Today started off not being a good day at all. I was awakened at 8:00AM to the sound of drawers and cabinets banging. Carol had awakened and needed to go to the bathroom. Because it takes her so long to get out of bed and walk from the bedroom to the bathroom, she is now wearing Depends, just in case. The drawer where they are usually kept for her to have easy access to them was empty. Rather than waking me to help her she dug around in the cabinet under the sink to get one out. This caused her to have difficulty breathing (she leaves the oxygen in the bedroom) and therefore she was moving even slower than usual and getting a bit panicked which caused her to have an accident. It left her pajamas and the floor a mess and put her into even more distress. After she was cleaned up and back in bed I began cleaning the bathroom. While doing this the electricity went off briefly, maybe a couple of seconds, just long enough to cause the oxygen machine to stop working. She turned off the machine and by the time I had finished what I was doing, maybe a minute, she was panicked even more because she was again having difficulty breathing and the alarm on the machine was going off. Plus she had not had any meds yet. I was going to just turn the machine back on again but she seemed to think Kelly needed to come and do this. I told her that he was asleep and then turned the thing back on. It worked just fine. The source of the electricity going off was never determined but my guess is that it was some sort of power surge.
We were expecting Carol to have out of town visitors today. As she was lying in bed looking at me feeling quite distressed, she said “if this is how I’m going to feel today, I don’t want to see anyone.” I suggested that she wait and see how she felt after she ate breakfast, rested and had a drain. She thought about it a while and said “maybe, but I don’t think so.” “Not even for a few minutes?” Then she said “I guess. They did make the effort to come see me.” Thus began the day. She ate breakfast and then napped. When she awakened she seemed to be in better spirits and was ready to get dressed and receive guests.
Her friends Kris and Sean who live in West Virginia came to see her.They had a wonderful visit. I didn’t go upstairs with them at first but I kept hearing her say “tell Bobbi she can come in here.” I finally went into the room. It felt so very cramped, crowded and hot. There is a hospital bed, two dressers, an overstuffed chair and a wheel chair in the room so it IS very crowded. You add three more people to the mix and it is almost claustrophobic! Carol asked me to tell Kris and Sean about the “Ashes to Ashes World Tour”. They laughed uncomfortably but I told them it was OK, we were weird like that. I told them to enjoy their visit and I’d just go clean up the kitchen and hang out downstairs. When Kris and Sean left I walked them to the door and outside. Kris gave me a big hug and started to get teary eyed. He said he’d see me tomorrow. It is difficult for me to see her friends upset. When I went back upstairs to check on her a few minutes later, she was already asleep. I took the opportunity to lay down and rest, too.
A few hours later her friend Rhoda came by for a visit. Rhoda lives in New York and has known Carol since before Kelly was born. I stayed with them for a while and then let them have some time alone. I went back downstairs and sat outside on the porch for a while. Beautiful weather, very pleasant compared to the triple digit temps in Oklahoma. After Rhoda, left I went back upstairs. Carol said “this isn’t going to work. I HAVE to go downstairs. It is too hot and crowded in this room. Tomorrow I am going downstairs. I don’t know how I’ll do it or how I’ll get back up here but, I want more room to visit with all my friends and family all together.” I just said OK. I tried to think of how we could make it work but decided that my mind just couldn’t wrap itself around it at the moment. We watched movies . . . she slept . . . I dozed . . . we sat in silence . . . we ate dinner . . . we chatted some. I could tell that she was tired and I went to bed.
I have had several heart to heart talks with Kelly. It has been so nice to reconnect with him. When he was a child I used to take care of him a lot but when he got older we drifted apart, for many reasons. It is almost strange looking at him as an adult. He has grown into a really neat man. He and Krista have been wonderful and very hospitable. I feel very welcomed and loved. It is not easy for him to watch his mother in this situation and I feel quite blessed to be able to be here to help. I remember how hard it was to watch my father go downhill a little bit each time I saw him. Carol is doing the same thing. I feel Kelly’s pain.
Carol and I have had some very interesting discussions the last three and a half days. The spreading of the ashes was one of them. Another strange discussion has been about making “death announcements” to send to all of her friends. Today she said rather than “death announcements” she wants to make “good-bye” cards and personalize them for each person on her list. She told Kelly that next week when everyone is gone she wants him to find all of papers, stamps, etc. and bring them upstairs so we can work on making them. He is so good natured about it all. He just agrees and says OK.
When you are sitting watching someone you love die, it puts life into perspective. It causes one to realize that it is the small things in life that truly matter and that those small things are not really small but in actuality they are quite big. Hugs, conversations, laughter, family, friends, these are things that truly matter in this life. Sleep is beckoning me tonight.