The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How it's going ...

 It's funny how it goes
or seems to go

my sleep has been necessarily so erratic of late
I'm not sure that I am a reliable source for
how it goes
my mom hallucinates
at first it was of nice little things
like laughing babies
and small well mannered pets
then adult people but still small in size 
maybe as small as your hand
tiny friendly strangers

later the hallucinations became paranoid type stuff
she calls out in her whispery voice for help

4:30 am x2/pain x1/hal - coherent
7:30am awake, expresses in pain, coherent, all "morning" meds
9:00am doesn't want water, pain okay
help comes to bathe mom and she is sound asleep during the process 
next med due @ 11:30
she is asleep
gave "noon" meds at 1:00 - coherent
nurse and her supervisor here for weekly visit
"did she have her shower?"
"my mom is bed ridden, she was bathed in her bed"
"did she have a shower?"
"my mom is unable to walk, she can not get in the shower she was bathed in her bed"
"I ordered a shower"
"well, the shower lady was kind enough to provide a sponge bath today

It's funny how it goes
or seems to go

The nurse observes that mom's lungs are not fully functional
(and later oxygen is ordered, delivered, and I am instructed on its use)
"What has she eaten today?"
"Two sips of ensure, 
a few sips of broth from Chicken noodle soup, 
a bite of yogurt ... 
she has to remember how to swallow after every sip.
She is having trouble swallowing ... her pills ... water ... "
"You can crush her pills up and mix with apple sauce."
(There is a growing feeling that no one is actually listening)
"On a scale of one - ten, one being fully functional, where do you think my moms lung are at?"
"Well, she has been in bed all day, not up moving around ... "
I wait for an answer with a number in it, but that was the answer.
"So, do you want oxygen or no?"
I say yes.
I ask, "How will I know when she needs it?"
I think the answer was Oh, you'll know!
It's funny how it goes
or seems to go
"Reposition her every two hours
when you turn her, offer fluids
all pills okay to crush per pharmacist"
next meds due at 5-
"evening" meds given at 6:20 pm
"bedtime" med given at 10:30pm, crushed in three spoonfuls of chilled applesauce
she accepts only two 
@1:30am she attempts to sit up in bed with feet towards floor
"You hurt my back" she says when I come near
1:30 am x2/pain x1/hal - incoherent
I lay down with her
holding her hand, I fall asleep
2:37 am x1hal - hallucinating
lots of angry talk directed at me 
"Please don't yell at me Momma"
"Don't cause me to!" she says
I say the words don't hurt
and it's true they don't hurt my head, but they do
hurt my heart.
I step out of the room, she is quiet, maybe asleep
2:57 she needs water
3:30 she is sitting up attempting to get up from bed
I settle her back in and lay down on sofa in next room
4:00 she is sitting up attempting to get up from bed
I settle her back in and lay down on sofa in next room
5:00 crashing sound from her room
she is leaning over side table with lamp knocked over,
drapes pulled down
furious with me
"What's wrong with me!?!?"
"Momma you are very ill ... and now you legs don't work."
I get her back into her bed
"So this is how YOU treat sick people!?!?
I'm dizzy as an old hound dog."
I wonder if I am giving her too many meds
I wonder if I am giving her not enough meds
I call the overnight nurse

It's funny how it goes
or seems to go

It's somewhere around 5:00am
The phone rings and rings
I think no one will answer
then she does
Hello I say, I am DeAnn, Mrs. --------'s daughter
may I speak to a nurse?
Mrs. who?
"Momma, don't spit out that pill please, 
Momma, give me that pill please
Momma ... "
"How do you spell that"
- - - - - - - -
(It is an unusual name)
- - - - - - - - I say again, slowly
There is a continuous clicking on the line
and a lot of fumbling around while she looks for our name
I put the phone on speaker and set it on the side table 
while I play another round of pill games with Momma
"Momma, give me the pill please, where is it?"
"Oh here it is (the name/file). What is your question?"
"Umm, there is a clicking sound on the line I can barely hear you"
 I say taking her off speaker phone.

Our conversation digresses from there. It seems that it is important to her that I address her by name and I think, surely not, but she seems rather insistent. Maybe that is how they check out the coherence level of whomever they are speaking to, idk, but it is just another frustrating moment in a night long on frustrating moments. I say,"Seriously. Mary. That's the most important thing we have going on right now?"  Somehow, we reboot.  I think I hear her laughing and that is annoying (and in the back of my sleep deprived mind I wonder if I am being cranky).

We somehow sort out our nonsense and I read back through my notes
and discover
that Mom 's behind on the anti-hallucinogenic med
it is available every hour as needed and her last bit was at 2:37
(if I noted things properly and I think I did).
I missed two potential opportunities to keep this on the tracks better.
I ask for a call back from our regular nurse.  
An on call nurse (who came out on Sunday),
recommended that "we" switch Mom to pain patches
because of the swallowing problem
... and I wonder if this anti-hallucinogenic med can be delivered
like that
or anything better that they can recommend ...
at 5:15 I give my mom a small glass of ice cold water
(just like she likes) 
there is a tiny anti-hal pill smashed up in it.
She kicks me when I look away for a sec ...
her legs do work
just not for holding her up.

It's funny how it goes
or seems to go

@7:00 Momma back in the floor beside her bed.
I bring the bedside potty seat near to her and begin trying to lift her coaching  her to grab on to the chair arms and help me out as best she can.  She wants to know my name.  
She says,
"Let me tell you something,
God is recording e v e r y word you say ... "
And I interrupt her
"I hope so.  I really hope so." I say,
"'Cause if that's how He works, I am racking up points.
And, what about your words?"
She says "Yes, me too."
And I tell her she best stop talking altogether then 
because everything she has said during the night was
 flat out mean talk.
(Not to mention the kicking and slapping 
- which hurt only my feelings.)

While she sits on that chair I coax all 8 of her morning pills in to her.
Slowly but surely she calms down.
"I am sorry that I swallow so slowly",
she says.
(yeah, it's a real heart breaker)
(yeah, she can be a real sweetheart - she's not always in stinker-mode)
(yeah, I know she is not well - she is actually dying)
She drank a few ounces of water and a couple sips of Ensure
and I was able to get her re-situated in her bed
with a soft blanket
warm from the dryer
and she fell asleep

It's 8:30am now
The birds are singing and the sun is shining.
I'm on a second cup of coffee,
still in the clothes I put on on Saturday
or Sunday
waiting for the nurse to call
My sister-in-law says my brother is throwing up today
that he had a bad night
and she has a call in to his doctor already
she waits

We are sorting out paperwork to get Momma situated in a care facility.
I hope to hear back from them today
as well.
My sister-in-law calls to say 
she will be available to sit with Momma if I get the call to come sign admittance papers
(because she has notified her office that she will be out again today)
another call comes in as I talk to her
I hurry to take the other call
(No Caller ID - that is Hospice)
and I accidentally push the decline this call option

It's funny how it goes
or seems to go

Hospice here at 9:00am
Momma sound asleep 

They are able to offer some relief
We'll see how it goes.

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