It’s been almost a month since my last post–when my mother-in-law went into Hospice.
They got her pain under control, our primary objective, almost immediately. But she can eat and drink very little and often that comes back up. Nothing tastes right, yet she has cravings. That’s frustrating for her.
She’s been comfortable at her farm. And even though we’ve insisted on someone being with her 24/7, she’s still spry and has even made bisquits (which she couldn’t eat) a few mornings. She takes a lot of naps and sleeps more hours overnight than usual for her because that’s what her body needs.
She wears pajamas most of the time (with her pearls). She’s not as big as a minute, but finds pj’s to be more comfortable as the tumor has caused swelling in her tummy. She’s essentially living off muscle mass now.
The Hospice nurse visits twice a week; the social worker once. They’ve been great to get supplies and equipment as needed. This week she said it was time to leave her majestic single bed (set up in the living room) and get a hospital bed. This was big for her as she held court from this bed as her many visitors dropped by.
And drop by they do! Some days it’s been like she has a revolving door at the place. There’s a sunporch where we can intercept guests if she’s asleep (and we take her phone), but if she’s awake she loves to be in the thick of things.
There have been a few people she wanted to see and she had them summoned. All appeared. One was a man who accidentally shot and killed her youngest son when the boys were nineteen and best friends. (He’s over fifty now.) She’s always said one can survive anything if she can survive the loss of a child. Anyway, he visited and she said it was like having her son back. I wasn’t there, but I’m betting the visitor got as much or more from the encounter as she did.
All three of my stepsons also made it home for brief visits last week, even the one stationed in Hawaii. He was on maneuvers in Nevada and they gave him four days to spend with her. There’s been no better medicine for her than having her grandchildren around.
For the most part they are subtle, but signs of decline are there. They are especially evident when we skip a day or two of trekking to the farm. Hubby’s a doctor, but he’s trying hard to stay in the role of son with this one, though it’s a difficult task for him.
We’re fortunate she has an abundance of friends not only in her church and community who have volunteered to take shifts to stay with her but also from neighboring cities where she lived as long as forty years ago. That’s the sort of person she is. Her friendships last a lifetime. So far, between friends and family we’ve not had to hire outside assistance and she’s been cared for by those who love her.
My husband says we’re really doing little more than providing butler services–answering the door and phone, toting and fetching as she needs things, a little traffic control, etc. He’s right–at least to a degree. She’s fiercely independent, but she doesn’t want to be alone and knows she needs assistance. That’s a major concession for one accustomed to being self-sufficient.
Her spirits are incredible and I hope when my time comes I can muster half the grace and dignity this lady has shown.
So, this is my update. I will try to post more often than once a month (geez), but I don’t see getting back to a regular schedule in the near future.
Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. They are felt.