Now that I’m working, I generally visit Mom on the weekend. Weeknights just aren’t conducive to visits because of the distance, working around dinner, etc. At the beginning of June, however, we were out of town for the weekend so I didn’t get to visit.
One day the following week I received a call, during my work day, from Mom’s facility. Mom’s hemorrhoids continue to bleed here and there and that day she had refused lunch, saying that she had some pain and she was indicating her lower abdomen. Tina alerted the nurse and they called me saying that maybe Mom was holding urine and needed to be catheterized. There seemed to be some concern that Mom’s organs were beginning to fail and hospice was even suggested.
It was already late afternoon and they had to arrange for a home health nurse to do the cath so I told them I would be there after work to be with Mom during the procedure.
On the hour+ drive up there (rush hour traffic) I was thinking, again, that Mom may be near the end. I know it would be a blessing all the way around, but I know at the last minute I’ll be looking at my brothers or my husband wanting them to “fix it”, just like I did when Daddy passed.
I arrived at the home thinking Mom was going to look weak and uncomfortable. Instead, I find her sitting in a chair in the living room watching TV and thrilled to see me. She had obviously eaten dinner because, on close inspection, I could see some crumbs from her dessert. The aide confirmed that Mom had eaten well. Of course she did, she refused lunch! J
The home health nurse arrived, chatted with us, took Mom’s vitals – which were wonderful as usual – and was ready to prepare Mom for the cath. Mom said she had to use the bathroom first and did so with no problems. The usual blood was there (kind of like a head wound, a little blood can look like a lot) but no pain, no complaints. The nurse used the opportunity to help clean Mom up after and examine her at the same time. Nothing to worry about and we both agreed that the last thing we wanted to do was bother Mom with an unnecessary cath!
Mom may be old and very tired at times but these little episodes don’t stop her. A week after my evening trip up there, Tina came back into the living area and found that the wooden bassinet and the three baby dolls that sleep in it had disappeared. After searching several rooms, she finally opened Mom’s door. Yep, Mom had somehow wheeled that bassinet out of the living area, down the hall, and into her room without anyone noticing. She was happily taking care of the babies!
Today my husband and I both went up for a visit. Mom was so happy to see us but seemed to be more in the “visit” mode. She had a wonderful smile but didn’t reach out for a kiss and hug so I knew that she didn’t know who we were, just that she knew us. That's not to say she turned down the hugs and kisses we gave!
Mom talked and laughed for an entire hour. She makes you laugh even though you have no idea what she’s saying just because she looks likes she having so much fun.
At one point in the conversation, she told us that, “Jeannie’s gone away.” She stumbled a bit over Jeannie but got it out and finished the sentence. I told her I was Jeannie but she said, “the other Jeannie”. It may not sound like it would be funny to me, but it was. I was happy that Mom knew the name even if she couldn’t connect it to me this visit.
So, is the end near? Only God knows for sure! We’ll just love her while she’s here – even if she doesn’t know who we are. J