This month has been incredibly difficult. As I sit here with so much hatred, bitterness and anger in my heart, I desperately want to feel thankful for what I have.
It’s 2:30AM. I just finished doing some work for my job, which I haven’t been at since last Wednesday due to family issues. Since I last posted about my mom being in Florida and having to have surgery for a bowel blockage, things took a turn for the worse. She was released from the hospital after the first surgery, however 24 hours later was re-admitted for violent vomiting and stomach pain. After testing it was determined that her intestines were close to rupturing and she had emergency surgery. The surgeon said he felt she had 10-12 feet of dead bowel that needed to be removed. This surgery required her to be cut open from about two inches under her breastbone to below her belly button. I still do not understand what the surgeon did, or in this case didn’t do, but we were told that he was able to “massage” the intestines and all was well (scratch my head). After waking up from surgery my mom’s right foot was numb, completely numb. She was told it was from the epidural used during her surgery and was a normal occurrence. Days later as she is recovering in the hospital, the foot is still numb. There were areas of tingling, but the bottom of her foot was completely numb. This obviously made walking close to impossible. Since I am in PA and my mom, step-dad, sister and brother-in-law were in FL. There wasn’t much I could do for her.
Fast-forward to last Wednesday. I received a call at work from my grandmother’s nursing facility. I was informed that when the aides went to give my grandmother her medications they found her in a very confused state. She had declined significantly from the previous day. It was decided the best course of action would be to move her to the constant care area of the facility. Up until this point she was in her own apartment, but had care from aides, help with daily activities, etc. The original hope when hospice became involved in her care was that she would be able to stay in her apartment as her journey came to an end. However, due to her extreme decline she was moved.
I left work and went to her. I could not believe how much her health had declined since my husband and I visited her last, which was four days prior. It was explained her oxygen saturation had tanked and it was becoming very hard to maintain a healthy oxygen level. Hospice increased the morphine to every two hours around the clock. When I got to her she did know me and was able to understand me and could communicate with me, but she had times where she just wasn’t “present”. Her nurse told me that she was nearing the end and was declining rapidly.
Fortunately, my middle son was able to leave work and sat with me and Mammy (as we all called her). Throughout the day his wife came, my husband came, my daughter came and my oldest and his girlfriend came. While we didn’t feel this day was the end of her journey, we wanted her to know we cared and loved her and were there for her. I was also able to facetime with my mom (who was still in the hospital with the tube down her nose) and sister in FL so they could talk to Mammy and wish her well and unfortunately tell her it was okay to let go. As the evening wore on it seemed she was a bit agitated and we all left so she could rest and the nursing staff could get her ready for bed. I was the last to say goodnight to her. I told her it was okay to let go. We knew she was tired and ready to see PaPa (her late husband). I assured her I would take care of the family and even though we would all miss her, she was loved and would always be with us. Talk about a sucky conversation to have….I was assured I would receive a phone call if her condition changed.
Thursday through Saturday evening are kind of a blur at this point. I spent most of my day with her, typically 9AM to 9PM or later. My kids were fantastic. My middle son has more flexibility at his job and spent most of his day with us. There was another huge decline in Mammy’s condition Thursday and I called the kids just to let them know what was happening. Everyone showed up to again tell Mammy she was loved and just be there for each other. Thursday was also the day my mom was released from the hospital in FL. It was explained to me that she and my step-dad were going to take Friday to rest and then my sister, mom and step-dad would be flying home Saturday. My sister is fortunate enough to be able to fly privately, which was the best possible option for my mom at this point as she was still extremely uncomfortable from the second surgery and numb foot issue.
Friday was another day of sitting with Mammy, holding her hand, talking to her, but she was becoming more and more unresponsive. There are other “things” that go along with someone nearing the end of their journey. Physical things that happen to the body or in the body. It just sucked for her. I asked many times if she was in pain and she always said no. There were times of agitation, terminal restlessness in her body causing movement and twitching. The times she did open her eyes she tried to focus on us, but it was so hard for her. And then there were times she would open her eyes, but sort of look right through you. She was having conversations with people we couldn’t see and her hands and arms would move that made us wonder where she was and what she was thinking about. I wanted to stay with her Friday night, but something just told me it was okay to go home.
Saturday was a whirlwind. The Florida group arrived back in PA. However, due to my mom’s condition there was no way possible for her to make it into the nursing facility. My sister showed up as soon as she could and at one point everyone but my oldest was there. My sister brought a bottle of champagne along and at one point in the evening we said a toast to Mammy and did “cheers-ed” over her bed. At that point she opened her eyes and looked at us all. It was amazing and beautiful. When we left Saturday night we all knew something was different in Mammy. She was resting so comfortably. The restlessness stopped, the arm movements stopped and she just seemed to be at peace. I felt my grandmother waited for my sister to say her goodbye and I was right. I received a phone call at 2:52AM Sunday morning that my grandmother had passed. Her physical journey was over and a new journey beginning.
Now, along with everything that goes along with loosing a loved one – we had to deal with cleaning out her apartment. All the furniture, personal items, clothing, etc. Again, I am so glad my sister was around to help. We work well together and were able to make decisions and turned the apartment keys back into the facility Wednesday afternoon (like 15 hours ago). We met with the funeral home and planned the service, which will be Friday.
Here is the “kicker”. Tuesday evening, I got a call from my step-dad telling me my mom had to go to the hospital. She was starting to vomit, again. Not good. Her physical condition is so weak at this point I called an ambulance to transport her. She is now in our local hospital, tube has been put back in and she has another bowel blockage. I feel like I am living in a nightmare. I can’t imagine how she is feeling. At this point the doctors/surgeons are giving her body some time. It’s a wait and see if she will need a third surgery. However, she will not be able to attend her mother’s services. It’s just so insane. The emotions are overwhelming.
Oh, and another bit of information. The girl child. She told me when she started her wonderful job at the shipping place that she was required to work on Thanksgiving and since we had no idea when my mom would be returning to PA or how my grandmother would be, I decided I was not going to be making Thanksgiving. We made reservations weeks ago at a restaurant we love and I promised everyone that next year we will be back to all normal traditions. Anyway, I get a message from girl child today, sorry, yesterday. I keep forgetting a new day started. I get a message Wednesday telling me she would be home in the evening. I asked why because I thought she had to work on Thanksgiving. She replied she was fired. I replied with a “?” and she replied she had taken too much time off between the cyst issue and coming home twice to see her grandmother and now having the service……I just responded OK. I wanted to respond I told you so. All the books and reading about her disorder indicates very clearly that holding down a job is impossible without proper help/therapy. So she came home, she played with her niece, ate dinner with us, actually seemed to be in a fairly decent mood. I asked her to figure out what she was wearing to go out for Thanksgiving since she was now going to be home. She then told me she didn’t know how long she would be with us because drippy dick’s mom apparently texted her and invited her to have Thanksgiving with them. She also chatted with drippy dick and was told his family thing started at 3PM. She ASKED him if it would be okay for her to get there at 3:30PM and he said no. I told her it would be nice if she could spend a few hours with her family, especially under the circumstances and the conversation ended. We all went to bed. Guess who left the house and went back to drippy dick? No goodbye, no nothing.
I am fucking furious, pissed, hurt and just so tired of this. I guess that’s why I am up and blogging at 4AM on Thanksgiving. What’s next? Will he not allow her to attend her great-grandmother’s funeral? What about Christmas? I mentally can’t do this anymore. I need to find someone to help us understand the boundaries we need to set and how to do that the right way. I need someone who understands this disorder to stand behind me and push me to push her. Does that make sense?