Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hospice and the Long Good Bye

I am sitting in the dark next to my moms hospital bed waiting on the hospice doctor to come in. It is 9:25 pm, so perhaps I should realize that wont be tonight. Lets go back a few days.

Mom's health has been deteriorating rapidly. She has no sense of night or day and gets confused easy. As a family we decided we would take turns getting her in routine. Every morning I have been going and waking her up and getting her breakfast, making sure she takes her medicines and letting the dog out. Yesterday morning when I went in I let the dog out and popped in her room with my usual " too perky in the morning" GOOD MOOORning MOM. I looked at her bed and it was empty. For a brief second I felt optimistic that she had beat me up and was in the bathroom. As I started in the room, I realized how wrong I was, she was on the floor. I said . " Mom.." She said " I am ok, I just fell " I couldn't get her in bed and had to call for help. Surprisingly , I remained calm. I knew we had to get some answers to this drastic change in her . Keith and I brought mom to her oncologist and they gave her some IV meds, but still no answered questions. At one point in the day, one of the nurses asked me " were we comfortable taking her home ? " Well, I was a little nervous before but now that you asked.. I am VERY nervous about it. They decide to admit mom to Washington Regional. Keith stays the night. I get up and have an appointment with moms doctor at 8:30. I want to ask the BIG questions. These are questions that I think I know the answer to ,but I have to hear it from him.

As I sit in the waiting area of the oncologist office I am looking around the room. So many different people. An older lady walked by and commented on my sandals . " How cute". She sat with her husband. They were BOTH seeing the doctor and getting treatments. What an ordeal that must be. I doubt it is at all like the buddy system in weight watchers. There was a VERY young girl.. how scared she must be. As I looked around me I realized that although we all came from different walks of life, we were all going through the same things. They call my moms name.

I go back.

And wait.
And wait.

Dr Travis comes in and listens to me. He basically tells me that mom has fought a good fight. The treatments have taken a toll on her body and her mind. He said that dads death was hard on her. That mom is an " I'm fine" lady. No matter what happens in life she is " fine". He feels like she internalized all the feelings of loss with daddy. That, her health , the treatments all come down to one thing. A few weeks. A few weeks.... I took a deep breath. You mean, we have a few weeks left ? Yes... Whether we do treatment or not.

Wow.. I am going to lose my mom not even 6 months after losing my dad. Seriously? wow.

As Dr Travis and I finished our discussion he told me that hospice would be over to the hospital to set up a plan for mom . We are doing home hospice. As I walked out of the office trying not to gasp for air and through the filled waiting room I wondered, what do these people think seeing me leave holding back tears . They know why.. they have to. They know that one day, that will be them.. or their daughter. I got to the car and slammed the door and sobbed. Harder than I have in a long time. I can do this . I can do this. I can do this.

I called Randy. If you can hear a heart break,.. I heard his.

I came across the street to the hospital where Keith was with mom. I called him and asked him to come downstairs and bring a washcloth.. cold. Wet... He did. We sat in the hallway and talked. He was upset.. I was upset. He went home I went upstairs to face mom.

My eye problem I have been dealing with is in FULL SWING. I look like a raccoon with red circles around my eyes. As I walked in mom said " sis , your eyes sure are bad." Yes . mom they are .. these crazy allergies.

We have waited all day for Hospice.

I am sitting in the dark next to moms bed. She doesnt know yet. Although I think she suspects it. As I listen to her breath I realize the things about my mom I will miss. I 'll miss her strong faith and honest " tell it like it is " concern. I'll miss her yummy banana pudding. I'll miss her smile that hides so much pain. I am also convicted. I too am an " Im fine" girl. Many times, I have a smile that hides my pain.

With each breath , I wonder... what do you think about when you know you have just a few weeks to live? What do you want to do? What if it were me? Have I loved enough? Have I given enough ?

Im gonna miss mom. Today she said " Deb, when I turn this way, I can see David sitting right there." Is it possible? Is he sitting by her side waiting for her to join him?

I think so.

Daddy , she will be there soon. I hope in the mean time we make you proud.


PWJ said...

I'm writing through the blur of tears. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul. I cannot imagine the agony of this yet at the same time the hope of her healing and being with your dad. I promise you our prayers, our support, our love, and our help in any possible way.

Isaiah 54:10: "Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,"
says the LORD, who has compassion on you."

Brenda Hall said...

Whew, it's hard to read this, and write through the tears, LOTS of tears. I can assure you, there is no easy way to go through this, but just take one day at a time. HE will be your strength and your comforter, and I pray for your journey over the next few weeks. We are here for you girl!!

I pray for Betty, and that her faith will be a witness to ALL that come in contact with her over the next few days & weeks. And be assured Debbie, as she walks through that Valley the Psalmist talks about...God will be there comforting her!

Dana said...

When Reece's grandmother was dying, she kept talking to her sisters and her husband (who had died already). Then she would turn and have a lucid conversation with us, and when anyone would ask her about it, she would tell us that they're all just waiting for her. During my mother's final days, she told me over and over that Maw Maw and Paw Paw wanted her to come home now. Those were her parents. I don't know how to explain these things, but I do know God tells us that "he has planted eternity in the human heart" (Proverbs 3:11). Every now and then, we get little glimpses of that.

I am praying that as your mother's faith becomes SIGHT, you will be assured that even though "what we see now will soon be gone, what we cannot see will last forever" (2 Corinthians 4:18).

I can remember saying to Reece that I couldn't wrap my mind around my mother's death and the fact that she was in Heaven, and he told me that it was too marvelous for my mind to imagine. I wasn't supposed to wrap my mind around it, so I just have to trust in the eternal nature of God, trusting that God is Love, and that was enough for me to focus my mind on while I wait to SEE for myself.

This is not an easy road, and you have every right to not be "fine" as you walk this path. I don't like it when I have to admit that things aren't "fine" either, Debbie. However, I'm learning that it is a healing experience when I give up every now and then and just let all those Un-Fine things out. God can handle it, and so can your friends.

I am praying, and I am here if you need anything at all. You can even come out and use Reece's flame-thrower if you just want to get rid of some angst :-)

Love you!