Thursday, September 02, 2010

Honoring Directives

It is Thursday afternoon, not quite three weeks since this saga with my mother started when she was found after suffering her series of stokes that felled her. My sister and I are back in the hospital with my mother again.  This time, we are at Methodist Richardson, and the experience here stands in stark contrast to the experience at Medical City. To start with, they actually read my mother's health directives, something that was apparently never done at Medical City.  Second, they are listening to my sister and to me, and recognizing that we have something legitimate to say about the situation.  They do not not treat us as uninformed idiots but as loving and concerned family who just want the best for our mother.  Third, they are willing to acknowledge the truth about my mother's situation.

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. 


Vicki Attaway said...

As cool mist rises from the earth in the morning, so the warmth of the evening transcends the efforts and struggles of the day, and sleep is sweet.

We cannot see to the other side, yet we can sense the beauty.. The beauty of the relief of pain, of gentle rest, of the memories that will be made during this time with your mother.

Christy, The many voices of the movings of the spirit realize they cannot survive with just one song. Open your heart to the messages of all the melodies that grace your life. Your mother is one of those melodies. Peace to your family. Vicki

Dana Norton said...

Prayers for peace as you move together through all the joy and loss that will fill these next days and weeks.