“Where is your pain?”
He grimaced as he pointed towards the left side of his neck.
“How would you score it out of 10, with zero being no pain and 10 the worst you’ve ever felt?”
Jaw clenched tightly he opened his gritted teeth to tell me, “7 out of 10.”
It looked more like 17.
The pillow seemed to swallow up his head. Loose skin covered his arms and torso, signs of significant weight loss.
“I’m not sure if I’ll make it.”
He was scheduled to be heading home at the end of the month, but I was unsure if he’d still be alive at the end of the week. “I don’t know either, but we’ll take it one day at a time.”
Over the next three days, he worsened each day, heading back home was not going to be an option. The family would have to bring home to him instead. They made urgent plans to travel to visit him. The clock was ticking away his life. Would they make it in time?
Their arrival had a surprising effect.
His face brightened when they came to see him. He became more alert and he was able to recognise each of his family members.
The next day he was able to eat more food.
Two days later he walked to the bathroom without assistance.
Five days later he wanted to go to the home of one of his local children.
His family’s arrival from afar had improved his condition in ways that medications could not.
The power of love had provided him and his family with bonus time. It might not last long but they would make the most of it at home together.
He died twenty days later surrounded by his family.