Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Decision

$$$ FINAL UPDATE - 4-5-10 11:30pm $$$

This is an entry by Don, Charles' father.

Dear Family and Friends:

First, we appreciate all the comments that have been posted to Charles' blog. Every one of them are read to him and he enjoys them.

This has been quite an emotional day for all of us.
We met today, Charles' family and Karlin, and visited about Charles' continuing care. The OHSU Oncology Social Worker had given us information about a hospice not far away. After our discussion we decided to go and visit that hospice: Hopewell House Hospice. We were all impressed and felt it would be a wonderful place for Charles. They can handle all his needs. It is in a wooded area and they encourage patients to go outside, wheeled in their bed, to be in the sun. It handles 11 patients. Charles is second on the list after another OHSU patient. We all felt good and agreed, and notified OHSU upon returning. The move is in the works.
After we returned Dr Spurgeon came by to visit. He wanted to talk about what Charles will need and won't need for care at the hospice. First, Charles had a question for him. Charles wanted to know how long he had. After a moment, the Drs answer was "weeks." Charles accepted the Drs response like the trooper he is. There were few dry eyes. Then, the Dr explained that many of the meds that Charles is getting won't be necessary at hospice. He will still receive pain medication, the same he has been using, that works well. They will discontinue TPN (liquid IV nutrition). The Dr explained that it is not doing much for him now. I might add at this juncture that a few days ago Dr Chen asked what Charles wishes were for life support if/when the situation came in his care. He advised that he didn't want it. In hospice he will be in a very pleasant surrounding and have all his needs met for comfort and peace.
Charles is in little pain even though his body continues to weaken. He has that wonderful little chuckle that I'm sure you have all heard a "million" times. His mind is sharp. His jaw and tongue don't work so well which makes it difficult to understand him when he talks. He has lost the use of his left arm and most of the use of his right arm. With all this his spirit is bright and NO COMPLAINTS!!! He has wanted Sprite and Root Beer. Because his gut is pretty well healed he can have some. Problem is he can't swallow well. So, he receives a few drops from a spoon. He enjoys that. Today Karlin's mom sent some chocolate. Charles wanted to know what it was. After explaining he said he wanted some. We asked the Dr and he said a small amount. So, his mom smashed the chocolate and melted a small piece on the end of a gloved finger and rubbed it on his tongue. He liked that.
Another difficult part of the day was that the word got out on the floor that Charles would be leaving soon for hospice care. Well, the nurses, CNAs and others just love him. Today, after shift, 1 nurse and 1 cna, that have cared for Charles many times during his 3 and a half month visit, came by. They didn't want to miss saying "Goodbye." Again, not a dry in the room. The nurses, CNAs and others are so WONDERFUL!!
Charles' brother, Matthew, brought him a comic book. It is a new one and will probably not have a sequel. Here is Daniel reading and showing The Governator to Charles. It's about a mythical governor of a mythical state. Hummm. Right up Charles alley for a good look, a good read and a good laugh. He liked it.

We go from day to day. Thank you for your love, support and prayers. dg


  1. Thank you for keeping us posted. Charles means so very much to us and we can't imagine how difficult this has been for everyone there.

    Love to you all.

    Jonathan & Jessica

  2. Peace be with you, Charles, as you transition into what comes next. If you need or desire, I do volunteer hospice body and energy touch to aid in this transition. It would be an honor to see you again. Prayer and strength for your family, now, too.

    (503) 481 5591

  3. My heart aches for what you are now experiencing after such a long journey. Please know that you are in our prayers for peace and strength! We know a loving Heavenly Father is there to sustain us.
    Love to all..your cousin,
    Diane Packham

  4. Aaron, I can't really make words come out that seem right but I wanted you to know that you and your family have been in my prayers. I have always appreciated your smart and subtle humor and unending kindness; from way back when you and your brothers would let me walk home from grade school with you to being a gentleman at church dances. You are the best kind of person.

    Sarah Armstrong

  5. You are in my thoughts and prayers big guy!

    Brett Evert

  6. Love you dear nephew. You're an inspiration to all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you for your peace and comfort. May the Lord bless all of you. Hugs to you, Karlin and all of your family.
    Love, Uncle Lee and Aunt Pam

  7. My godmother was at Hopewell House and it was a wonderful environment, so caring and peaceful for patient, family and is in such a beautiful setting.......may you all experience it's healing power, Tricia

  8. My heart aches. Peace be with you Charles.
    Lori Johnson

  9. charles, i hold your hand in my head on a regular basis and hope that the positive energy makes all the way there.

  10. Charles, Just know that we all love you and are all thinking about you. Peace and love, Ruth

  11. Charles, We love you! After seeing Karlin yesterday, and hearing her talk about the hospice house, we are excited for you to be able to experience a new and beautiful environment, with great care and opportunities. Since we saw you last, at the pumpkin patch with Momo and Kar, Wade and I have dearly missed your calming presence and subtle (fantastic!) sense of humor. You are so special and inspiring!

    Love, Wade and Elizabeth

  12. Charles,We want you, Karlin, and your family to know how much we are praying for you during this transition time; trusting our Heavenly Father for His never failing comfort and peace specifically for all of you. He loves you beyond comprehension! May Hopewell House be balm to your souls and hearts. Lovingly, Monte and Lori Hammond (Elizabeth Johnson's parents)

  13. My heart goes out to you and your family at this time. May God bless you and your family. May you find peace, strength, and comfort in knowing that we have a loving Heavenly Father who will always be there for us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Love from your cousin,
    Lisa Becker

  14. Charles,

    My thoughts are continually with you,Karlin,and the rest of your family. What a long, hard road it has been for all of you. I hope that the next stage of your journey will be one of relief and peace. Your Bookstore family misses you so much and your strength is what keeps us strong.

    I love you lots!!

  15. Chip- I never in a million years thought it might come to this and I am truly saddened and heartbroken for you and for all of your loved ones. I am pleased to hear that the facility you are moving to will be warm and peaceful and that you will make your own choices about what is next on your journey. Words cannot express how cool you are. You are a wonderful person with a wonderful spirit and touch many people in so many warm and positive ways. Never forget that you have the best family and so many friends who love you very, very much.

    Peace, Love and Hollywood kisses - Natalie

  16. Charles,

    If it is OK with you, we're praying for a miracle.

    --Glenn & Joan Sage

  17. Amen to that!

    Jonathan Westfall

  18. Charles,
    May the very best come to you and all those who have been with you these past months. May bright spots be ahead, unanticipated and larger than imagineable. Our thoughts are with you.
    Jim & Tricia

  19. Charles,

    I've been following this blog since the beginning. I've never known what I could say to you, so I've always stayed silent, but kept you on my mind and hoped that your strength and the love around you would keep you safe. I've checked this blog everyday to see how you were improving.

    My heart aches now. You've been so amazingly strong, and I'm not sure how much you know it. What you've done, with all you've been through, is truly admirable. You are a source of strength to everyone who knows you.

    I will never forget your face and your sense of humor. I'll never forget the picture of the "eifel tower" that hung overhead in the Duck Stop coffee bar (Hehehe!). I will never forget the joy you brought to Karlin and the sweet way you always treated each other.

    You make me so grateful to know you.

    Thank you.