Thursday, July 18, 2013

In heaven?

The palliative care consultant visited yesterday to review the situation. We talked at length about the temperature spikes and decided to give a background dose of brufen, with paracetamol held in reserve for 'breakthrough'. This is possible because of the gastrostomy tube that's still in place, for which we are extremely thankful. We're also able to give a subsistence dose of water, about 450ml. Given that Pads last 'meal' was some days ago, I was concerned that he might be feeling very hungry but there's no evidence of that and, in his current state, little to be gained from starting the liquid diet again. In contrast, hydration can certainly affect well-being and so the water does help keep him comfortable.
As I watch Padi breathing, varying in noise, rhythm, speed and depth, mostly very shallow, I am reminded of the fact that all of us have a finite number of breaths. We do not know how many, but God does. Reading Psalm 139 at family worship last night in Pads' room, the wonder of God is seen in His complete knowledge. But more than that, God is not merely a database. He thinks about us. And these thoughts are so many for each individual that the writer says they outnumber the sand (v. 18). God thinks about you a lot more than you do about Him.
It is hard to convey how rare and precious are the glimpses we get of Padi. Many times we or a visitor will lean over, take his hand, and say something loving, but they usually have to leave unacknowledged. The consultant mentioned how our role is very much reverted to that of caring for a baby. Yesterday afternoon I caught a glimpse of a smile and perhaps that may have been 'wind'. However, at about 3.30am, while I was trying to navigate us through a bout of moaning, he distinctly said, "I am in heaven". There are all kinds of conclusions that could be drawn from this but it was not the kind of phrase you would expect from someone apparently calling out in pain to the extent that I felt the need to administer the full set of breakthrough medication (400 fentanyl melt, 2.5 midazolam, 200 diamorph). I am bound to connect it with this by Barnes upon upon Psalm 116:15, "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints"...
"...because it furnishes a more direct proof of the reality of religion than any abstract argument could do. How much has the cause of religion been promoted by the patient deaths of Ignatius, Polycarp, and Latimer, and Ridley, and Huss, and Jerome of Prague, and the hosts of martyrs! What does not the world owe, and the cause of religion owe, to such scenes as occurred on the deathbeds of Baxter, and Thomas Scott, and Halyburton, and Payson! What an argument for the truth of religion, --what an illustration of its sustaining power, --what a source of comfort to those who are about to die, -- to reflect that religion does not leave the believer when he most needs its support and consolation; that it can sustain us in the severest trial of our condition here; that it can illuminate what seems to us of all places most dark, cheerless, dismal, repulsive --"the valley of the shadow of death."

There are many more such wonderful sayings collected by Spurgeon. Thanks to Daniel again for pointing these out. See for yourself at 

Picture is a montage of the work Padi did with Pod Clare that I found on his i-pad.

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