Yeah, there’s a LOT of catching up to do.
Mom is currently in the hospital. Again. The “assisted living” facility she was at gave her bedsores before turfing her to the ER. She’s been in the hospital since the Thursday before (after?) Memorial Day.
My Dad won’t leave her bedside. I go to see her every day, anywhere from 7 to 12+ hours. Depends on how things are going.
Dad isn’t ready to let go. Whether or not he realizes that it’s his cheapness, his desperate need to save a dime, that has led us to where we are today, well, who the fuck knows or really cares? Yeah, it’s at that point, and I’ve had a half a bottle of wine today for the first time in weeks because the siblings have f i n a l l y heeded the siren call of impending doom and turned up (for the most part, some are still in transit, some refuse to come until the shoutin’ is over, so to speak).
Meanwhile, Mom is in a bed. Hooked up to an IV and heart monitor, with an O2 blowing at 5. It’s no weirder than the last seven years have been, no weirder than all the other situations that have brought us to where we are tonight…
…and yet, it *is* weirder.
Because this time might be the last. Her breath is laboured, even with the oxygen. She keeps pulling out her O2, rips her IV from her arm (she actually broke a PICC line, something that her RN said she didn’t know was possible). When Mom is properly hydrated, she fidgets and fusses and moans. Is this how death is supposed to be?
If you haven’t read it by now, I cannot recommend enough Roz Chast’s book “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” Seriously. Just READ IT.
And then set in place advance directives so the folks who are fretting at your bedside know WTF to do.
Because I never had that conversation with my Mom. I’ve had it with my siblings, you can bet. It’s hard to believe she wants to continue on like this, but then…
…she will ‘wake up’ and her eyes will track your movements around the room. You will ask her if she wants ice cream, and she will brighten, open her mouth and stick out her tongue like an infant or toddler who has just learned the delight that is vanilla, chocolate, orange sherbert. You will measure out tiny bites, rake them from the cup into her mouth, watch as they swirl and disappear into her mouth. Be amazed at how she curls her tongue into an “O” asking for more, and give it to her. Be disappointed as she slows and then apparently falls asleep before you are even halfway through the tiny container of frozen confection. Wonder if moms can live by ice cream alone (and know that the answer is no, they can’t).
If she was in one state or the other, the decision would be simple, but she’s not.
Added bonus, getting to hold her down when the nursing staff tries to insert a new PICC line in her room. I never thought I was squeamish about blood, but watching and listening to a med/tech go ‘tch’ about the state of the veins of the woman who gave you life, trying to find a viable line that won’t collapse seconds after establishing a main line, well…something to look forward to? Only if you’re a sick fuck.
Which is how I came by this title. Yes, I owe you all explanations as to the Great Escape and why I’ve been mostly MIA in her care the past few months (let’s just say NYC icebergs are NOT to be TRIFLED WITH!) One of the evenings when she was semi-lucid and I was either holding her down for a veinipuncture (because yes, she’s pulled out as many lines as days she’s been in the hospital) OR I was offering her some ice cream, the giggles overcame me as they do in these situations when you have to either laugh or cry, and when Mom either fussed at the offering of sweet frozen confection or tried to push me off her hands, I laughed and said “Oh, but don’t you know, I’m the bad daughter, aren’t I?” and god bless her, Mom looked at me dead-on in they eyes and laughed as well.
Feel free to copy and past this at will…