Monday, March 4, 2013

It's Over

I stopped writing months ago- things got really crazy and I just didn't have the time. The stress heated up even more...

Dad had a horrific blood infection at my last writing. He ended up in the same nursing home as my mom, but on a different unit. We kept the fact that Dad was there from her for quite a long time. She knew he was sick, but not HOW sick he was. Dad  wasn't ready for Mom's constant ministrations and she couldn't have helped being a nurse.

Eventually she found out he was there. Cousins had come and visited both of them in the nursing home. They didn't tell Mom anything, but while they were there, they took pictures. They sent cards once they got home. They sent pictures of Dad to Dad. He was sitting in his wheel chair with oxygen right outside of his room.

They sent pictures of Mom to Mom. The problem was, when the nursing home staff person got the mail, for some reason they changed Dad's room number to Mom's and she got both cards. The you-know-what hit the fan!

My daughter was the first one to the nursing home and she got the brunt of my mother's wrath. Dear One was at fault for not telling her grandmother Grandpa was there.  It was quite the scene.

While it was stressful at the time- that was actually a kind of funny/fun period. Keeping the secret and walking through the nursing home like spies, looking around corners to see if anyone was seeing us and we went from Unit to Unit.

Through the next year and a half, there were a lot of ups and downs. A lot of ER visits A lot of meetings.  Dad was on his unit until it was time to apply for medicaid. He didn't want to room with Mom. He eventually was able to get out of the wheel chair and walk, mostly with a walker.

Mom got kicked off one unit for attacking another lady with her walker. And Dad went to the unit Mom got kicked out of. It was a good unit, with good nurses and good staff.

The unit Mom went to was never as good as the one she came from. I know it is hard to believe, but the unit she went to, right around the corner from Dad was as different as night and day. Dad got great care. Mom got mediocre care at best. Occasionally she had a wonderful nurse, nurse M. And occasionally a couple of the nurses from Dad's unit would rotate over to Mom's unit. But mostly she was not treated well. And mostly ignored.

Mom and Dad did not share a room, although they could have. But it was way too stressful for Dad.They ate together and visited. Dad was still very with it- although at times you could see some degeneration.  He made friends with the staff. And almost every day he took a walk with his walker outside.

We tried over and over to get Mom into the Alzheimer's Unit, but she never "qualified." Oh there was no doubt about her Alzheimer's. The staff knew she had it. But she kept passing their damn little "tests." Could it have been she was on medicaid and they could have gotten more money from a private pay patient? We can only speculate.

Dad fell and broke a hip on November 30th, 2012. He had internal bleeding of an unknown origin that had caused him to pass out. They wanted to do some tests. One was a colonoscopy. He couldn't drink the stuff they wanted him to drink and they wouldn't do the test without it. They wouldn't fix his hip without knowing where the bleeding was coming from and Dad said enough. 

He wanted to be made pain free. He wanted to be comfortable. He knew with his heart issues, his blood pressure issues, etc that his chances were not good with the surgery- and in fact wanted the surgery so he might die on the table. Of course the surgeon wouldn't consider that.

So Dad went into hospice. My brother came form Colorado.My daughter, Dear One, promised Dad she would be with him till the end. My brother and I were with her keeping vigil.

On Dec 4th, about 2:45 pm I  left to go to the Nursing Home to talk to Mom and let her know that Dad was still in the hospital. We just kept telling her he wasn't doing well, hoping to break the news to her gradually. My brother went to the cafeteria to get my daughter something to eat. We had both no sooner left, when Dad died. My Dear Daughter was with him, just as she had promised. And Dad spared us his passing.

It was not easy telling my Mom. We all went to the nursing home, my dear daughter, my brother, my husband and my son. At first Mom thought she was being blessed with a visit...but then the reality hit.

We had one staff person tell us it would be better not to tell Mom. But I knew I had to tell her. If she didn't comprehend, and if she didn't remember later, I would not have put her through it again and again. But she knew Dad was gone and she missed him.
She was heart broken.

My cousins came (the ones who had taken  the pictures during our espionage period) and m sweet Miss Maggie took care of Mom throughout the ordeal of getting ready for the visitation and funeral.

We had a visitation on Dec 6th, 2012 and we had the burial a couple of hours later. Mom came to the visitation. Miss Maggie made sure she had her hair done and got her dressed. They came half way through so Mom wouldn't have to endure the full two hours. Dad look really good...I know that is an odd thing to say, but he did. And Mom couldn't believe he wasn't warm. She cried a bit and she wanted to touch him- and kept saying he was so cold.

We went to lunch and then to the burial. It was supposed to be graveside, but we didn't realize that the area where they had there plots had a small chapel and that is where they had the burial ceremony. It was raining and muddy, so it worked out, but it was also very cold. Dad was a WWII Vet, and so we had the Honor Guard.

The next day, we had a Memorial Service at my church, and my mentor, a pastor from a neighboring church, did the service. it was very nice. Mom did not come- she would not have been able to hear anything, and since the burial had been the day before we felt it would be confusing. It was a nice service. I believe Dad- who said he didn't want much in the way of a funeral, was pleased. We toasted him with Chocolate Milk during the luncheon. Chocolate was his favorite food and after bourbon- chocolate milk was probably his favorite beverage.

Soon after Dad's death, I became very ill with a laryngitis type illness. I pushed myself to work (preach) and got sicker. I ended up missing most of the month of December- including Christmas. I went to the doctor three times- there was nothing to do but wait it out.

In Mid December my dear daughter went to visit Mom and found a handful of Mom's medication hidden in one of her drawers. I raised hell  with the nursing home and was promised they would watch her take her meds.

Mom had some other issues going on- including a terrible rash...I'm not going to go into details on some of this, at least not at this time.

Mom had a fall on Jan 2- one of many I'm afraid. The nursing home would say she couldn't use her walker because she wasn't safe, then they would say she needed alarms because she wasn't safe and then they would get tired of her complaining about the alarms and not having her walker and they would give in to her.

I saw Mom frequently and I was concerned about her weight and her not eating, but I kept being told she was fine and eating normally. We again found medications Mom hadn't taken-
in her bed. To not go into too much detail right now, on Feb 4th, 2 months after Dad died, Mom fell again and when my daughter went in to check on her she found her to be severely dehydrated, although the nurse on duty denied it- she told my daughter that my mother just had "old skin."

Mom ended up in the ER that day- and the next day, Tuesday Feb 5th,  hospice was called in. My mom could not hear without her hearing aids. And she had not been reading lips for a few months. But in the ER, she was reading our lips. And she kept telling us she loved us, over and over again.

On Wednesday Feb 6th, I told my daughter that Mom might want us to leave before she would feel comfortable dying...she was a very private person when it came to her a little before 8 am, we told the nurse our thoughts. And we decided we would leave the room a few times during the day to give her the chance if she wanted to. We didn't think she was really ready yet. And I had no idea how to tell her since she was no longer opening her eyes and she wasn't wearing her hearing aids. But I just went up to her and told her( as if I was talking to someone with good hearing). I told her it was okay to leave us if she wanted to, that we respected her privacy. We loved her and Daddy was waiting. We were just going to leave for a few minutes and come back.

We left for 10 minutes. When we got back, she was gone.

                                       Dad and Mom at one of their favorite restaurants. 
 I miss you guys.

1 comment:

l'oiseau said...

our lives are as intermingled as a vine... i hope you get to france soon