Friday, June 20, 2008

Mom is dying II

As I entered their apartment for my daily visit, Dad was sitting a the kitchen table, a half-eaten sandwich by his elbow. He was reading the paper waiting for our hospice nurse, Laurie, to arrive. He was in good spirits as always, but frank in his assessment at Mom's condition. She couldn't turn the light on last night to go to the bathroom, became disoriented, and sat on the floor not knowing where to go. He had helped her up (I didn't want to know how).

I went into their bedroom to see if she was awake. She was laying asleep on her side, her left hand cramped up like a claw. Her breath came in shallow, irregular gasps, and she had a pained look on her face and a light bruise on her upper arm.

Laurie arrived and we talked about the course of treatment so far, and then visited Mom. Laurie explained to Mom how they will keep her comfortable. She explained why the cancer was so evidently painful right now. Mom watched her intently, flat on her back, her eyes still alive with movement, the rest of her body lifeless. She has gone downhill very fast. She speaks only in whispers, and it comes out unintelligible at times. I followed Laurie out of the room when she went to make some calls to get more supplies. I asked her, what did she think. Laurie gives her less than month, especially since we will be using morphine for pain and respiratory help. That tends to put the patient on the quick road to the end.

During all this, I at times stroked the bottom of Mom's feet, and the top of her head, and she held my hand tightly when I stayed by her side. As usual, she worried about what food we will have this weekend (Grant, Louise, Corey, Justin, and us Wolftownees will be there) and that she was interrupting our schedules. She is Mom to the last. I told her that SHE was our schedule and to not be with her would interrupt it. Waves of weeping kept trying to break through the thin membrane of my eyeballs; with great difficulty I pushed them back.

I don't think she will last much longer than a week. I called Bro to let him know so that Hilary could get an earlier plane here to see her before the end. I think she plans to be here on Monday to  join Corey and Rachel visiting with her.