PART IV – HOSPICE
Wednesday, November 26. Wake up, go to nursing home. Meet with Hospice rep, who is also a nurse. Mom is complaining that her stomach is bloated. We wonder if the fluid has now invaded her abdomen. The hospice nurse feels the tummy, and says it is not “hard,” so it may not be fluid. Mom wanted to check. That means going back to…the hospital?!
The paperwork for Hospice was postponed, as they do no form of healing/antibiotic stuff. Their objective is only to make one comfortable, as they wait to die.
Of course, wouldn’t it be nice if we can decide when and how we want to die? Preferably without pain.
The van comes around to pick up mom, (literally) as they lift her wheelchair into the vehicle. Dad drives with her. Dianne and I follow, again. It is another glorious, sunny day. A day where I would have preferred mom to be home, rather than stuck, and getting stuck in a hospital.
And guess what? That is how this day was spent. Four fucking hours in ER.
After dropping Dianne off, I ran to the Pulmonologist office to make sure my mom would not have to wait in the ER. Why couldn’t they do the sonogram to see if there was fluid??!!
I arrive at the hospital, and fortunately Mom is in a room. She did not have to wait. But we were just waiting in this room. A nurse walks in, and has a bunch of tubes to take blood.
I asked. “Why are you taking blood?” I was completely confused.
“Protocol”. He says.
“I want to talk to the doctor.”
All the while, he is unsuccessfully sticking her over and over again, while I see my mom’s arm and hand bruise in front of me. No blood coming out each time.
I say to the nurse. “Stop sticking her. Why do you need to take blood to see if there is fluid in Mom’s stomach!??”
“Well, we are checking for infection.”
My mother is fucking dying of cancer! She is going into Hospice as soon as she is out of here. Were you not informed?! We just want to see if there is any fluid. And if there is not, we are taking her out of here. Stop sticking her!!! Have you done the sonogram???!!!
“We are waiting until after the blood tests. I will stop, though.”
I was furious. I had to walk outside. I began crying. The system is so fucked-up and illogical. Not my Humpty Dumpty! Take your hands off of her broken shell!!!!!!
I come back in and she is getting the sonogram. No blood test. Hallafuckinglujah!
The test comes out negative. No fluid. A waste of a day in the life. I am so angry. I know. It is not about me. I am angry that my mom had to go through this. She chose to. And I had no control over almost anything. My poor Mom.
No. More. Hospitals.
Earlier in the morning, the Hospice rep told me that they would pick her up from the hospital, and take her to nursing home, check her out, and bring her home.
Then I got a call, while mom was in the hospital, that she had made a mistake. The nursing home had to pick her up, per the insurance laws, and then they could take her from there to Mom’s home. Home, home. Not nursing home.
Now it is nearly 4pm. We call the nursing home, and find that the driver is off now, because of the holiday! Dad and Mom wait outside, like some kids, stranded at the movie theatre, waiting for their folks to pick them up. It takes them an hour to get a company to drive her back to the home! My mom is dying, and we aren’t allowed to take her ourselves in the car?! Which we are perfectly capable of doing. Again, I wanted to punch a wall.
And when she finally gets back to the nursing facility, it is too late to get her home with all of the appropriate red tape, and equipment that needs to be delivered to her home.
We will not leave my mother alone for a second. Yes. A second.
My sister Deborah, and her son, Mom’s Grandson, arrived. That’s 3 daughters, and 2 grand children. Just waiting for Howard, again, first-born son, and 3 more grandsons. They will arrive on Friday.
I volunteer to sleep over with her. I crashed in her hospital bed, while she reclined in her Archie Bunker chair. It was one of the most beautiful evenings I shared with my mom. I will never forget it.
We talked about her entire life. We expressed our love. I told her dirty jokes and she laughed out loud. That infectious cackle my mom has. I recorded her with messages for all of the family. We slept a little. Recorded more. Mom and I ate cereal at 2 am. When a nurse would burst in, and turn the damn lights on with another medication, I sent her away…unless it was a painkiller. Not sure they got the memo. She actually came in with a shot of antibiotics. That’s. Over.
My sister and Dad relieved me at around 10 am, and I ran back to the house to get it ready for the arrival of our holy mother. Yes, I looked at her as if she were the Virgin Mary. (Both Jews.)
Hospice came and delivered her hospital bed, an oxegen machine, a commode, a wheelchair, and albuterol machine. We cleared the living room, which faces the mountains, to set her up there. We brought in flowers. We tried to make everything perfect again. We even brought over an old African door on a stand, and set it up hanging a sign “Le Toilette,” to give her some privacy for the commode that would be next to the bed. The 5 year old grand daughter drew a welcome sign on the front door.
We were visited by a nurse, who explained a bunch of stuff, and suggested we get mom a “lift” chair. It’s a sort of electrified Archie Bunker chair, so it adjusts electrically, and makes it easy for Mom to get in and out of. She told us some rental companies that may offer this. Of course, being thanksgiving, no one was open. Scott and I had brought a different Archie Bunker chair from our house for the time being.
At 1:00pm, Thanksgiving Day, mom was home. Almost all of the family is here.