recipe

Archive for September, 2007

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Sep
30
2007

Picture of the Day: My Dad in a Apron

This past week sitting with my mom I had time to go thru old photos.  She has lots in albums but many pictures are still in boxes and in no particular order.  I found this one of my dad.  If I remember the story correctly he was cooking for home ec class.  In Texas where he grew up, home ec was required of all students – boys and girls.  Actually he really liked it.  He loved food and loved to cook.

dadinapron.jpg

I loved that he had on an apron!

Sep
29
2007

Where to start?

This has been some of the hardest days of my life.  Mom is still with us in body though I think she knows little of what is happening around her.  I spoke a good while with her doctor last night catching him up on this weeks progress, regress or whatever we are calling it.  Honestly I havent had time to really talk to him before then.  She did so well for a couple of nights sleeping from 11 or so to 7 or so the next morning but all that changed abruptly night before last.  I went to bed about 10:30 and at 11:30 Hannah woke me up.  Mom was calling me and I was so sound asleep I didnt hear the baby monitor.  Just sitting makes one so tired.  Much more tired that work.  So I got up.  She was restless and talking.  Mostly about people we know who have already passed.  She needed the phone she said to call Dessie and Orville.  Orville and Dessie have been dead since 1978 and 1980 respectively.  Then she asked me when my dad would be around to see her.  We talked and talked and finally she said she had to get up.  I thought she meant to the potty chair but she meant up.  Just up.  She hasnt been able to walk by herself for weeks.  So I convinced her to get back in bed and rest.  She did only she was pretty peeved at me.  So I went back to bed.  This scenario played out all night long.  She as just completely and utterly restless in her body.  Thrashing about and agitated.  At 8 am I called hospice (I hate calling anyone in the middle of the night if I can help it…yes, I know they are on call…)and they told me this was part of the process and to give her a dose of her lorazepam (1mg tablet) and continue to give them every 8 hrs.  I told them I hated to just dope her.  They explained that she cannot control herself at this time.  Her thoughts and emotions are jumbled and it makes her scared and anxious and quite frankly she is miserable when she is in such a state as she was during the night.  I took their advice but when her dr called last night I got his opinion and he concurred.  He asked me how it made me feel to watch her, I told him miserable and anxious.  He told me to think about how then she must feel.  And told me not to withhold any of her meds that help her rest.  She is in a state between two worlds and it is a very hard place to be.

Earlier in the day hospice had sent out a booklet about the last stages of dying and of course nothing was set in stone but it did help me to realize and understand that her state is very normal and at the same time unique.   Her picking at her clothes and flailing her arms and legs are responses to this process.  Her talking to and about people who have passed is completely normal.  Her very slow and erratic breathing is just the way things progress.  Her blood pressure is very low and I know the time of her passing is very near.  At least I hope for her sake it is.  I personally think she has suffered enough.  She hasnt been herself in weeks now.  Miserable, in pain, restless and wanting to let go of this tired and useless body.

The fact that I know I have done everything I can to take care of her these months is a great consolation to me.  Now do not get me wrong.  I have not always done it with a glad heart.  I have been so tired at times.  And resentful at times.  While I was happy to do this for her, it is not my nature at all.  It did not all come easy to me.  And at the same time I wouldnt have wanted to be any where else.  I hope this makes sense.  People have said to me that they admire me.  Family members have said they appreciate me.  Believe me when I say those are certainly not the reasons I have spent the last couple of weeks at my mom’s side almost 24/7.  I did it because it was the right thing to do.  She needed me.  And how could I have lived with myself if I hadnt been there?  Family members have said they couldnt do the things I have done.  You know why?  Because I was doing them.  If I hadnt been able, I am sure someone would have stepped in.  Surely.  I know my children would have.  Any one of them.  Benjamin, Rachel and Hannah have helped me turn her.  Get her straight and comfortable in the bed.  Get her on the potty chair.   My oldest son has spent the night with her tending to her so I could get some rest.  He got up and down no less than a dozen times that time.

Just before Husband left for Tunisia, I said to him “I dont know how long I can do this.  I am tired and it is so very hard to watch.”  His reply ” Until it is over.  These are extraordinary times.  They call for extraordinary actions. You will be fine.  You will do what is right. Your mom needs you.”  Of course I cried because I felt I had neglected him while he was home, and my home and my children.  He assured me he was not neglected and things would be back to normal soon enough and I would have no regrets.  No regrets.  Two very important words.

Here is a picture of us on a better day.

meandmom.jpg

Thanks for all your kind words.  I will be in touch again soon.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Sep
22
2007

No Regrets

You know and I know many people who we think probably have regrets in their lives.  They come to the end of their time here on Earth and they wonder why they weren’t more forgiving.  Or more helpful.  Or less mean spirited.  And at times I have been all those things and more. Then there are those whom you wonder about in another way.  Do they have any regrets? Have they lived a life they are proud of?  Have they made someone else’s journey less work, less trouble, easier? This is one of my favorite quotes of all times and pretty much how I try to live my life  – especially within my marriage:

What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other? ~ George Eliot

I say often, and try to believe all the time, that it is not the things that happen to us in life that are important, it is how we handle the things that happen to us.  This thing that is happening in my life right now is very difficult for me to understand on some levels.  But I am trying to handle it with all my might and in a way that I can look back upon with no regrets. My mom is dying.  That is the plain and simple truth of this matter.  She is sleeping almost all the time.  She arouses just long enough to take her medicines, drink a little something, eat very little of something and tell me how sorry she is she is keeping me from rest and as she puts it “running my legs off”.  Don’t get me wrong, I have wanted to just go lie down and sleep and felt just a bit of agitation when she called my name again but I would never ever let her know it.  I was as tired night before last and yesterday as I have ever been in my entire life.  Exhausted.  And from what?  The stress of the situation and lack of sleep I suppose.  Mom is becoming confused and talking about my dad in the present tense.  And my dad has been dead for three years in November.  When I say to her “Mom, Dad is gone.  You remember.  He passed nearly 3 years ago.”  and she says “Why do I say things like that? I know he is gone.”  She told me last night that is who she talks to in her sleep.  I can hardly write this.  It is so sad.  I know she is ready to die.  She has told me so many times.  And for now she is in very little pain.  Which makes me wonder if her time is nearer than we know.  While she was in the hospital she was in so very much pain.  Now just in the past 24-36 hours she has not asked for her morphine but a couple of times.  She took in almost 40 ounces of water yesterday and last night there was maybe a cup of very dark, very cloudy urine in her catheter bag.  I am not a doctor but I know this means her kidneys are not functioning well.  

My mom and I haven’t always seen eye to eye on things. We have had our words and fights.  Our arguments and disagreements.  But I am so very glad I am here and able to be with her these last few days/weeks of her life.

I have hired a sitter for Monday morning.  I have to take Husband to the airport and I have this fear that she will pass while I am gone.  If in fact she is still with us Monday morning.  I want to be with her when she passes.  I don’t want her to be in her room alone or with someone who doesnt love her.

My oldest son is with her now.  He came in last night and is spending the night at her house so I could come home and take a shower and sleep in my own bed.  But I havent slept.  To be as tired as I am, I was awake all during the night on and off and finally decided to get up at 4:30.  I almost feel guilty for leaving her for these few hours.  But I felt I had to at least try to get some rest.  When my dad was in the last days of his life, she was with him constantly.  We were there much of the time and were in the hospital room when he took his last breath.  Some family members say they regret being there but it never occurred to me that I would have been anywhere else.  Now as much as I feel I need to rest some and have some time with my husband and kids, I am torn about which is more important at the moment. She really doesn’t want anyone else to take care of her.

I have laundry going and thought I would let those of you who come here in on what is happening.   I do appreciate your kindnesses and well wishes.  I will be in touch again soon.

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