Health Event Du Jour

From James:

So Young is having more difficulty swallowing these days, as I have said in previous posts, and this has made swallowing pills particularly difficult. This morning, she tried to swallow a pill and threw up, and some of that (or maybe water or food) ended up in her lungs, which is called “aspirating.” Over the next few minutes, her breathing became increasingly labored and loud. It’s hard to describe the sound, but it was a very unpleasant one, as if she was drowning or breathing through water. She said she was having a hard time breathing.

I called the hospice nurse and asked if I should dial 911, but he said he would come over immediately. He got her on oxygen, which helped, and eventually we got her some medication that has also helped. She was pretty exhausted by this crisis and slept all day. I’m hoping that this is a short-term, passing issue, although of course I will be grinding up pills from now on and will remain vigilant when she eats. There is no suggestion yet that I should change her diet. My concern is that almost every little crisis so far has turned out to be either a sign of progression or a cause of additional progression.

Meanwhile, So Young’s Marine Corps Marathon buddies Len and Sara travelled from great distances today to visit her. She slept during most of their visit, and while she was awake she hardly said a word to them, which is typical of her these days, but they were gracious and gave her much-needed human interaction from people she greatly respects, which I think is a lot of what she needs these days, regardless of the “quality” of the interaction from a conventional standpoint.

Sara and Len

I also put up one of her Christmas gifts today, which is a rack to display her various race medals. Each race was no small accomplishment for her, a reflection of a time of extremely vigorous health and her inner qualities of self-discipline and perseverance. She earned every one. I want her to be able to see them every day.



9 Responses

  1. It was clear that she knew us, and knew we were there between dozing. So sorry she had a rough day, but I hope we cheered the evening a bit. It was a wonderful visit.

    • Yes, she definitely did! In fact, this morning she said she didn’t remember the breathing problems but did remember your visit with a smile! You cheered it for sure. Thanks for being there!

      • Oh great. Now I’m crying my eyeliner off. 🙂 I am *so* blessed by you two!

  2. James,

    Your ability to adjust to So Young’s changing needs is inspiring and my respect for you as a man and as a husband grows daily. You are an exemplary model of the care that we should take for our wives, so I thank you for your stellar example of grace and patience. It saddens me to read about So Young’s physical struggles, but I applaud you for hanging her medals to encourage her in a tangible way.

    I am praying for you, of course for So Young, and for Shannon, Lindsey, and Audrey.

    All the best,


  3. I echo Mikael’s thoughts that you’re ability to adjust is really inspiring. I’m praying for Soyoung… tell her I ran my 1st 10k a couple of weeks ago, it was brutal… perhaps, if God willing, I can tell her the story myself in the near future.

  4. So glad that Len and Firecat were able to visit…and I’m sure So Young was cheered up by the visit…as I’m sure the Firecat would cheer anyone up :o) and Len has always been there for all of us “marathoners”. I love So Young’s Christmas present…she is amazing and certainly worked for everyone of those metals. She has always been and inspiration to me…as you are as well. God bless your family…

    • What James didn’t mention here is how much So Young encouraged ME while we were there. When we were leaving, I asked if I could pray with her, and she opened her eyes, looked right at me, and grabbed onto my hand to pray for the infamous “smackdown of healing.” I went to show her support and love, and she–in typical Ruby fashion–ended up lifting me instead!

  5. Please keep posting! Your news, while sad, is always inspiring and uplifting. I agree that your adaptability and care for your wife are truly a model for all of us with our own family members. And So Young’s Christmas present is wonderful…I think it will encourage her every day. I continue to pray for the two of you and the girls. God bless.

  6. […] think that the title of my January 2 post minimized the situation a bit. The “health event” of that day (So Young’s […]

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