Daily Archives: July 23, 2009

Quick Hit *Edited*

The social worker just left; Mom’s hooked up through Medicaid, which means she’s eligible for respite care!

This is HUGE, you guys.  It means that hospice will send an ambulance to bring her to a facility for five of the eight days I’m away on vacation.  I’ve asked Bill to take two of those days off, and Samantha will come for the last un-tended day.

Phew!  I might actually be able to enjoy myself!

*Edited to include: Oh, for FUCK’S sake!  Bill just called; he wants to take my vacation week off so that Mom doesn’t have to go into respite care.  You son of a bitch!  I just spent the last month worrying about how I’m going to manage her care while I’m gone.  I JUST get this settled, I’m starting to relax a little, and NOW you decide to ask for the time off?!  FUCK you.*

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Rebounding…

…or cracking; it all depends on your perspective.

When I left here last night, I wasn’t sure that Mom would survive until morning.  She’s heavily medicated (did I mention that Ellie’s not sure how she’s even conscious, given the hefty doses of medication she’s on?), she’s exhausted, she’s dehydrated and emaciated. and she’s pretty much riddled with disease.  She’s said, more than once and to many different people, that she’s ready to pass.  I’m in an “hour by hour” mentality at this point; I’m not even going “day by day” anymore.

Well, something’s happened.  Meadmaker came by last night after I left and texted to report that the woman he saw then and the woman he saw yesterday morning bore no similarities to one another.  It seems that Mom has rebounded.

I did not take the news well.  There’s a certain amount of fortitude that’s required to be on death watch, and it requires a lot more energy than I ever imagined.  I can’t say that I’m not looking forward to this being over, and that not all my reasons are about Mom.  I’m starting to get a little panicked about the fact that the Chili family is leaving for vacation in nine days.  I’m starting to really feel my absence in my girls’ lives.  I miss my husband and feel guilty that he’s had to carry ALL the responsibilities of our household for months now, not to mention that he’s had to bear the brunt of all of Punkin’s teenage angst (and much of it has not gone well).  I am feeling a piercing awareness of how much my friends have stepped up to make sure that my kids are cared for and about how little I’ve been able to see those friends.  I have to admit that my first reaction was to feel used and manipulated and seriously taken for granted.  I was angry at her.  I was disappointed.  I’m not proud of it, but I’m not going to lie about it, either.

The first thing I did was call the hospice number and ask for someone to talk to.  Leigh, the bereavement counsellor, called me right back (I mean, right back; there were only four minutes or so between when I explained what was going on to the on-call nurse and when Leigh called me, and she wasn’t even on call last night).  She talked to me for about 45 minutes and told me that, in the hospice office, I’m practically a celebrity.  In all the work that they’ve done, she said, they’ve never really seen anyone be cared for so well by just two people.  “And don’t think for a second that we don’t recognize that it’s taking much more for you to do what you do than it does for Bill.  You’ve got kids, you live three towns away, and you’re with her during the day, when she’s up and active and in pain.  Bill lives there, he gets to leave to go to work, and he gets her mostly at night, when she’s settling down.”

Knowing that professionals recognize the difficulty of what I’m doing was helpful, but didn’t exactly solve my problem.  Of course, there’s nothing that anyone can say that would solve my problem, but Goddess love her, Leigh tried.  She seems to think that this might be the final bit before the end; patients often feel a day or two of euphoria before they finally pass.  She also reminded me that pain has been a pretty constant aspect of Mom’s life, and not just since the cancer diagnosis, either.  Now that she’s not in that pain, she’s probably feeling things she’s never really felt.

Ellie called this morning and she seems to think that Mom’s feeling rushed.  Even though none of us is pushing her (it may sound like I am, but I’m dumping all that stuff here so I don’t let it leak out in my real life; we stopped actively encouragaing her to pass on Monday afternoon), she knows that we’re all here waiting.  Mom has always been a contrary person; the fastest way to get her to NOT do something was to tell her to do it.  She wants things on her terms or not at all, and she’s always been that way.  It is highly likely that she’s holding on because she knows we’re expecting her to go.  Now, how long she can hold out is not entirely in her control; her body is failing and, at some point, it’s going to give out, whether she wills it or not.

So, that’s what’s happening today.  I’m here and will be all day.  I expect we’ll see quite a few folks from hospice because they all know I’m on the proverbial edge (I asked Leigh to bring me up at their morning meeting).  I know I’ll be fine – I’ve not come this far to collapse within sight of the finish line – but I’ll tell you this; it’s been a tough race.

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Filed under compassion and connection, concerns, doing my duty, frustrations, messages from the Universe, my oh-so-exciting life, on death and dying, Parenting, ruminating, strange but true, technical difficulties, weirdness, Worries and Anxieties

I Haz a Lurker

Angie was a participant in my step classes, yea these long years ago.  She has, it seems, been following my (mis)adventures here, because the other day, this showed up in my mailbox:

photo

Angie, I’m sorry, Honey; I have misplaced the envelope with your return address on it, but I know you read this (how else would you know to send your much-appreciated hugs?), so I’m offering public gratitude here.  People who love me have literally been crawling out of the woodwork to offer their love and support, and yours comes at the perfect time.

Thank you.

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Filed under compassion and connection, Friends, love notes, messages from the Universe, on death and dying