Truth? Her strokes were so massive and disabling that there are no recovery options. Truth? Her body is ready to say goodbye as bit by bit, it is breaking down. Truth? There is a much more gentle and loving way to do this than moving her from hospital room to skilled nursing center to hospital room and back again.
My sister and I will shortly be interviewing a hospice organization we have both worked with before. Before the day is over, we hope to be well into preparations for taking my mother home. Home, to her house, to her known and comfortable surroundings.
That horrific feeding tube will be removed this afternoon. If my mother wants coffee ice cream, she can have coffee ice cream. No more, "Oh no, she might have a problem with it!" No more forced therapies that were hurting her. No more, "Stay awake, Mother!" when someone came in the room to work with her when all she wanted to do is sleep. No more standing or sitting only at the left side of her bed to force her to use that side. Today, we sit and converse at her comfortable right hand side.
Mother is relaxed and peaceful. She is in and out of present reality, and having a wonderful time meandering through her memories. She does her crossword puzzles with her mind writing words on the ceiling of the room.
We've been reminiscing about favorite radio and TV shows and I've just ordered DVD's of Jack Benny and Allen and Burns shows. We'll have a blast watching them together.
She drifts off to sleep and then gently awakens again, knowing we are with her. Jill and I look at each other with relief and some sense of sanity returning. We are emerging from this medical nightmare, well supported by competent and caring professionals.
A couple of hours ago, a technician came into draw blood. I pulled her out in the hallway and explained what we were planning to do and told her, "No more pain. No more squeezing her arm. No more pricks with the needle." She nodded with compassion and understanding and left.
A little while ago, Mother mentioned that her hip was hurting. The nurse immediately arranged for pain medication. No, "Oh it might make her sleepy." No, let it make her sleepy. It is time for this discomfort to be over.
There is a a time to fight for life. There is a time to accept that a different phase of life has come, one that says, "Death has lost its sting."
In the will of God, I hope we have weeks or even more of good time with her yet. Time for family and friends to come and spend with her. Her house is large and I hope it will be a revolving hotel. We'll hire enough professionals no matter the expense to make sure she is properly attended around the clock. And we will savor each moment we have left with this sweet, kind and generous woman.