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Update from Greg’s Hospice Nurse

August 29, 2010

Greg has asked me to assist him in writing a brief statement to his family and friends so that everyone is aware of his goals at this time.   He said one major goal is to have his mind in a “tranquil place, void of any negativity.”   In addition to this, Greg’s other most important goal is to spend as much time as possible with Makena and Hana.  While Greg’s friends have been, and continue to be such an integral part of his life, in order to accomplish Greg’s current goals he and his family will be limiting visitors at this time to family in order to honor his goals.

Greg continues to face each new challenge with the remarkable spirit and courage that you all know.   His pain is being managed with medication and he is sleeping more, though he still gets up every day and remains actively involved in the decisions regarding his own health as well as being engaged in the daily activities of his family.  He asks that if you have any business of an urgent nature that you contact his father at Richardcouture@myfairpoint.net or 862-6050.  For questions related to his foundation “MahanaMagic”, please go to http://www.mahanamagic.org.

Thank you for your consideration at this time.

Dina Child RN

Hospice of the Champlain Valley

Hospice

August 13, 2010

I am now in Palliative Care.  It is all about making the patient comfortable and nothing about fighting the disease.

I am registered with Hospice and Visiting Nurses Association.  I am living at home, with 24/7 patient care, Hospice comes to visit 1-3 times per week, to monitor and make me as comfortable as possible.

Everything has been set up so I can die at home, in my own peaceful surroundings.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Love- Greg

Should I Jump???

August 12, 2010

Should I Jump???

On July 27th, I asked everyone in a post their opinion, Would They Jump and Stay in The Building? Sept 11, Twin Towers, both buildings hit by planes, your on the 109th floor, standing at the window, smoke billowing out………

I am now going to give you the medical dilemma I was faced with!

My Oncologist has told me, “Greg, you have a certain amount of time left to live.”

You have 2 medical options left:

  • Chemo Embolization Procedure- involves risk, 6-week recovery, possible quality of life enhancement, fate remains the same, no cure and I will still die
  • Palliative Care- we do NOT treat the cancer, treat the patient, make them comfortable, fate remains the same, you will die. 

Chemo Embolization Procedure.  In this situation, I feel like my body represents the Twin Towers..  Tumors are destroying my insides, growing like the fires are growing in the building.  I did not know the building would implode, but feel the same way about my own body imploding.  If I choose to stay in the building, it will be against all odds I will ever live, and it could be very painful with no return.

Palliative Care- For me, jumping is like Palliative Care.  I know there is no cure, I know  I am going to die, I know my health is failing, if I do the chemo embolization procedure, I endure more pain, miss out playing with my kids during the summer vacation.

After 3 years, I have enough medical information to make solid decisions.  I’ve learned what all the blood work means, what CTScans results look like, and how my tumors can grow so quickly.  Every piece of medical data I’ve been introduced to, is now staring me in the face.

The Answer——It’s Time To Jump!  I want to live my final days in a peaceful, tranquil, environment.

Why Would I Jump?

Control- I make the ultimate decision about how I will die.

Liberation- I am FREE!!! I am liberated!!!  NO MORE CHEMO, NO MORE TESTS, I ENTER INTO a peaceful, serene environment

What Represents Me- Jumping represents my style and how I’ve lived my life!  Thelma & Louise, had their own style in the movie.  They were not going to let anyone take them down, and they were going out with a bang on their terms!  On some level, this represents how I’ve lived my life and how I want to end my life.

Time to Jump Would an Angel catch me on the way down.  Would I do a swan dive– a thing of beauty, without a care in the world, would I let all worldly problems go and just jump in peace?

Makena and Hana- I want Makena and Hana to experience peace, love, and tranquility.  I do not want them to see fear, desperation, or drama, especially when there is no cure.  The experience will be filled with sadness and grief.  The death should not be complicated by other factors, but just for friends and family to give love freely and receive it freely.

Public Apology to Vermont State Police Part IV

August 4, 2010

Vermont State Police

Public Apology To

Vermont State Police

Part IV

The purpose of this post is to publicly apologize to the Vermont State Police for an incident, which occurred the last week of April, 2010.  The Officer did his job, did everything by the book, and did protect and serve.

____________________________________________________

We met on Tuesday morning at 8:30am.  I did not want to be late, as I assume punctuality is very important to the Officer.  I was a real estate agent for 20 years, and dressed prepared to sell a $2,000,000 lakefront home to a buyer.  I wore a coat, no tie, pressed pants, dress shoes, all matching.  I was 15 minutes early to the appointment and waited in their sterile, compact waiting room.   I was comfortable for about 10 minutes, then became nervous, I was on his home turf.  The Officer was 10 minutes late, I’ve been there 25 minutes.  I follow him down the hall.  He is Mr. Military Vermont State Policeman.  He is about 32 years old, shaved head, perfect posture, clothes fully pressed, 6’3” tall, maybe 175 pounds, with focused eyes.   My body is withering from cancer, no muscle, weight down to 157 pounds, and this short little walk is about all the energy I have.

I’m taken to a room with no windows.  “is this where they do the good guy-bad guy routine?”  The Officer sits at his desk with perfect posture, opens up my file in front on him, clenches his hands together on the desk, and elbows flank out to the side.

“Mr. Couture, why don’t you tell me of the alleged incident.?”  “Officer, I came in here today to accomplish 2 items.  One, I wanted to shake your hand and apologize, and I’ve done that.  Secondly, I wanted to understand where you wanted this to go.  If you wanted to go down the road of legality, I will stop now and hire and attorney.  If we do not go down the road of legality, we can discuss everything and be forthright.”

Officer closed my file, looked at me for 5 seconds and determined it was OK to talk.  “Mr. Couture, I spoke with my boss 3 nights ago.  We decided we were going to drop all the charges against you.  In every situation, we have to weigh out people’s personal situation with the Law.  I have empathy for you in your circumstances, but we have a tough job and would not be able to survive if we had empathy for every single person in every single situation.  The other factor we took into consideration, we did not want this to be a media nightmare.  There are parts of this decision I am OK with, other parts I am not.”

“Mr. Couture, I don’t think you realize just how fortunate you were.  By definition of the Vermont State Police, you were involved in a high speed chase.   I called for reinforcement.  If you had not taken the Winooski Exit, we had spikes in the middle of the road 1 mile further to pop your tires.  We were authorized to take you down at gun point.”

“Officer, I apologize for putting you in this uncompromising spot.  It was certainly an isolated incident.  Thank you for your consideration.”

“Mr. Couture, I hope you understand this is just business.  If we see each other in public, it is OK to say hello on a first name basis.”

Public Apology To Vermont State Police Part III

August 2, 2010

Vermont State Police

Public Apology To

Vermont State Police

Part III

The purpose of this post is to publicly apologize to the Vermont State Police for an incident, which occurred the last week of April, 2010.  The Officer did his job, did everything by the book, and did protect and serve.

______________________________________________________

The Vermont State Police released me and I went in to see my Oncologist.  In our private meeting, I said, “I just did the most stupid thing I’ve ever done.”  “My Doctor reprimanded me and told me I should have just pulled over.”

My Oncologist gave me meds to relieve the pain.  We discussed test results from the CTScan and blood tests, and determined nothing was conclusive.  The pain could have been caused by multiple factors.  My Oncologist gave me a prescription for additional pain meds, and I was done.  I felt relief quickly physically, medically, emotionally.

I got home!  I paced, like a caged animal.  How stupid was I?  “Girls, Daddy not only has terminal cancer, but I’m being thrown in jail for failing to stop for a Vermont State Policeman.  Can you come visit me in jail?  Could you draw me a picture or maybe bake some cookies for me?”

I grabbed a book the girls wrote and brought it out to the VT State Police barracks in Williston.  Sergeant was not in, so I left a note, “Dear Sergeant, I stopped by in person to shake your hand and apologize for today’s events.  Hope you enjoy the “My Dad Has Cancer” book.  Feel free to contact me.  All the best, Greg.”

That night I found Sergeant’s email address online and basically sent an email with the same note.  I was contacted, but out of town in Florida.  We made arrangements to meet when I got home.

Part IV is the final part of this story- should have it out tomorrow afternoon.

Thank you for reading.  Love-  Greg

Public Apology To Vermont State Police Part II

August 1, 2010

Vermont State Police

Public Apology To

Vermont State Police

Part II

The purpose of this post is to publicly apologize to the Vermont State Police for an incident, which occurred the last week of April, 2010.  The Officer did his job, did everything by the book, and did protect and serve.

_______________________________________________

Part II

The Officer pulled right behind me with sirens going and lights flashing.  Cars pulled aside as we both changed lanes a few times to maneuver through traffic.  I took the Winooski Exit, which dropped me off on Route 15.  Cars pulled to the side with no shoulder, allowing us to thread the needle, proceed through stops signs, red lights, and to my Oncologist’s office.

I turned right off Route 15 and into the Fanny Allen and Office Medical Supply Building parking lot.  I pulled into a handicap parking spot, the Trooper pulled in right behind me at an angle and an unmarked car pulled in next to him.

I got out of my car, “Officer, I apologize, I am a terminally ill cancer patient, I have lots of pain and I am headed to see my Oncologist.  Can you follow me inside and we can take of things inside while I see my Doctor?”  “No, you’re not going anywhere.  Is this an Emergency?”  I said, “Yes sir, it is an emergency for me.”  “Do you need me to call you an ambulance?”  “Sir, the hospital is right there, 30 feet away, I can walk.”

The Officer went through the standard protocol getting license, registration, and calling into headquarters.  I sat in the car and reclined my chair to alleviate the pain.  “Do you have an appointment with your Doctor?”  “Yes sir, I do.”  “What is his name?”  “Phone number?”  “This is the VT State Police, I need to talk to Greg’s Oncologist right away.  Hello, I am with the VT State Police, is Greg Couture your patient?  We are located right in front of your office building right now.  Does Mr. Couture have an appointment with you?”

“You may now go see your Doctor to alleviate the pain.”  “Mr. Couture, what you did today was outrageous!  Do you realize how many people’s lives you put in jeopardy by what you did?  You will definitely be hearing from us.  You have multiple violations, could lose your license, and even jail time.”

Public Apology to Vermont State Police Part I

July 31, 2010

Vermont State Police

Public Apology To

Vermont State Police

Part I

The purpose of this post is to publicly apologize to the Vermont State Police for an incident, which occurred the last week of April, 2010.  The Officer did his job, did everything by the book, with all intent to protect and serve.

___________________________________________________

During the last week of April, 2010, I was in NYC watching a few Broadway Shows.  Sunday morning, I woke up in the Hotel room in pain.  I called my Oncologist’s office and the on-call doctor called me 10 minutes later.  We discussed my options whether to go to the hospital in NYC, or fly home to Burlington.  We got the pain under control and I flew home.

At home, I was in daily contact with my Doctor’s office and on a fast track to try and figure out what was causing the pain, which continued for 3-4 days.  Monday, Doctor’s visit, blood tests, Tuesday, CTScan (previous CTScan was 5 months earlier).  Finally, Wednesday, 3pm, we were to look at all the tests results.  Anxiety was high, still lots of pain, did the tumors take off on a fast growth rate, could this be the beginning of the end?

I turned onto Interstate 189 off from Shelburne Rd (Rte 7) for my 3pm appointment and got to the crest of the hill.  I was in the passing lane, looked over and saw a VT State Policeman with a radar gun pointed at me.  I was doing 80 in a 55.  He was flagging me to pull off the road.  I was focused on getting to my Oncologist office to relieve the pain and be taken care of.  I hate Emergency Rooms and avoid them at all costs.   My Oncologist has been taking care of me for 2 and 1/2years, I trust him with my life, he knows what to do, how to do it, and makes it happen quickly. If I stop, will I be sent to the Emergency Room?

I kept driving and did not stop.  I pushed in the blinking hazard lights, to let the Officer know I had an emergency type situation.  My handicap parking placard was hanging from my rear view mirror.  I slowed my speed down to about 55-60MPH.  The Officer caught up with me about 2 miles down the road on Interstate 89 headed north, well before Staples, and the Sheraton.

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