Jack and I have been walking at odd hours for the last few weeks because I’ve been spending most of my time at the nursing home with my mother. Mom is in the last stage of her life and is expected to die soon, but it’s turning out to be a long, difficult journey for her. She has a lot of pain that isn’t always well controlled and she’s s full of fear and anxiety. She often calls out “Help, Oh please help” or asks for mommy or daddy and occasionally for me, but when you ask her what she wants or what’s wrong or what she’s afraid of she goes quiet. She’s also developed a large ulcer on her coccyx from the continuous bedrest. Mom is a big woman, about 240 lbs. and it’s difficult to reposition her so there’s no pressure on that area. About every hour I’ve been rubbing her other pressure points to hopefully avoid another ulcer, but it pains mom and is difficult for both of us.
The nursing home where she lives has given us a private palliative care room with a big, stuffed electric recliner for me. The support workers check on us often and have been fabulous with mom, but I can’t say the same about the registered nursing staff. Some nurses are reluctant to give mom pain meds – one nurse insisted that she had to ask for them herself because writhing in bed and calling out for help apparently isn’t good enough. Some nurses forget to crush mom’s pills and some try to give her plain water without thickener which makes her choke. I’ve asked and asked for that to be written on her chart, but it hasn’t happened. That’s partly because of the long weekend – some of the nurses come from an agency and don’t know the residents, so I’m hoping that will improve this week. Just to be sure, I’ve put a large sign over mom’s bed about what she needs in case I’m not there.
I’m telling you all of this because I’m burnt out and there’s still a lot of road ahead. My fibro has flared up and I’ve got shingles. I expected both those things, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I have a chronic form of shingles that flares up often, especially when I’m tired or stressed and right now I’m both of those. Something has to give and unfortunately it’s Jack’s Walk the virtual and Tree Tuesday, both of which I’m putting on hold. The nursing home doesn’t have wifi and even if it did I’m not thinking clearly – it’s taken me 3 days to write this – I’m in pain, I’m exhausted and my mom needs me. So does Mr. V whose heart has been acting up with atrial fib.
Jack’s Walk and Tree Tuesday will be back, but I don’t know when. I’ll try to keep posting a daily book, which gives me something nice to think about, but if I miss a day you’ll know why. I’ll be around and I’ll stay in touch. Jack says gawoof, gawoof in his big boy voice which means see you soon.