Thelma Gauger

Thelma was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer in early October 2013.  Since then, she has gone through numerous chemotherapy treatments, and, thankfully, they have been very successful.   Unfortunately, in late September 2016, her physician consulted with her and said that the chemotherapy she was having was no longer working and, in fact, making her sicker.  He took her off of the chemotherapy treatments ASAP and told her that he had one more type of chemo medication that he could give her in a pill form, but he needed her to be stronger in order to take the medication.  He asked her to come back in a few weeks so he could see where she was at as far as gaining more weight and strength.  When she met with her physician in early October, he indicated that at this point with her lung cancer he felt that she was not a good candidate for the "chemo pill," and that he would prescribe her pain medications if she felt she needed to take them and that he believed that she no longer was able to live alone since she was not strong enough to take care of herself.  She could walk and with her oxygen 24/7 across the room, but she could no longer drive and often had difficulty breathing from exerting herself just by doing normal activities like warming up food from the night before for a snack, getting a drink of water or using the bathroom.  At that point, she temporarily moved in with her son, Erik,  in Menomonee Falls for the month of October.  In the meantime, her daughter, Elizabeth and her family, decided it was time for them to move from Colorado and back home to Burlington, Wisconsin, to assist in taking care of her mother.

The family got together on Friday, November 25, 2016, to celebrate Thanksgiving, and it was a wonderful family holiday.  Thelma declared she was "not dying" and wanted to live life to the fullest.  It truly was a wonderful day for Thelma, Erik (a/k/a Earl) and Elizabeth and their families.

 On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Thelma had her weekly home appointment from the visiting hospice nurses.  The nurses realized she was dehydrated, and they were also told by family members that she was not eating very much over the past few days.  She was admitted to the hospital immediately, and her physician ordered a CAT scan and other tests.  The CAT scan indicated that her tumor had rapidly grown an inch over the past month, and that her kidneys were shutting down (as well as other vital organs).  Her doctor prescribed her an I.V. Morphine drip for the pain as she was having difficulty breathing as well as pain from her kidneys.  On Friday, December 2, 2016, she visited with an old friend she used to work with, Lynette, and she was in high spirits and was very talkative for a few hours in the afternoon.  They spoke about their friendship and when they worked together and when they took a trip to Las Vegas together.  All In all a very positive day for Thelma.  Erik, her son, spoke to her later in the day on the phone around 7:00 p.m., and she was very alert and also very talkative.  A hospital bed was being delivered to her home the same day, and she was released to go home on Saturday, December 3, 2016. 

On Sunday, December 4, 2016, she ate some breakfast (yogurt/banana) , took her medication, and was in her hospital bed all day.  Her friend, Lynette, and family (Elizabeth's family/Erik's family) visited with her, but she was not able to communicate other than a few wispy answers.   Lynette was even astonished that she had a normal conversation with Thelma on Friday at the hospital, and now Thelma was speaking gibberish and just moaning a few answers here and there.  No full sentences.  Obviously, it had to do with the Morphine, but it was just not Thelma. 


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