Dementia Exiled: Part 4
Updated: May 16
It's over. Mom's home.
Mom finally got to hear her birthday wishes from loved ones afar when
Ridiculously Tall Grandson #2 read them to her this week.
That was the best birthday present of all.
With Mom now home we've spent the last week repeatedly crashing into an all new learning curve. Our daily vocabulary has expanded to include words and phrases such as "catheter," "pressure sores," "pillow placement," and "suppository."
Our newly acquired skills involve emptying a catheter without spraying pee everywhere ("Doh!"), moving a barely-conscious woman using the sheet under her without causing too much pain (mixed-results), pushing pillows under this leg, sliding them out from under this shoulder, propping up this side of her body, then that side of her body, then both at the same time - all to avoid the dreaded pressure sore (caregiver fail - she's got one on her tailbone anyway).
Mom must feel she's been dumped onto some crazy roller-coaster that doesn't go anywhere but sure as hell bumps and jerks around a lot.
And I finally found the one thing I would not do for my mother on this long, strange journey; after 8 days of not pooping hospice sent us suppositories to get her backside going. I made MotherMinder do it. (Maybe that's why it was our one rousing success!)
But our most urgent challenge has been to find the right amount and schedule of morphine dosing to keep her from feeling pain, but refrain from knocking her out for a full 24-hours.
Mom came home with an appetite, her way of telling us not to count her out just yet, but if we gave her too much morphine we couldn't wake her up to get food and drink down her gullet. And if she was in a fighting mood she was gonna need some sustenance.
This last weekend we seemed to have finally gotten it right: .25 milligrams of morphine every five to six hours has been keeping her brow from furrowing in pain, and giving her some alert moments to fill her with yummies. Although always too little. Always too little.
But I don't know how she survives this. And I don't know if I want her to.
I told her in the hospital that there were folks on both sides of the divide waiting to welcome her. If she went on without us to her next adventure there'd be a slew of those who have gone before to greet her with open arms, and if she stays with us, well, we will continue to love, pester, dote on, irritate, and care for her.
But I've also asked Dad to come get her, as has The Other Girl.
And maybe he has heard us; she declined significantly last night with hospice confirming this afternoon that it may be hours, or days but that she is transitioning.
Perhaps Dad is here to truly take her home. Perhaps our dementia journey will soon be done.