Kelly and I had a tearful talk this morning. I told him that four nights without sleep was getting to me and we either had to get some help or he was going to have to do it. He was in agreement that we need help but said let’s just try to make it through today. I’m thinking yeah right. Of course it IS Friday and we won’t really be able to do much until Monday anyway. I can do this. If I keep saying it, maybe it will be true.
I talked with the social worker from Hospice this afternoon and she gave me names of three agencies that provide assistance. We will have to call and set up interview appointments. The social worker mentioned we had the option of putting her in a hospital. Carol doesn’t want to go to a hospital and we want to follow her wishes. When the social worker called me Carol was sleeping so I went into the other room to talk with her. Carol woke up and heard me talking to her and accused me of making decisions without discussing them with her. She was mad. I explained I was just investigating options and I didn’t want to bother her while she slept. She told me I had to include Kelly and Krista in any conversations about her care and that she didn’t like me talking behind her back. It was difficult for me to discuss this with her because she was so annoyed with me. She finally realized that I was just trying to get information and hadn’t made any decisions about anything and calmed down. She is normally so relaxed and calm. Her reaction was totally unexpected.
Everyday becomes more and more difficult; more difficult for her to breath, more difficult to understand what she says, more difficult to try to change her clothing AND more difficult to watch. I keep thinking of Daddy and how I wasn’t there as much as I would have liked to have been . . . I used to be angry with my sister because she could be there to help and I couldn’t. She had just lost her job with the travel agency (the company that owned it went bankrupt and closed it down) and therefore was able to go to our parent’s home and help out. As I thought about this today I came to the realization that circumstances allow us to do certain things at certain times and that it is OK. I am able to do my part now! I can be here now because my children are grown and on their own and because I am a teacher, I have summers off. It worked out perfectly for me to be here . . . just like it worked out perfectly for me to be there for her three years ago when she had the stroke. I had recently resigned my teaching job at Oklahoma State so I was free to go stay with her and help her strengthen her arm and leg. God truly does work in mysterious ways! I also remember how difficult it was to watch daddy. There are so many thoughts and emotions swirling around in my head. Memories of him are mixing with the present and it is a great big jumbled mess. Trying to sort through it all makes my head hurt.
I think that death is close. She doesn’t eat more than maybe ½ a cup of food a day, if that much. She sleeps more than she is awake. She says random things. This morning she told me to tell Janine the bather that she has a date at 6:30 so she needs to make sure she looks good. She also asked me if it was “November madness” earlier today. According to the information given us by Hospice this sort of thing happens as it gets closer. Also, her hands and feet are mottled looking. Her skin tone is changing. Her breaths are shorter and further apart.
Tonight as Carol was sitting in the chair (she said she needed to be out of the bed for a while and told me it was my turn to lay down) she turned the TV to a station that had a Catholic priest speaking in what I thought was Spanish. I made a comment to that effect and she said “NO! Italian!” I said “Maybe that’s why you kept dreaming you were from a big Italian family, you’ve watched this before!” She laughed. Several times in the past week she has mentioned to me that she keeps dreaming she is from an Italian family and she doesn’t want to be Italian. It seemed strange that she would keep saying this to me. Anyway, she closed her eyes and I thought she was sleeping. I thought it was a bit odd that she had decided to listen to an Italian Catholic Priest since we are not Catholic, but I didn’t say anything. Occasionally, there would be a break from his words and beautiful choral music would play. After about ten minutes or so she spoke to me in Italian. I said “I don’t understand you. Speak English.” She sighed and said “can’t breathe” which meant she needed more drugs. I obliged and she continued to watch this priest. She was staring at the TV very intently. About ten minutes later, she said in a rather haughty voice, “Why are we watching this?” Me, “you chose it!” Her, “humph! Find something new!” It was really weird.
Crazy talk is apparently normal for people close to death. I would call it odd, unusual, or strange rather than crazy. So far she hasn’t talked to people who aren’t there. I am waiting for that to happen or at least am expecting it to happen.
Observation: She is ALWAYS HOT! Very sweaty. I am always cold, wrapped in a blanket.
Dave is planning on leaving Stillwater July 1 and has made arrangements to be gone three weeks. I am so anxious for him to arrive. I miss him terribly and need him here to give me moral support and hugs. He gives good hugs.
We talk about birth – we don’t talk about death. Why? Is it because we are afraid, afraid of the unknown? I read somewhere once about having one foot in one world and one foot in the other. Is it that “other” world no one wants to talk about, and if so why? It seems I keep having questions but no answers.
I’ve only cried once today. Does that mean I’ve accepted it? OR does it mean I’ve become numb? Good question . . . .