Hello, hello! Jack and I are back.
Our situation really hasn’t changed, though. My mother is still hovering in the shadowlands and I’m still spending most of my time at her nursing home. Mom beat the infection that began her decline and she did so without antibiotics. Her Dr. and I decided to withhold antibiotics because they would prolong her death, but her body didn’t get the memo and took care of it anyway. Now, she’s bedridden with heart failure, weakened, confused and barely taking anything by mouth, but she’s full of fear and not ready to die. She has near constant anxiety and calls out for help all the time, even when I’m sitting with her holding her hand. When you ask her what help she needs she tells you “I don’t know” or she says nothing at all. It’s difficult for her and for all of her caregivers because we feel helpless to keep her calm.
Mom’s pain is mostly well controlled, except for when she needs to be turned. That’s a painful process, but staff have it timed half an hour after her morphine injection and she generally falls asleep quickly afterward. She has medicine for the anxiety too, but it often takes 2 doses to settle her. That’s likely because it’s a part of her personality and not a new symptom. Mom has borderline personality disorder (not just my opinion – she’s had at least 3 psychiatrists tell her this over the years) and she’s struggled with anxiety most of her life. The calling out for help actually started about a year ago when she was hospitalized with pneumonia and congestive heart failure. Back then, on one of her better days, she told me that she needed help because death was stalking her. I think that same fear is what’s driving her behavior now. Staff here are great, but they don’t have the time to give mom as much reassurance as she needs, so I’ve been spending my days hand-holding, forehead kissing and doing my level best to calm her fears in this final stage of life.
So, that’s our basic situation and it means that Jack and I are walking closer to home and often at odd hours. It could be like this for while, too, so I’ve finally organized wifi for mom’s room and we’ll see how it goes.
This out of focus photo is from yesterday when Jack and I went to the Vansittart Pond. It’s fuzzy because I’m laughing and trying to back away from Bubba who really wants to wipe himself off on my pants. He’s covered in mud up to his neck from racing through the mud chasing frogs. It was awesome. The frogs were pop, pop, popping and plop, plop, plopping in all directions. Dozens of them, like a wave moving through a stadium crowd, down the length of the shore. Jack’s tail was at high mast and he was wearing his goofiest grin and when it was all over he was so happy that I just couldn’t get mad about the mud.