Serve with integrity. Care about those you serve. Share the love in your heart & soul.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

#399 Mom's Condition Report - It's Just a Matter of Time

When I prepared posting #396 it was a couple of months ago. I pick these messages at random from a 3X5 card collection that a friend had typed for me many years ago. I set this one aside on the desktop of my computer. At the time I knew Mom was not doing too well. She was beginning to wither away, a choice I believe she made probably at some other level than consciously. If it is a conscious choice she does not voice it, and would probably vehemently deny it.

The plan to spend a week in El Paso was in place. The tickets were purchased and the bags packed, when I got the call from my brother that Mom had fallen and broken her shoulder. There are a number of postings that describe the events of that week.

Since then things have changed. The first phone call from my brother was a report that mom had spent the entire afternoon at the doctor's office and hadn't been seen. This happened on Monday, March 3rd, her first day. When I left her that day she was in the activity room with most of the 46 other residents, all of them in wheel chairs.

The next day she was concerned because she was with a roommate who did not want a roommate. Her next concern was being left in the basement all night. Then she reported she was taken to the second floor and left there. My brother explained to her that it was impossible for that to happen. Mom would not believe him and he had to call one of the staff to explain it to her. The facility is a single story building built on a slab.

The next thing my brother had to deal with was signing the document acknowledging that Mom is being considered terminal because she refuses to eat or drink much. If you saw her you would think she was anorexic. He is really vexed over this. He sees it as signing her death warrant. Mentally he realizes she is terminal, but emotionally he is upset. This is sadly ironic considering how they learned to deal with each other. They were almost always at odds over just about everything. Each made every effort to protect her/his personal egoic position.

He did get reassurance from the staff that Mom would not be allowed to suffer. He did get an unofficial prognostication on her remaining time. While they cannot predict accurately, one of the staff members said in similar situations the remaining time was one to two months. Upon telling me this, my brother indicated that Mom would stick around for another 25 years. We both recognized this for what it was - a method to deal with the reality of Mom's impending passing.

So this brings me back to the posting of a couple of days ago plus some other experiences with older folks. It seems that at some point in our lives we realize it is time to let go. Our individual missions are completed and it is time to go. Since there is a cultural problem with suicide or euthanasia, we take our dying seriously and into our own hands. We survivors might do well to ponder this.

Thank you for your patience and forbearance while I vented. My brother isn't the only one having to deal with this.


Within the hour after posting this, I called my brother for an update. He informed me that the doctor had more blood tests done, due to Mom's elevated white cell count. The results came back positive for Leukemia. I will have to do some research to determine the prognosis.

She is still trying to figure out how to get the attention she so sorely needs. She still laments to my brother that she was an only child and that no one ever wanted her. Both of those comments bear some truth. It is absolutely true, she was an only child. As for being wanted, probably only by her father.



Karen said...

Jack~ Love and prayers ensuing.

shannon said...

she hasn't always been the easiest person to love, but love her i do. it's sad to see her life coming to an end, but i do think she's making the last choice. even if she is unaware that she is making it.

the truth settles in and the inevitable is remembered.

i love you.

Hale McKay said...

I was okay until I read your last paragraph - then I had to wipe a tear or two.

You'll remain in my prayers.

I trust that you had a good Easter.

bronxbt said...

jack, as my own parents grow older, i live in a constant state of fear of when their time will come, and of course, the eventual downgrading of their health and strength i know will take it's toll on us kids.

so, i can only imagine what it's like for you and your brother.

stay strong, stay focused, honest and gritty with your feelings and never apologize to venting online to your friends and family.

we're all with you, because you've honored US with your trust and shared.

love ya, *hugz*


Little Lamb said...

This must be very hard for you. I know it was hard to loose my mother who died of Lou Gerrig's disease. It's hard to loose a parent.

Let your mother know you love her. And appreciate her while you still have her.

Skunkfeathers said...

Life transitions simply are; few of them come or go easy. We all face them.

My best thoughts to you and yours, facing them now with your mom.

Darlene said...

Jack ~ My husband and I are getting ready to put his father in a home next month. It is something long overdue...

and very difficult for everyone.

One of my great grandmother's lived to be very old, she burried her husband, all of her children, many family members and every close friend she ever had. The last thing I remember her saying was...why?

Something I guess we all ask for one reason or another.

And it also made me think of the saying..."One man's junk is another man's treasure."
Could one person's long life be another person's curse?...In my great grandma'a case I have to say, yes.

You've really got me thinking here?