really is to tell right now.

Visitors today- Carrie, Joe T, Rob, Barb and Tom, Drew (pappy), Tom and Penny Graf, George, Joe Hart (chaplin), Drew's friends Preze, Brandon, Lucas, and Casey, and the usual family (my dad's mom, my mom, and drew)

Thursday 6:00 pm

We've discovered that he doesn't need as much medicine as he's been given in the past day. With our 'good' nurse, we have lightened up on the drugs, and through that, he's been talking and waking up a little more, hardly ever lucid messages though. If he does wake up, he just says "hey alex" or "hey mom" and then drifts off to sleep again. His breathing and congestion have pretty much remained the same. He had a moderately high fever throughout the day. A tylenol injection was given to him, lowering his fever down to a 99.5. Barb, my mom, and a few others went to Rucks funeral home this afternoon to pre-arrange the service for whenever the day comes. As far as I'm concerned, there could potentially be a service in Wilmington DE along with one here in Towson (the service in Towson is definite). He hasn't had anything to eat or drink today, mostly due to the fact that he's been too out of it to even acknowledge the fact that he's hungry or thirsty. He's calm and not showing any signs of anxiety or restlessness. For now, we're going to let him sleep and we'll enjoy every moment that he's awake. We're expecting a few visitors tonight- probably just the usuals.

Thursday 3:00 pm

He's been in the same position since last night. Every now and then, but barely ever, he will open his eyes and close them real quick. He hasn't been talking, but he looks comfortable asleep. He's breathing fairly easily, so we're planning on holding back on some of the meds in hope to see some life from him. That's really all that's happened today; nothing too exciting. Drew's friends from Boys' Latin came by and gave him a poster in support from his class.

Since my dad's admission here, he has tremendously brought our family and friends together. Ironically, my grandmother was looking at today's newspaper, and my dad's horoscope read, "You are unknowingly working with others to bring about a wonderful happening. By going where the energy moves you, you wind up in the perfect place, doing the perfect thing".

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday 11:00pm

He's been sleeping all day since the medications have been increased. He opened his eyes a couple of times, but didn't say too much. The nurse earlier today was overly pessimistic on his situation. We were brought a new nurse around 5:00 and she will be with us all night. She agreed in that they gave him too much medicine to sedate him earlier, and that it was unnecessary to induce him so strongly with drugs for the sole purpose in keeping him relaxed. Because of it, he's been out cold the whole day. Anyways, they increased his morphine from 10mg to 15mg, and they will probably remain at that dosage unless more is needed. His lung capacity is decreasing and fluid is beginning to accumulate in his chest. Our new nurse tonight also told us, contradicting the previous one, that there is still a chance that he will have days where he is awake and talking. She told us not to be too confident though, for he could stay like this until the end; but nobody knows. As you all know, he's been surprising every one for the past week. Every doctor has a different story, so we will play it hour by hour, day by day.

Visitors today: Tom Graf, Joe T, Joey Bucci, Lucas, Penny, George, and Drew (Pappy) along with the immediate family.

Wednesday 3:00 pm

Times have changed a little since 9am. They increased his morphine by double the dosage, and he's been asleep since his state of agitation earlier this morning. We've been told how this is part of the process of dying, and probably from now on he will be asleep 95% of the time; but we are advised to keep talking to him because apparently he can still here us. In an earlier post, I said for visitors to keep coming; with this new information, we're now told to limit the visitors to only family and close friends; sorry. If you haven't seen him yet and really would like to before the end, that's fine as long as its brief and quiet. We aren't expecting any more elaborate responses, guitar playing, singing, or stand up comedy from him anymore. The next step is to eventually go into a drug-induced coma, where he won't be able to respond anymore, but once again will be able to hear us. He's peacefully asleep now, and it looks like it might stay that way for a while.

Wednesday 9:00 am

Today, he was very "with it" when he woke up. He was having normal conversations with us all, and overall he sounded pretty good. He wanted to get out of bed; He even tried to stand up several times. This probably had a little bit to do with the anxiety medicine wearing off, causing him to be moderately restless and confused. He wanted to really just get out, as he said a dozen times. We called in the nurse to ask if he could stand up or maybe take his own shower, but she said to let him sleep, so she gave him more medicine and took us outside to talk. She explained that the last few days have been blessings, and we might start noticing some changes in the near future. For everyone who hasn't been keeping track of this whole situation, Drew and I took him into the hospital last thursday, and we were told the next day that he maybe had a day or two. As you can see, he has already fought out 6 with no problem, but apparently a turning point is right around the corner (although nobody can see that except for the nurse). He is losing blood in his feet, which is a sign of him getting closer to the end. His breathing is getting worse, and the congestion in his lungs is accumulating, making him cough more.

Although he would walk out of here in a heartbeat, they won't let him, and in stopping him, they increase all of his medications. He's really uncomfortable and let down that they have to increase his medications in order for him to relax. For future visitors, the nurse told us not to get him as excited as we have been in the past. He needs a little bit more quiet, and less excitement to keep him comfortable and not so anxious. If you do choose to come, which is completely acceptable and wanted, don't ask too many questions that require him to answer, especially if they make him think (Ex: how are you doing- just tell him he looks good). We're trying to avoid any increase in his anxiety, because as a first hand witness it's painful to watch his suffering in constantly being denied from leaving his bed. Don't let this post stop you from visiting him; this is only a forewarning of what to expect and what isn't advisable. Thanks everybody. There's a link underneath labeled "comments" so feel free to leave a comment if you'd like.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday Night

Since the last update, we haven't done too much. He's been listening to his Beatles playlist (and singing) since 10am this morning. We just ate dinner outside and wheeled him to the door so that he
could be a part of it. He's still a little groggy and tired from the huge amounts of morphine, but funny when awake and talking. Tom Graf came back over around 9 to visit. My dad was thrilled to see him although he's been here about a dozen times already. He's been pretty awake the past hour and has been holding good, funny conversations. Sometimes he will talk about something completely off topic, something that flat out makes no sense at all; but he keeps people laughing. I got him to eat tonight; I went to Starbucks and got him a frapuccino. He drank that along with a piece of Drew's graduation cake. Every now and then, he will start to sit up at the end of his bed and say, "lets get outta here. im checking out".

As he said earlier, "Im gonna keep truckin", and we believe it. The nurses say they haven't seen such a fun-loving patient. He continues to constantly smile and crack jokes; even on his death bed. Everyone is enjoying their time with him. His breathing is getting progressively worse, but this is probably the best way that somebody could go; and he's comfortable and that's what is important. It could be a matter of minutes, hours, or days as i said earlier. That's all for now. Up above are pictures from Drew's early graduation ceremony on Saturday. (For everyone who wasn't there or didn't hear about it, BL came to Gilchrist to give Drew his high school diploma early so he could see it.)


Today's been really good. So far, he has eaton some of a breakfast sandwich, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, a cookie, and a ham and cheese sandwich. (Pappy- they brought him pepper-egg for lunch). The visitors today so far are as follows: Carrie, Linda (Tradesman), Rich (Tradesman), Joey, Jack Taylor, Tom Graf, and the usual family. He watched some TV in the morning (5 worst wipeouts), followed by about an hour nap. Tom brought over some speakers this morning to hook up the MP3 player to, so we've been playing Beatles, Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead...etc. through the room all day. The music woke him right up out of his deep sleep. He was completely lucid and comprehendible, and he even held a conversation with us all for about an hour. He played a little bit of guitar, but more importantly blessed us with his beautiful singing voice.

The social worker came in today and pointed out that his inner strength is incredible, which explains why he's already lasted so long with such positive results. She said that if we were to put his situation into someone else's body, they would have been gone a long time ago. He is staying strong for everyone, and he's really happy to see everybody. Keep visiting; he loves it. A source of his unhappiness before Gilchrist was how lonely he was. Since he's been here, he's had endless visitors and it really makes a difference to him, whether he's 'with it' or not. At the moment, he's taking a little nap. We don't know how long he has, minutes, hours, days, weeks...nobody knows. We were told that sometimes the patient will just nosedive right after a period of time where he seems to almost be getting better.

It's 6 o clock now, and he's probably exhausted from being up for so long. That's it for now. If you didn't realize by now, it's Alex making these posts; Tom set me up with this website this morning so I can keep everyone updated even if they can't come and visit.

Monday recap

Hey everybody. Yesterday, as most of you know, my dad had a jam session with Kevin and Mimi. He was singing and playing the guitar, laughing, and talking very lucid. After that, he was exhausted so he took a litle nap. Before he knew it, there were another fifteen people in the room. When everyone left, he ate for the first time in a while, and started going to bed. He didn't cough once throughout the night, and he woke up one time to get a breakthrough dosage of morphine. He slept well next to my mom in his bed, with Drew and I at his sides. Every day is a blessing