Not all of you may be aware of what John is dealing with, although I know some of you are aware. John has terminal cancer now and although we were hoping for palliative surgery this fall, that is not an option now, given his health state.
John has had a couple of hospitalizations over the summer and managed to do one concert- in Collingwood, Ontario, but just recently cancelled his fall and winter performances.
He is now at our home and is enjoying one of his favourite rooms-our family room- surrounded by his books, cd's and stereo, TV and some favourite paintings. He enjoys visitors when he can and has lots of family coming to visit regularly, particularly his children and grand-children who he adores.
Although he is very ill- he still finds humour in many stories, loves to hear them and per usual is always checking on the welfare of everyone else who visits. And, as many of you know, John has always taken pride in his medical knowledge (often acting as pseudo doctor to many of you) and is conversing quite regularly with his medical team with terms even I have to occasionally look up in a medical dictionary. As you can well imagine his team is getting quite a kick out of him- self-diagnosing, using language your average lay person doesn't have a clue about, and participating actively in all decisions, often predicting responses etc. The good thing is that his physicians are typically charmed (rather than threatened) by his style and treat him with such respect and in a sense as almost a colleague. Needless to say- John loves this.
Lots of times I 'm quite happy to leave the room if a procedure needs to done or even a dressing change- No turning away for John! He's right in there, commenting on the color, procedure, type of dressing, palpating, percussing and just contemplating away...as to "what is next"....
(I'm surprised he hasn't taken up to writing his own medical orders!)
But seriously- John is allowing himself to be cared for. All of his physicians and nurses enjoy him and his personal care workers who come in to assist us are asking to be scheduled to our home....just to be with him- Well you all know why...
Yes- his personality is vibrant still, and that is what we all cherish so much. It is difficult to see him fight an illness, but he does it with such class, grace and charm it is rather unique to watch and makes it easier really for the family and I to deal with.
John spends his time watching sports when he can, visits with family and listens to music. Music continues to be a source of enjoyment and I'm sure will comfort him always. And, we are all blessed to have so many performances from him and all those recordings....
One night, when I thought he might be half asleep or too drowsy to respond, I slipped on a CD and said, "I'm putting on a CD of who I consider the best pianist in the world" (the CD was John's Blue Gardenia")...and across his face was the widest smile......That CD is one of John's favorite accomplishments. I wish I could find a blue gardenia to give him.