Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All Is In God's Hands, Always Has Been

It's Tuesday, May 17, 9:52p.m.

I have no idea how to write this post.  There's no "sample template" available to help me even just begin to write.  It's the second most unpleasant post I could ever imagine composing, with the #1 most unpleasant post being the one I'll have to send when Paul finally joins Eric in heaven.

........Geesh, I've just been sitting here for a long long time now just looking at this page......It's blank, I'm blank.......  

Ahhhhh, if he could, I can imagine Paul saying, "Yeah, ok, it's tough, so get going!  Do what ya gotta do."

Some of you have said that I write well.  Not this time.  Nope.  I just don't feel clever or smart enough anymore.  So I'll just have to do it.

Paul has quickly become very sick in the last few days.  It started with a little chest congestion and a low-grade fever one night.  Every breath was labored with gurgling sounds.  His blood pressure dropped, and his pulse was 135.  The congestion developed into full blown pneumonia almost overnight.  As of tonight (Tuesday, May 17) it has been three days since he has been able to eat or drink, and the last word I've heard him speak was "No" three days ago when I had asked him if he was hurting.  The first day he slept until 4:00pm without awakening at all.  The congestion was gurgling louder and louder with every breath he had taken during the previous 24 hours.  I could hear the gurgling from the kitchen.  Naturally I'm scared.  Emergency phone call to Elaine, our hospice nurse/angel.  She arrives minutes later, completes her triage.  She makes phone calls.  Within 20 minutes, equipment begins being delivered to our front door:  a nebulizer to ease his breathing, powerful antibiotics are delivered, oxygen tanks, suction machines, medicines...I feel like the troops have arrived and it gives me such hope.  We're doing something!  He's not responding much though.  His fingers are blue.  A foot is swelling big time.  He's in pain, and still gasping.  And Elaine is in total tunnel vision focusing on Paul.  She's stroking his face, massaging his neck, calming him, speaking to him so sweetly, but yet in total control, making him feel her confidence that all is well.  He relaxes visibly.  I'm watching, falling to pieces.  But hopeful.  Very hopeful.  He's tough and strong:  He's a soldier!  We'll pull through this.  I just know we will, but only if we recognize that this strength and hope can only come from God sending His batallion of volunteer angels.

[Hindsight is always so clear.  The night I wrote my previous post (on May 14) where I was crippled by my anger towards God, was just after I had heard Paul's first gurgling breaths.  And I guess now, that I was sensing what was to come in the following days.  I was so frightened that it evolved into anger.]

My son Ben is coming here from Lafayette, LA on Wednesday.  Paul's Mom and Dad will arrive on Thursday.

Round the clock Hospice nurses are available to camp here for the duration.  I have requested their presence only during the daytime hours.

Well, I've just spent so much time sitting here drawing a blank, then typing, then drawing a blank that it is now officially Wednesday, May 18, and it's 12:59 A.M.  And I'm finally tired enough to sleep.

So, the "official" prediction is that if this decline continues Paul has less than a week here with us before he joins Eric in heaven.  But no one has a magic crystal ball.  We all know it's not in our hands.  All we can do is gage our reactions and predictions according to human historical statistics tied to glioblastoma multiforme brain tumors.

This morning I was simply asked, "Do you want Paul to die here at home within the week, or over at Odyssey House?"

Here, at home, where he most longs to be.      


  1. Dear Sister in law...Carleen:
    We teach our children to recite "What is your only comfort in life and in death?
    Answer: That I am not my own, but belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ."
    Brother Paul may not be able to say that now, but we can say it for him...and believe it for him.
    During this time you have been a conduit for that "comfort" both to Paul, and his family. We honor you, and thank you, for your example of faithfulness.

  2. I love you and Paul so very much, more than I can express, and wish I could be there to help somehow...I only hope that Ben can convey my love and support! Please let me know if I can help in any way.


  3. Dear Carleen,
    Let me introduce myself to you . . . My name is Robin and I went to Wheaton Academy with Paul. Dan and Joy welcomed me into their family and Dave and Paul became like brothers to me and Dotti a sister. So, I have been following your e-mails and blog postings (sent via Dave) and I want you to know how much I have been praying for you these past six months. Sorry that I am just now letting you know. I am so happy that Paul has had you by his side. I will be praying to our Heavenly Father a lot these next few days for you. He is real and He cares and He will give you tender strength and a deep peace. And by the way, you do have a phenomenal gift of expressing your thoughts and feelings in writing! Much love, Robin Kirk

  4. Carleen,
    Thank you for the courage to write down and share your feelings as you go through this most difficult time. You are an excellent writer. Paul is in the best hands, yours, the hospice folks, and God's. I commend you for having him with you at home, where he would most want to be.
    Lucy "Juice" Young
    VT-21 shipmate

  5. Dear Captain Terhune,

    I have never had the pleasure of meeting your angel Carleen, but as usual, your ability to pick the best is evident once again. Her words and deeds have those of us, separated from you by great distance, capivated and in awe. If you are called to our Maker, as we all must be, please explain to God that as Marine and Naval Aviators, we all knew the credit for our successes belonged to Him. Paul, I will remember you best as the rsmrod straight, perfectly groomed, impeccibly uniformed Marine A-4 Instructor who taught me patience and skill; which I then passed on to others... exactly as you told me to. Peace to you in your fight, brother Naval Aviator, we are fighting with you in prayer, Doug Baile